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What to add to your rucksack this autumn

Thursday 13th October 2022, 3:41pm

With Mountaineering Scotland's Mountainer Safety Advisor Ross Cadie

As the sun dips a little lower in the sky and autumn begins to change the colours of the landscape around us, itís time to review what we carry in the rucksack and ensure that weíre prepared for all eventualities in the Scottish hills.

Head torch

With less daylight available, there is a greater chance that you might start or finish your adventures in the dark. Now is a good time to make sure your head torch is in good working order. 

For me, I open up the battery compartment to check the terminals are clean and free from corrosion and stick new batteries in. Either spare batteries or a spare torch is recommended for when the batteries die due to things like being accidentally turned on in your bag all day!

Spare Layers

In the summer, I might only have a very light spare layer, as well as a thin hat and gloves. When temperatures start to drop, I replace these with a thicker synthetic belay-type jacket, warmer gloves and a hat. Keeping them dry with a good quality dry bag is also a good idea. 


The rain gets wetter in autumn, or so it feels! This is the time of year that I give my waterproofs a bit of TLC Ė usually after Iíve been out in the first proper downpour and realised they arenít working terribly well and my trousers have a hole in them. Spending some time washing and reproofing will bring them back to life.  I also identify any small holes or worn patches and repair them with special glue or patches. Your local outdoor shop will be able to help advise you on what to use.

Other bits & bobs

Not everyoneís cup of tea (sorry, couldnít resist!). I personally donít carry a flask during the summer months but as the seasons change, it is something I start to put in my bag if the weather is looking a little more unsettled or cooler.  A hot drink can really boost morale.

In summer my personal hill kit would include a space blanket or an orange bivi bag, but with the much cooler temperatures kicking in, I think now is a good time to beef up the emergency kit. I add in a blizzard bag which doesnít add much weight but definitely increases the comfort if you get caught out for whatever reason.  The sun cream and sunglasses tend to be placed back in the cupboard until I hopefully need them in mid to late winter.