Friday, 4 July 2014

What's in my bag? Part 2

A short while ago I posted a blog "What's in my bag?" showing you what I take out with me on a run....well here's the reasons why I take those things. I'd like to think that most would be self-explanatory, but here's my thoughts on why these items go out with me.

Windproof hat - it can be chilly on the ears without a windproof hat, and this beanie keeps a good deal of wind and rain off my head. Heat loss through your head, according to a report I read in the British Medical Journal can be between 7-10%, so protecting against that loss is important (take note, it's not the 50% claim that's often made, but still a significant loss).

Gloves - I get cold hands, and amazingly I find the one-size-fits-all-thinnies work really well at keeping my hands warm, that is until they get wet. Then I bring out the thicker windstopper mitts and waterproof/windproof overmitts. It's simple really, cold hands = inability to function properly = quality decision making deteriorates = danger zone.

Handwarmers - see above. I have only used these a couple of times but I highly recommend them. On the runs that I have used them they have made the difference between a cold and bearable return home in gnarly conditions, and the potential for hypothermia to set in. Depending on the ones you use they will last from 4-8 hours, but in an insulated pocket I've known them to be still kicking out warmth the following day.

Buff - multi-purpose, amazing bit of kit. I've usually got a spare one with me as well as the one I wear as neck warmer/headband/balaclava. More about The Humble Buff on a recent post.

Emergency Bivi Bag -  I keep mine in a
waterproof bag to keep it in top condition
Emergency Bivi bag - what it says, a bivi bag, for emergencies. I've never needed to use mine but I would never go out without it. Body temperature drops significantly once you stop, so should I become injured I would need to protect myself from the elements. Using this really would be a last resort while I waited to be rescued. Tim (my other half) has written about this bit of kit on his blog, TestedToDestruction.

Identity card with emergency contact details - if something happened to me and I was unconscious when found then my rescuer needs to know who I am, if I've any allergies or medical conditions, and who to contact. All this information is kept on a business card that I've laminated - I have one in each bag. There are emergency tags you can pay for, but a self-made one is just as good.

Business cards - you never know who you're going to meet on the hill.

Tissues - for blowing my nose. I rarely use them, so maybe they are like a comfort blanket type thing as I always have tissues in my pocket.

Mobile phone in waterproof pouch - I'd never rely on having signal out on the hill, or the battery holding charge. There are a lot of areas where I know there isn't any signal. However, I always ensure the battery is fully charged before heading out, and if going for a long run I'll turn of mobile data to preserve the battery life.

Map & compass - self-explanatory?! I do have Viewranger (ordnance survey map) on my phone but haven't yet needed to fire that up in anger. I know the Peak District hills where I run really well, and I'm happy to follow where my feet lead me sometimes so although technically not lost, not knowing entirely where I am is part of the appeal when out exploring. That said, when out with groups I'll always have a map and compass and know the route we're taking, plus options to cut short a route. This type of knowledge comes from hours and hours on the hill.

Drink - dehydration is not fun, even on cold wet days we still need to hydrate our bodies otherwise vital functions begin to deteriorate. Small errors on a hill because of dehydration could be disastrous.

Food - this is the fuel that keeps our bodies working. You'd not set off in your car without enough petrol for the journey, so therefore don't go onto the hill without food. It's reckoned (by various sources) that we need 30-60gm of carbohydrates to fuel the body when being active. So, depending on the length of run I'm doing will depend what I carry. Typically it will be fairtrade chocolate geobars because I know I can eat and digest them on the go. Any run over 1-1.5hrs and I will start eating at the 30-45min point, and then every 30mins thereafter. This strategy has worked well for me and so far I've not yet 'bonked'. Whatever you are doing, make sure you practice your nutrition strategy lots and lots to find out what works for you.

Jacket - either the Mountain Equipment Ultratherm or OMM waterproof smock on rainy days. The OMM smock often goes out as well, and if I go out wearing that then the ultratherm will be in the bag as a spare warm layer should I be forced to walk or stop. Even on hot days I still carry a windproof jacket as minimum. I also have a windproof smock but rarely use it - even though it's a small size it's so baggy on me I find the rattling and flapping of the fabric too annoying.

Compeed & plasters - the only time I've ever needed compeed was when I didn't have any. I won't make that mistake again because on that run it forced me to cut it short and abandon the run in Hayfield, then hang about as I'd just missed the hourly bus back to Glossop.

Inhaler - I have very mild asthma and hayfever. Although I don't always take the inhaler out on short runs it's in the bag on long runs, hot summer days, cold winter days and high pollen days. It's in the bag a fair amount of time!

Bag - more on bags to follow in a later post, but the choice is determined by amount of kit being carried.

Additionally, on rainy days or when I'm out with a group I will also carry my waterproof trousers (Berghaus paclites), a torch (it goes dark every day!), spare gloves, buff and a first aid kit (not pictured).

If you've any questions about the gear I use just add a comment on here.

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