Size Matters... Small carry items I never leave without

Budget should effect any trip, the outdoors is free. I have loved this approach to exploring and hiking, don't get me wrong  I own pricey items, I have spent more than I needed to on some items only to ensure the quality lasted. However for me thats not what justifies me carrying it, its not what defies its worth. Some of the most useful items I like to have with me came at a minimal cost.
The key with me is size! My first wild camping trip I ventured off into the wild with a 110l Dutch army bergen strapped to my back, I felt like I had struggled to take what I needed, an overwhelming sense of worry followed me for the weekend... "did I forget something?"


A couple of years on I can retreat to the wilderness for a comfortable weekend with a 45l carry bag, less worry and certainly more confident. Don't get me wrong, experience has helped, as my skills have developed of course there are things I can do now with minimal kit. However one thing became clear. Size does matter.

Knowledge is the key to survival, the real beauty of that is that it does weigh anything 
- Ray Mears

I have my E.D.C. (Every Day Carry) items that I always make sure are with me, some of these provide a sense of luxury, others simply serve to make a chore a little easier. This is my comprehensive run through of my key small carry items.

1. Nite Ize Camjam
Imagine the scenario: you have been walking for hours, the weather is turning and you need to get yourself settled for the night. Your hands are toasty in your gloves and the thought of taking them out to tie and knot a ridge line for your tarp is almost unbearable. Now steps in the hero of the hour... the Camjam. With this little treat you are able to simply clip onto your tarp loop wrap round the anchor point, the main body is plastic so it weighs next to nothing. Its essentially a carabiner with knot free tension solution. You can tighten and slacken your guy line with ease.
I picked up mine from Go Outdoors simply as they are close to me and I know they will price match the cost. However in this case they were fairly priced already.


2. Suunto Ambit 
Now some may call this a luxury, I know its certainly priced at a luxury budget. However this things provide more than just realtime information and guidance. I had always just wore my standard watch for trips out, but after link replacements, having to buff out scratches and just an overwhelming fear of loss I figured it was appropriate I purchased a watch fit for purpose.
The aspect I find most useful on the Ambit is the ability to set waypoints, before a long walk or expedition I log onto the movescount site and plan my route, setting waypoints. Paying a closer attention to terrain, any obstacles I may pass, gather awareness of possible water sources. It almost forces me to take a step back and really look at the bigger picture.
I have the earlier model, and have never had a problem with it. Their price range may seem overwhelming but in my eyes if your an avid walker, even more so a solo adventurer these things pay for themselves.

As much as people may tend to buy these straight from the manufacturer for guarantee, I know it makes sense to shop around. Many retailers offer a price match scheme across all ranges, I know when I eventually upgrade to the next model I will spend the extra time shopping for the best deal possible. Here is a prime example:

Current price at Suunto Direct for the Ambit 3 Peak in Black - £270 (Click to view)

Go outdoors currently stock at £249.99 and on a regular basis offer 15/20% off flash sales, so if you time your purchase accordingly it could work out at a saving of almost £50


3. Esbit Titanium Fork
This can be perceived as a luxury by many, I get it. Your outdoors, in the wild surely if your catching and eating your not bothered about eating with your hands? In a short answer... no!
I enjoy food, regardless of where I am cooking and eating i want to enjoy eating the food I prepare. I think a fork brings a sense of civility into outdoor meals. At 16g-18g in weight, can you really complain about carrying this with you? regardless of my cook set: billy can, mess tin, simple grill. I will always have this trusty fork with me.

I picked up my Esbit Titanium Fork from Heinnie Haynes, I have bought masses of kit from these guys and every transaction has been a delight. Ive ordered online, over the phone, I have even placed pre-orders via email and all without a hitch.


When you start eating food without labels, you no longer need to count calories
- Amanda Kraft

4 - Urban Revolt Power Bank
Not exactly a survival necessity, this is a simply personal accessory I like to take out with me. I tend to take a lot of photos whilst Im out exploring, takes a toll on my poor phone.
This little gem is the same size as a credit card and only 7mm thick its stored with ease. It recharges quickly being a lithium ion battery. I cant fault this, its saved my phone on numerous occasions.
The LED charging light gives me a vague idea of quite how much juice it has left.

These are available to buy from Amazon delivered next day for free with Prime!


5. Light My Fire - Salt and Pepper Plus
So... I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but I like my food! I have always been a firm believer that just because your in the wild, you don't have to drop your food standards. Simple additions to meals such as seasoning can make a huge difference. I take the essential salt & pepper with me at all times, the final space switches from time to time, its been: Nandos peri salt, Cayenne pepper, Garlic Salt. Depends what's tickling my tastebuds at the time, mostly I'll ensure I take a seasoning which will compliment what I plan to eat that trip.

Outdoor GB are always a good option for equipment, I picked this up from them at a good price. Make sure to check stock levels before ordering.


Im very aware that these aren't the essentials you need to survive in the wild, nor do I believe these are the most important things you should take out with you when on a solo camp or a woodland weekend. These are just some of my favourite little bits I like to have with me, they make my trips out either easier, tastier or just tickle my fancy.

Id love to hear what other people like to take out with them to make their trips even more enjoyable so please feel free to comment and share your favourites.

Thomas

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