An Uplifting Day on the South Downs - Putting My Camino Essentials Kit to Good Use


I took myself off to walk on the beautiful South Downs last week, and brought along my Basic Essentials kit from to see how much use I’d get out of it on day hikes.  The results were amazing!! I decided to go walking after being ill with a multitude of winter-related maladies.  To pick myself up from taking anti-biotics to clear a chest infection, I decided to head to the coast to get some restorative fresh air and there is no better place than the South Downs for me.

 The South Downs offers beautiful views at any time of the year

Best way to Fight Fatigue is Exercise

Sharing a vital piece of information for all of you who may have been impacted by the viral infections that were rife in the UK and Ireland over the past two months: if any of you were diagnosed with post-viral fatigue (as I was), there is a remedy for beating this fatigue.  It is exercise! It’s ironic isn’t it? So, I used my most familiar exercise, which is walking!


Before I put on my hiking socks, I rubbed in some Vaseline to a part of my foot that causes me some pain from chafing. By doing this before I set out and before I put on my socks, it prevented my foot uncomfortably rubbing against my sock and boot. Once I started walking, I experienced not pain at all. It worked a treat.  My feet were cosy in my socks and boots and I had a chafe-free walk. Result!


Nappy Pins

My versatile nappy pins was the second of the kit to come to the rescue.  My hydration bag tube didn’t fit neatly through my small daypack opening, so I had to let the tube exit through the opening of my bag.  This was not a problem because the most wonderful multi-functional nappy pins came to the rescue.  I was able to clip the nappy pin between the two zip openers and it kept them from dragging loose and saved me from a disaster of losing gear on the walk.  Thank you nappy pins!!

Head and Neck Gaiter (plus ear plugs!)

Untamed hair from wild and windy weather becomes tamed by head gaiter!

It was a wild and windy day, and I soon dug into my bag for my head and neck gaiter.  Because the wind was so strong, I also inserted my ear plugs to super-protect my ears from the piercing wind.

Phone Pouch with Carabiner

I clipped on my phone pouch so that I could easily retrieve my phone to take photos of the wonderful white cliffs at Beachy Head and the view of my picnic destination, Birling Gap. 





It was a day of all weathers.  I set out first in drizzling rain, and that blew over to delight me with clear blue skies.  The wind was wild but that made it quite atmospheric for a day’s hike.  The wind was in my face all the way to Birling Gap and I guessed that it would help blow me back home after lunch. 

I was glad to see Birling Gap come into view so I could enjoy my al fresco lunch-stop.

Birling Gap nestled in a dip of the Downs

Sporks and Cotton Squares

I took out my energy-fuelled picnic (oatcakes, almonds, banana, a small sweet almond cookie and water) and made use of my cotton squares.  One I used to sit my picnic on, to keep everything clean and the other I used as a napkin as I ate my food. The sporks were great.  I sliced my banana with the knife part of the sport, and used the fork to place the bananas on my oatcakes.  I love those cotton squares because they tend to make a bit of occasion out of an outdoor picnic.  The weather may have been rough but my picnic stop was quite elegant and refined, thanks to my cotton squares!

When I finished my wonderfully civilised picnic, I gathered up everything and started out on my return journey.  All of a sudden the wind blew more fiercely and the rain cascaded down to create flooding in the car park area of the Birling Gap rest area.  I was stunned and knew that the only way back to Eastbourne for me was on foot. 

20L Dry Bag

I knew that the daypack I brought long didn’t have a waterproof cover, so I placed everything in the daypack into my 20L dry bag, so that everything was protected from the rain. It worked a treat.

Dry bag protects everything from the rain

So, I set off on my return journey, and the speed of the wind and rain literally blew my back in quicker time that getting over there!  Thankfully, that min-storm blew itself away to Hastings and gave me back my lovely bright sunny day.  My head kept warm even during all the wind and rain but I was glad to get back to my hotel to dry out and chill.  Everything remained dry in the dry bag and I just had to hang up the daypack to dry in time for the morning. It was great to look out at the changeable weather from the safety of my hotel room.


Turbulent Turner-esque skies on return journey; sun came out again; view of Eastbourne welcomes me home

Travel Sewing Kit

I noticed on my walk that I had a small hole in my jacket pocket.  Already, I could feel coins in the jacket lining, and knew that this small hole would keep growing if I didn’t do something about it.  That evening, after an early dinner, I settled down with my travel sewing kit and sewed up the hole.  Problem solved! I’m not a great seamstress but the good news is, there are no more coins falling through a hole in my pocket because there is no longer a hole. 


Sewing kit patches a hole in jacket pocket – it even had red thread to match the material!

Foldaway Tote Bag

Before I set out the following day to walk the Seven Sisters from Birling Gap, I stopped in to the supermarket to buy more water and picnic goods.  My foldaway tote bag was great to take with me.  It meant I didn’t have to clear out my daypack and I could just decant what I bought from the durable tote bag into it. 


Foldaway tote bag large enough to hold litres of water and lots of groceries

I was amazed at how much of the kit I used on a one day hike.  It has proven that it is essential for day hikes as well as long distance hikes.

After mentioning earlier about exercise being a good remedy for ridding yourself of fatigue, the good news is that after my few day on the peat-springy South Downs, I was fully energised and ready to take on the world again.  

There were two excellent results from my invigorating walk on the South Downs:

  1. My Basic Essentials Kit Proved invaluable for day hikes as well as long distance hikes.
  2. By getting outdoors and walking, I beat fatigue!

Happy days!

Anne Starr, CEO,

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