So, when you’re out on the hills what should you take?
Well, you can go out walking in jeans, t-shirt and trainers but it’s not really advisable (although I’ve seen it on many occasions!) , however, you probably don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive kit, especially if you’re just starting out.
The weather, especially in Great Britain can be extremely changable and you can’t always rely on the forecasts. It’s not much fun being out in the middle of nowhere when you’re freezing cold and soaked.
Firstly, get a good pair of walking boots/shoes.
I currently use Haglofs Vertigo approach shoes which are great for all but the most challenging terrain, for that I’ve got some old leather Brasher boots.
It’s always best to ‘break them in’ on some shorter walks before tackling a multi-dayer!
There is a huge choice in jackets and there is a big different between waterproof and just showerproof.
Generally a softshell will cope with most weather but a hardshell is needed for more extreme downpours.
I use the Arc’teryx Beta LT hardshell.
Layering one of the best ways to keep warm Getting warm air trapped between several layers is better than just one thick jumper. A merino wool or SportWool base layer is a good place to start, you’ll want this to be reasonably tight fitting to help wicking.
My current ‘go to’ top is made by a local company, True Mountain.
A rucksack is useful for sticking everything you’ll need.
A day sack of around 20-30 litres is sufficient for most day trips and provides enough room for layers, hardshell, food and drink.
For multi day trips 50 – 70 is preferable.
I currently use a very old Lowe Alpine day sack (with some Vango dry sacks to keep my warm layers dry) and a Lowe Alpine 65 litre expandable to 75 ( reviews to follow!)
Food and drink is a must. I always take a Sawyer water filter as it’s so light and easy to carry. My meths burner and Alpkit mug are used for brewing a welcoming coffee during cooler days and night walks.
Finally, a map and compass. It may seem obvious but there have been several times when I’ve had to help people with ‘all the gear and no idea’ who’ve just headed off with no idea of a route!
A GPS device or a smartphone can be a useful addition, but you should never solely rely on them.