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Outdoor instructor Rachel Davies

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June 2022 Issue

Rachel Davies is an outdoor instructor and Wilderness’s ‘Short Little Guide’ illustrator.

She has taught packing skills to hundreds of people throughout her career which has helped whittle down her own pack to the essentials. 

Here’s what she takes.

Pack

My Hyperlite 4400 Windrider is waterproof and easy to pack. No more losing things in a million pockets plus I can dry stuff in the front mesh stash pocket. I bought two packing cubes that stack perfectly inside to give an extra water-resistant barrier for my sleep system and keep food separate from my other gear.

Shelter

The combination of my Outdoor Research Helium Bivy, groundsheet, and Rab Siltarp provides options depending on weather and bugs. With horrendous sandflies, temps colder than -10, or sharing with other people, I’ll swap to my Hilleberg Anjan tent.

Sleep System

I’m a convert to quilts; I love my Enlightened Equipment Enigma which weighs 762g and is extreme-rated to -17. My Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Xlite has been with me for four years of year-round use and has, knock-on-wood, never needed patching. The Xlite makes a world of difference for sleeping warm.

Clothes

I pack one full set of clothes for on trail and a set of Icebreaker base layers I keep absolutely dry for nighttime. My Darn Tough socks have lasted the longest of perhaps any of my gear. My Outdoor Research Helium rain jacket has kept me dry in storms and packs super tiny, and my Arc’teryx Atom LT jacket is my absolute must-have insulator on and off the trail in every season.

Art Supplies

As an illustrator, I love sketching and painting in the backcountry. I carry a small journal with thick paper for painting, basic watercolour tubes, two brushes, four ink pens, and one pencil and eraser.

Luxury Items

Totally unnecessary, but I love bringing my hammock and down booties with me if there’s space. I usually make space.

All the Little Things

Katadyn 1l water filter, InReach satellite messenger, headlamp with spare batteries, Leatherman tool, human and gear repair kits, solar-boosted battery pack, GoPro Hero 8, phone with Backcountry Navigator app, hiking poles, Nalgene bottle and sunglasses.

Kitchen

For solo trips, I use an off-brand pocket rocket stove and Snow Peak titanium pot. It’s simple and small. For group trips, especially long ones, I love the Trangia stove system because the fuel (methylated spirits) is cheap and easy to resupply. My little wooden spoon, carved by a friend, has been on all my adventures for years.