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Piers Carter, Expedition Medicine Director, Writes About His Favourite Piece of Travel Kit

What’s in Your Sack? Essential bits of travel kit by Piers Carter, Expedition Medicine Director and Leader
Working and playing overseas in, sometimes, difficult environments is enjoyable but can also be hard, occasionally downright scary and normally uncomfortable. To help to mitigate the challenges I like to take with me certain bits of ‘essential kit’. 

I read an article last year in a broadsheet where they asked famous travelling names the same question. Ben Fogle said a Swiss army knife (personally I prefer Leatherman), Bear Grylls said a photo of his family and a bible (I’d be happy with a photo of the bible and my family) and Ranulph Fiennes said a long wheel base Land Rover Defender with winch! It got me thinking, what would I like to have with me at all times?

My initial thought was ‘Jelly Babies’. But then I got down to some more serious thinking and came up with ‘Jelly Babies’ and then finally I had a semi serious thought about being out there somewhere and what I would most want with me.
A note book and pen.
Since my role is normally as an expedition leader there always seems to be a million and one things to remember, things to brief the participants about, timings for transfers, kit to suggest people take etc, etc. I have a brain like a sieve and so, to stop me forgetting, I rely constantly on my note book and pen.
So that’s my essential bit of kit, a note book and pen. The notebook of choice is a  Black n’ Red, plastic backed spiral bound A5. There is enough room in the spiral to slide a pen and a pencil and there is elastic to hold the cover and pages together. Cheaper than a Moleskin and harder wearing than most others. Slipped in an Ortlieb map case with any other documents I need daily and I’m ready for anything. Not as tasty as a Jelly Baby, you can’t rub it together to make fire and hasn’t got a set of pliers hidden in the spine, but if you run out of toilet paper...


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