What’s a buddy pocket?
Q What sort of things should I keep in the top pocket of my rucksack? Marcus Lewis, Tamworth
Trail says Positioned right at the top of your pack, it makes sense to keep those items that you need quick access to in the uppermost pocket. The problem is that it’s still not possible to get to it without removing your pack. This is why a rucksack’s top pouch is sometimes referred to as the ‘buddy pocket’. The reason is perhaps obvious: if you’re out walking with a friend – a buddy – you can ask them to remove items from this top pocket for you, and return the favour by accessing items for them. Of course, if you’re all by yourself, you’ll have to remove your pack and manage on your own. Cue the violins…
So, what to keep in there? There’s not huge amounts of space, so your options are limited, but relatively compressible items such as gloves and a hat, or flattish items such as a guidebook, wallet or phone, or items that you don’t want to have to rummage around in your pack for, such as a headtorch or insect repellent, are all likely candidates. Sitting in the roof of your pack, any items stowed here are vulnerable to the whims of the weather, so anything electronic or that could be damaged by getting wet should be protected in a thin, flexible dry-bag.
Top pockets often have a clip that can be used to secure objects such as car keys in place. In fact, you should probably only consider keeping your keys in here if there is a means of attaching them to the pack. Otherwise you risk them toppling out when you (or your buddy) pulls something from the pocket. And if it’s not noticed at the time, you could be looking at a long walk just when you think your day is done!