A cacophony of small things
I generally opt to carry a simple outfit when making camping trips and during canoe expeditions, so the bulk of my equipment in terms of volume is sleeping equipment and food. I’ll typically carry a basic arrangement of cooking gear too, alongside some warm and waterproof layers, but outside of those larger items I also carry an assortment of small items. Often referred to as ‘possibles’, I like to think of my cacophony of smaller items as ‘essentials, if needed’. These items generally fall into two categories: everyday useful kit, and back-up/ emergency kit. It used to be that I’d have a single pouch in my rucksack for every miscellaneous item, until such time as it was retrieved from the depths. However, I’m now running with a two-pouch system and I thought I’d share with you why I use that setup.
Essentials if needed: Possibles kit
These are the items I carry in a roll top dry-sack for repairs, back-ups and emergencies:
A small first aid kit, water purification tablets, plastic sealable food bags, a small fishing kit and waxed cotton discs form much of my survival gear. A good torch (with spare battery) and compass, blow-torch lighter, and knife backup are the equipment I typically carry on my person should it fail or be lost. A mozzie head net, tick removal card and magnifying glass can be invaluable should you need them. And then a general repair kit for running repairs whilst outdoors.
Here I carry glue for fixing tarp and tent seams, zip ties, duct tape and thread, alongside a small assortment of sewing needles and a couple of buttons. I also carry a few glue-gun sticks (not pictured) which when melted with the blow torch lighter can be used to great effect for all manner of repairs, especially around a canoe.
Everyday useful: Belt kit
The contents of my belt pouch are in constant flux depending on what I’m doing, and I suppose ultimately that’s the benefit in my opinion of a secondary smaller pouch. I don’t especially like having pockets full of kit as I’m walking through the woods, so having a single compartment into which I can store those items which I’m using regularly through the day is ideal; even more-so as I can often leave this pouch in the top of my rucksack whilst hiking when I don’t need to have those items immediately to hand. It also makes life easy at the end of the day when getting into the sleeping bag, as I have a place to empty what might be in my pockets and it’s to hand should there be an overnight emergency. There’s a few regular characters that inhabit my belt pouch though: a small ‘cuts’ first aid kit, I always have this close to hand when using a knife!
A good firesteel, a DC4 sharpening stone, some paracord, a notebook and pen, a torch, and insect repellent. My wallet and car keys often find their way into here as well. I usually have a UK legal pocket knife in here or in my pocket for most of my personal use, but often that’ll be exchanged for the locking TK4 from the other pouch during trips to more remote areas or when I expect to use it for more sustained work.
The key focus here is flexibility, being able to access in dynamic way what you feel you’ll need with you during any given trip and being able to systematically prepare for that is good practice in many aspects of the outdoors, and the belt pouch is a good microcosm for that.
I hope you found this article interesting, I’d love to hear what your belt kit contains, if you want to leave a comment below.
All the best