Packing Lite: What else do you need in your bag?

4. Sun glasses?  Yep, a must have. They cover a multitude of activities and not just sun bathing.  Don’t forget, if you are going anywhere near a reflective surface such as: OK a sun bed by the pool, snow especially at altitude, glaciers, large lakes etc, you will need adequate eye protection.  Your choice of sun glasses is really down to you, but make sure they have a good UV protection factor and not just cool looks.  You can get multi-purpose glasses from Sports Direct for around £9.50 with 3 sets of interchangeable lenses; 1 clear, 1 yellow tint, and of course dark sun lenses. They are made by Muddy Fox if they are still in stock. I couldn’t believe how adaptable they were and thought they were so good I went back and bought a second set.

5. Reading glasses?  Well just don’t forget them and take a copy of your prescription with you in case of emergencies.

6. Wash kit?  A personal choice, but remember the Fishing Jacket? Carry heavy objects in your pockets until your bags have been weighed and don’t forget your chargers!

7. Electronic ‘Gidgies’?  ‘Don’t forget any’ is a good bit of advice, but don’t take the kitchen sink either (even if it is electronic) as you have to carry it!  We will probably be taking the following, but final decisions are yet to be made:  i-phone with data roaming, etc. turned off – only for use as an emergency for contact with the outside world.   Arlene’s little netbook – a great bit of kit and will fill one of my fishing jacket pockets accompanied by my i-pad in the other one to balance me out! Two cameras, both compact digitals.  We recently bought a Canon SX280, fantastic bit of kit. The other will be one of my Fuji F80EXR’s as a back up. A portable DVD player/writer recently purchased on e-bay for next to nothing but small and very lightweight, another fishing jacket pocket! Various leads and a couple of chargers, one of them containing a USB output, oh and an emergency charging pack. This has USB outputs of various voltages and can charge or run a host of USB driven devices until mains power is once again available.

8. Water treatment?  We appreciate we are going to other civilised countries, but at times we could be in areas where can we say, the water supply may not be quite what it appears.  Arlene bought a SteriPen (http://www.steripen.com) UV water treatment device.  She is not a big fan of buying bottled water unless absolutely necessary.  It will save us money and help the environment at the same time.

 9. And last, but one of the most important, First/Emergency Aid?  Not to be underestimated on any trip where you may be in remote areas or where facilities may be dubious.  Always have a basic First Aid bag, box or other receptacle containing if nothing else, plasters and the bigger the better, you can always cut them to size but you can’t make them bigger. Good quality triangular bandages, about 4 should do the trick and they are so versatile. A couple of long wide ordinary bandages, again you can fold them in half if needed, but impossible to make them grow. Lint packs, forget the cotton wool, nasty stuff and sticks to everything you don’t want it to. Some antiseptic wipes, oh and sutures of a couple of different widths. You can go on forever, and although I am an Emergency First Response Instructor, what fits my needs probably won’t fit yours.  Most first aid kits you buy off the shelf contain things you will never use and will be thrown out because they have gone out of date! Better to make your own up with what would be useful to you and keep it in a ‘Clip Seal’ plastic box, that way if your bag does end up in the Amazon, at least your first aid kit will be bone dry!

There are kits out there on the market named/labelled ‘Sterile’ or ‘Sterile Pro’. These are great for when travelling in remote areas or where hygiene issues may be apparent, but a word of warning; these kits are for sale to the general public and contain such articles as hypodermic needles, syringes and the like. These kits can be carried by any traveller, unless local legislation dictates otherwise, but they must be handed to a Professional who is to administer the treatment.

You can also get emergency dental kits which contain a sterile hypodermic needle, syringe, emergency tooth filling cement, a spatula etc. By all means use the mirror, spatula and cement, but don’t be tempted to get out your cordless drill and inject some happy juice into your buddy’s gums. Once again those items are for the use of the professional, well not the cordless drill maybe.

There are many companies out there who sell first aid kits and equipment, Life Systems may be a name some of you know if you take part in adventurous activities.

I have gone through a reasonable amount of stuff over these last few posts, but I hope it has been of use to whoever is reading it.  When planning a trip, especially a big one, start early and I mean months ahead!  I’m retired, so time is of no essence and I can spend as much time on the internet or in the shops as I like, but I will still have a list to work through to make sure I don’t miss anything.

Remember, most of us take part in activities when we travel and some of us travel purely for that reason, but also give a thought to the remoteness of the location you may be doing your activity in and the speed help can get to you or vice versa.  Understand the risks, accept the risks if they are reasonable, manage the risks, but most of all enjoy, have fun and be safe.

If anyone has any questions or would like me to expand on anything, please comment below.

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