GPS Receiver

Before setting off on a trip, clear down all the existing waypoints / routes / tracks from the receiver, and upload just the ones required for the area(s) you are visiting (see GPS Files page).  This keeps the waypoints list short making it easier to scroll through them, for example when executing a "Goto" instruction.

I prefer to load up waypoints for just the start and finish points of my walks, and the mountain summits, with simple direct routes between them.  A map and compass are adequate for filling in the gaps.  Where the GPS comes in useful is for checking the exact current location, and for pinpointing a summit in mist.  Also its great for telling you how far you are away from your target.

Get yourself a cable (see Links) to hook your receiver up to a computer.  This allows you to upload all your data without having to fiddle about with the receiver's keypad, and also to download any data you've gathered on a trip for posterity.  You can then clear down the receiver to keep it uncluttered.  Obtain some GPS software (see Links) - it makes it easier to maintain your data (though you can get by with a text editor such as Notepad), and lets you have fun plotting waypoints against map backgrounds.


Hiking Poles

Hiking poles are very effective energy savers, and a great help if you, like me, suffer from dodgy knees.  For a full review and helpful instructions, see Pete's Poles Page.


Food and Drink

To save frequent stops and continuously taking off your pack to get a drink, get a drinks bottle with a flexible tube and mouthpiece.  The bottle can stay in your backpack, preferably in an insulated jacket to keep it cool.

Sandwiches are usually disgusting by the time you get to the top, especially on a hot day - and you're not even supposed to feed them to the sheep these days.  I prefer to have a decent cooked breakfast before I set out, and take things like crisps, cereal bars and chocolate.  What you really need is plenty of water (perhaps with some of that powdered "fuel" stuff you can get in hiking shops).  Isotonic drinks in foil sachets are excellent, because they stay really cold.

It always seems a good idea to reward yourself on reaching a summit, with a nice picnic in the wind shelter.  Your reward will be frozen hands and being mugged by sheep (see Cartoons page).


Checklist

Here is a checklist I use when packing for a trip to the mountains.  Please feel free to make a copy and adapt it for your own use.

Checklist - (Word document)