After a period of mourning over the final death of one of our rucksacks that managed to survive almost 3 years of wild camping abuse (trust me that’s good going) we’ve started looking for a equally tough replacement. As this was the one that Michelle (the other half of Wild Terrain) carried most of the time she decided that next victim would be her choice.
I sometimes dread this process which apart from taking far too long tends to focus too much on the way the rucksack looks instead of how practical it actually is. Over the years a few features on a rucksack have proved their worth countless times and these are my first priority no matter how pretty it looks.
At Least a Half Decent Level of Waterproofing
A Pull Over Rain Cover
Big Side Pockets
A Good Sized Area of Webbing
Plenty of Tie Off Points for Hanging “Stuff” On
There are a few more things that usually seal the deal but the list above is the bare minimum expected. If your wondering what I mean by “At Least a Half Decent Level of Waterproofing”, if a rucksack that can stand 10 minutes of moderate rain without sucking up all the moisture in a square mile radius.
The Problem with a New Rucksack
Any piece of new camping equipment is a thing of beauty when its all shiny and clean and sometimes trying to keep it this way can interfere with the actual camping bit.
From the care loading it up to keeping it dry and trying not to fall on it (there tends to be a lot of falling over). I sometimes feel its a bit of a burden, its almost a relief when its a bit battered and becomes just another “tool” we can throw around.
Why Bright Colors and Wild Camping Don’t Mix
There are 2 reasons why a darker color rucksack makes more sense if its going to be used for wild camping.
1. Our summers are taking up with all the “no tent” wild camping we can squeeze in between the other inconvenient things we have to do (work etc) and the increasingly wet UK summers.
Just picking a direction and walking means you generally have no idea where you’ll be sleeping that night and can sometimes leave you bedding down on other peoples land. The last thing we want is to be so brightly colored that everybody within ten miles can see us coming (or going), sort of makes stealth camping a little pointless 🙂
There is some bright colored material in our kit for making makers if we ever need to but that’s safely hidden away.
2. Hiking between hotels or the odd trip to an organized campsite doesn’t put much strain on a rucksack but submit it to a summer of sleeping in farmers fields and on the top of mountains and you’ll be grateful you’ve got something made from dark material.
My hope is that Michelle will one day lose all the value she puts into how camping kit looks and I can load her up with an almost indestructible ex army Bergen (dream on).