This article covers advice for purchasing the correct cadet rucksack and what you should be packing your rucksack with for the first time as a cadet. A rucksack is one of the first items that you should purchase when joining the cadets in the UK as some of the time you will be on the ground, living out of your rucksack.

Most of the things that you carry in your rucksack can have two or three uses and it pays to experiment on what to pack and how to pack them.  In the UK you can plan on being wet and uncomfortable, but the situation is not nearly so bad if you are well prepared.

Before you pack your rucksack, you should check all the clips, zips and buckles as they can break with careless use and make carriage extremely uncomfortable.

The Weight Within the Rucksack

One of the main ideas when packing your kit is to try to keep the weight as high as possible so it can be spread over your shoulders, back and hips rather than having the weight lower down which can cause stress to your body.

You also want to keep the weight as close to your back as possible, so you do not over balance if going up or down hills. Also try to make sure the pack is also balanced on both sides as well so not to put more pressure on one side of your body than the other otherwise this will hurt too.

Secure and Waterproof

All contents should be put inside a liner or a large heavy duty bin bag to keep the items secure and waterproof – especially if you must do an unforeseen river crossing or suffer typical British weather.

Content of each Section of a Rucksack

Top Outer Pocket

At the top of your rucksack, beneath your top flap lives your grab bag, for use when you must leave your rucksack behind if compromised or have it pre-packed it for a specific task and will return to it later.

This pocket should contain items that you will need easy access to for emergency or due to weather changes:

  • Waterproof jacket if not just under lid
  • Map/compass (in waterproof case)
  • Head torch/torch
  • Light sticks with at least 1m of cord
  • Black bin bag (large)
  • Spare lighter/safety matches
  • Gloves and warm hat
  • Personal First aid Kit

Small Under Lid Pocket

Spare Batteries for all your devices repair kit (duct tape, sewing kit, electrical tape, zip ties)

(If you do not have an under-lid pocket then put contents in a waterproof bag and put near top of main part of rucksack or one of the side pockets.)

Top of Rucksack

Jacket and waterproof trousers.

Top of Main Rucksack Compartment

Each item is best if in its own bag to stop cross contamination. Keep any containers upright to prevent spillage.

  • At the very top should be your food – This needs to be in a separate bag if possible divided into each meal/day. This will probably be the heaviest item in your rucksack if on multi day/week trip.
  • Spare fuel for stove (if necessary)
  • Wash kit and small towel

Top of Main Rucksack Compartment

Use the clothing to level out parts of the bag and to bulk out the rucksack to try and keep the main weight as high as possible on your back.

  • Warm kit – Fleece, jacket, jumper
  • Spare socks, underwear, T-shirt
  • Gloves and wooley hat

Bottom Main Rucksack Compartment

Place your sleeping bag at the bottom of the main rucksack compartment. It is best if you keep your sleeping bag already in a bivi bag, if you have one, or a large bin bag / dry sack.

Very Bottom of Main Rucksack Compartment

Your spare uniform is kept in its own bag at the bottom of your rucksack it is to be used if you get wet through or damage the kit you are wearing or for the last day when travelling home.

Side Pocket 1

This kit is stuff that you may want to easily use without going into your main bag and kit that will be used early in the setup of camp. If you do not have a rucksack lid pocket the contents noted above can be placed there.

  • Basha /Shelter kit
  • Cup
  • Brew Kit
  • Water bottle/canteen

Side Pocket 2

If your rucksack also has a pocket on the other side, then either divide and balance the contents of side pocket 1 or if not use it to store your roll matt.

Cadet Rucksack

Kombat Camouflage Zip-Bag is included in our Cadet Package.

This Cadet Rucksack will be capable of holding all the items that you will need to carry while out on exercise as a UK cadet.