As the weather gets grumpy, we tell you what extras you might want to add to your day pack this autumn.
This week's Monday Tip is a quick look at the extras you might consider adding to your pack as the days get cooler and shorter this autumn. Chances are you've stripped things down a little for those barmy UK summer months, ahem, but now's the time to have a quick sort though and add those potentially useful extras.
If you've ditched your spare clothing for summer, now's the time to replace it in your pack or maybe switch to a warmer stand-by as temperatures drop. In summer we tend to carry a lightweight microfleece, and there's no reason why that's not warm enough for most autumn days too, particularly layered under a shell, but given that temperatures on Scottish tops are already only a few degrees above freezing, a lightweight insulated jacket with a damp-friendly synthetic fill is a great back-up option.
Along with that, a hat and gloves - windproof fleece works well in both cases - are non-summer essentials, so if you don't have those already stashed in your pack, it's time to dig them out or at least make sure they're still there.
Obviously you'll still carry an emergency shelter or bivvy bag in summer, erm, right? But if you don't, it's time to throw one in. On top of that though, we'd suggest thinking about a warmer option than a simple lightweight bag.
Group emergency shelters are fantastic in cold conditions as they allow the group to share warmth and up morale, but even if you tend to roll alone, have a look at the emergency Blizzard bags which still pack small and light, but trap enough extra air for some added insulation if the worst comes to the worst.
Finally, if you've put your head torch to one side for summer, it's time to put it back in your pack after checking that it's still working. Shorter days mean you're more likely to get caught out in the dark by a small navigation error.
In addition, if you're likely to find yourself on unlit, narrow country lanes at the end of a day, consider a simple rear light - Petzl's Signal is a neat option, but check out bike lights too, to up your rear-facing visibility. You could even add some reflective stickers to your pack if it doesn't come with them as standard.
Last but not least, if you've gone over to a lightweight shell jacket for the summer months, now might be the time to get your full-weight waterproof out again. You're more likely to be wearing it rather than carrying it at this time of year and it'll cope better with abrasion from pack use and general wear and tear than a lighter, summer-weight waterproof if that's how you roll.
And last but not least, enjoy! New colours, fresh breezes and the promise of a crisp, cold winter just over the horizon.