Other essentials

Every adventurer should have some form of torch in their kit.  No one expects to need a torch unless they plan to be out in the dark, but the absence of one in an emergency can be crippling.  In the dark, a torch is a good way of reducing the risk of injury, signaling to others and seeing navigation points to help you find your way.  Having a head-torch has the added advantage of keeping your hands free.

Earplugs are another often overlooked item of useful equipment.  A good night’s sleep is important for safety and enjoyment, and two things in the wild can interrupt that: the unreasonably loud dawn-chorus at 5am and other Men snoring the rest of the time.

 

Features to look for:

  • Reuseability
  • Light and compact
  • Reliable

Features to avoid:

  • Single-use

LED torch

For
  • Bright and focusable beam
  • Compact
  • Long-life
  • Uses rechargeable or normal standard batteries
Against
  • Not hands-free
Stockists and Price
Opt for a LED torch over incandescent bulb as the bulb life is much greater, the light brighter and longer lasting.  Modern torches also often have an emergency strobe function and different power settings as well as a beram that can be focused or made ‘wide-angle’.  Good quality hand-torches start at around £10 and can go up into the hundreds.  Don’t opt for cheap plastic ones, they will likely let you down when you most need them, stick with a brand like Led Lenser, available online and in high street outdoors shops.

Headtorch

For
  • Long-life
  • Hands-free
  • Compact
Against
  • Some need to be charged with a dedicated charger
  • Can be annoying to others if you look at them to talk to them and dazzle them all the time.
Stockists and Price
Many many brands now do a head-torch and these can be picked up from camping shops for as little as £5.  Though ideal for a single weekend they start to become uneconomical for more regular use.  Choose a recognised LED brand such as Led Lenser and spend as much as you can afford, you really do get what you pay for.

Earplugs

For
  • Great for a quiet night
  • Reusable – just need to be washed in warm soapy water every trip
  • Brightly coloured / corded – helps to prevent losing them
  • Low cost
  • Small and very light – weasley goes into your wash-bag.
Against
  • Made from non-recyclable plastic with plastic packaging so ultimately destined for the landfill.
Stockists and Price
3M is arguably the best brand in safety equipment and produce some incredibly cheap products that cancel over 30 dB of sound, which is plenty for a good night’s sleep.

Prices for a single pair start at under £2, and are available online or from most hardware and builders merchants.

Terry’s favourite

“Head torch every time, I prefer Led Lenser as a brand.  And earplugs are essential as Adrian snores like a walrus.”

Adrian’s favourite

“Led Lenser products are second to none, and their customer service is amazingly good on the rare occasions when their products fail.  My head-torch cost over £100 but it’s like daylight, lasts for 10 hours and is an essential piece of safety equipment.  Terry’s snoring sounds like a scout troop sawing up a tree, but the 3M ear-plugs can shut even that out.”