What’s a buddy pocket?

Trail (UK) - - Contents -

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!

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