If you do end up stranded on the mountain after dark (though these tips on avoiding benightment should help in the first place), then there are a few items that will make your unplanned night out a bit more bearable. Remember, if you are stuck on the mountain and someone knows your whereabouts then Mountain Rescue will probably be looking for you. If you can safely get off, that should be your first option. If not, then you need to assess what would happen if you stay out all night. If it’s just a miserable night out, then learn from your experience, but contact Mountain Rescue anyway to ensure they’re not called out to find you merrily munching on Kendal mint cake and making the most of your impromptu wild camp. If you think that hypothermia might result then you definitely need to contact Mountain Rescue.
Survival Bag or Blanket – Many will carry the usual orange survival bag. The only things it has going for it is that it’s very cheap and particularly conspicuous on the hill. It doesn’t offer a particularly pleasant night on the hill. Better still are the blizzard survival bags that are also orange, but provide significant insulation as well. They cost a few times the cost of a survival bag, but are also many times more useful.
Spare rations. Keep the stomach happy, and you’ll feel better psychologically. Even more importantly, keeping well fed will keep you warmer and thus more comfortable.
Spare fleece or insulation. A lightweight down jacket can mean you’ll be as warm as in a summer sleeping bag in some cases, and your night goes from being uncomfortable to bearable.
Group Shelter. Just getting into one of these, and the ensuing mirth, keeps your temperature and spirits up. Inside, the combined body heat of the group helps keep you much warmer, if not particularly comfortable.
Flask of soup / or tea. If you’ve got a decent flask, it should still be warm by dusk. Drink it while it’s still warm.
Torch. If you’ve got a decent one, then you should be able to get off the mountain in the dark – no excuses. If you do end up in this situation, fully equipped then at least you can do a bit of soul searching during the long night to see why you’re in this mess. Get registered on a hill skills or a decent navigation course as soon as you’re safe.