9 May 2017

Things You Will Need on a Family Ramble

It doesn’t matter if you are a novice at rambling or an expert, whether you are planning a short trek or a long walk, there are certain essentials that should always be a part of your rambling gear. This is especially important if you are rambling as a family with children, though the same rules apply to any walking expedition.

I talk from the experience of past mistakes. There were times when M and I strayed from the beaten path, without a compass or a map and lost our bearings. We wandered for hours, climbing up rocks and sliding down muddy banks, before finally finding our way back home. This was before the era of smart phones and advanced GPS technology (I know, we are ancient relics, almost).

It doesn’t matter if you are a novice at rambling or an expert, whether you are planning a short trek or a long walk, there are certain essentials that should always be a part of your rambling gear.

We are older now, and dare I say, wiser. So here is a list of things that you will need on any family ramble. I recommend never leaving base without all of these.

Layers of Clothing

So you have checked the weather forecast, and the prediction is for sunshine and smiles for the rest of the day. You decide to go walking in shorts and a t-shirt, with a hat and sunglasses. All very well, but it only takes minutes for clouds to replace the sun and stormy winds and pelting rain to darken bright blue skies.

Layers is the only way forward when out and about in the British countryside. Invest in good outerwear, for it will mean the difference between warm and comfortable or wet and cold. Personally, I am partial to layered, hooded jackets with multiple zipped pockets. The inner fleece lining can be peeled off from an outer waterproof layer, the pockets can house everything from keys to tissues, and the hood keeps your head protected against the elements.

Walking Boots

It goes without saying that you need a pair of sturdy, lightweight walking boots that are waterproof, windproof and with excellent grips. Only then can you emulate a mountain goat as you hop from one rocky outcrop to the next.

Walking Stick

Who needs a walking stick when you are fit, healthy and in great cardiovascular shape. The answer is the kids in the walking party probably do. Not so much for support with the walking, but more as a distraction to keep them moving. The last thing you want when climbing a fell is a whiny youngster telling you how they just cannot move any more. A walking stick is the perfect prop to help them along the way.

Fully-charged mobile phone

Easily done, and just as easily forgotten! When you rely on your smart phones for rambling routes, walking directions and maps, you absolutely have to make sure they are fully charged when you set out. We tend to put ours in battery saving mode when out rambling, because social media, instant messaging and non-urgent phone calls have no place in the great outdoors. M uses his phone for maps and directions; mine gets used for the photos and videos.

Portable charger

A fully charged portable phone charger is a good back-up to have in your rambling back-pack. Just in case!

Food and Drink

I cannot stress the importance of having enough food and drink on a family ramble. Walking, trekking and climbing is hard work that makes you hungry and thirsty. And rambles often take longer than expected, which means you may not always be back at the anticipated time.

The way we go about it is to start a walk after a hearty breakfast and carry packed lunches in our backpacks. I always pack a variety of nutritious snacks like flapjacks and bananas in addition to treats like biscuits and crisps. The thought of food after another mile of walking works as incentive most times!

Basic first-aid kit

This might sound unwarranted, but scraped elbows and grazed knees are no fun when you are out on an adventure. It is best to pack a small, basic first-aid kit as part of your rambling gear. Also remember to carry an essential prescription medication like inhalers or heart tablets.
Here is what I have in ours:
  • Pack of plasters
  • Paracetamol melts (6+)
  • Small tub of sudocrem (works wonders on most things)
  • A bottle of sunscreen
  • A packet of anti-allergy tablets (for those inevitable itchy insect bites and nettle stings)
  • A pack of baby wipes and tissues


For even the most seasoned ramblers on the most scenic routes need an ice-cream every once in a while!

I know, we are not on an expedition to climb Mount Everest, but these are simple things that make life easier, happier and more comfortable when you are out on a family ramble.

Do you enjoy rambling as a family? What would you add to this list?


  1. We've been walking as a family every weekend for about two and a half years now and we love it. Your list is spot on. Agree with all you've said - but you have missed one thing from your list that we simply can not manage without.
    We got our dog in October and our weekend walks are now even more fun :-)

    1. I agree! It is something we have been thinking about a lot. Just need to take the plunge and get a puppy, I think :-)


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