15/01/2020

Walking Gear - Essential checklist and tips on making your walk the best it can be!


When doing a walk - you need to take the essential bits of kit - check out my walking essentials checklist and tips to make sure you have everything you need to enjoy a walk




One of the big reasons I have set up this blog is to try and inspire others top get out into the great outdoors and feel the benefits of walking - the scenery, the exercise, the fresh air, the socialising and the getting away from it all and unplugging. 

There will be visitors to this blog who are experienced in walking and just want to discover new routes, whereas if you have come to this blog and are a bit of a beginner, then I have created this blog post to give you some tips on what to take on a hike. 


Planning 


First up - before deciding what to take on a walk you need to do your planning for your walk, and choose your route. Remember proper planning prevents poor performance. Hopefully this site has given you some ideas for walking routes and there are lots of great resources on the internet to inspire a good route.


Phone Apps with Maps


One of the best tools I use to plan a walk is a good phone app which already has built in routes. the great thing about a good phone app is that you can also download maps to your phone - so it will still work off GPS to tell you where you are even when you have no phone signal. I’m currently using www.outdoorsgps.com and on my iPhone I have this app installed https://apple.com/gb/app/outdoors-great-britain - there are other good tools out there like https://www.alltrails.com - whatever map you choose to install on your phone - male sure you can download Ordanance Survey Maps to your phone so they work when you will likely have no internet connection out in the wild. I should add here that you should also take paper maps with you and be able to use a compass - as what will you do if your phone battery dies or you lose or damage your phone!  



A good phone app with GPS maps downloaded to the phone to work without internet connection is very helpful in navigating a walking route - I highly recommend https://apple.com/gb/app/outdoors-great-britain - remember though always take paper maps & compass incase the phone fails you!




Weather forecast 


Once you know where you will walk, roughly how long it will take and what day/time it will be - check the weather forecast! This will inform what clothing to wear and food/drink to take on your walk! Other than the obvious weather websites - you should check more detailed forecast for the regions you are visiting, especially if you are hiking up mountains as the weather on summits or in isolated valleys is quite different to the weather elsewhere and can change in an instant even if you think it looks pleasant when you set off on a walk. In the UK I like to use www.mwis.org.uk to get a good understanding of the weather in the area I will walk. 


walking essential checklist what to take equipment
My walking gear essential checklist




Essentials to take on your walk


Below are some tips of essential items to take on your walk. Where possible I have linked to some products that I use. I'm not sponsored by any brand so my advice is impartial but if you happen to buy any of the products via the links I'll get a few pence per purchase - but if you have the option of buying your gear from local independent walking retailers then please support them.



Walking footwear

I have 2 types of footwear - walking boots and walking shoes. If I’m hiking in rough or wet terrain or steep paths I’ll wear my walking boots for ankle support. If I’m walking on easier going, drier paths I’ll wear my walking shoes. 

For boots - I prefer leather ones that are fully, waterproof, comfortable and easily cleaned and I'm using the Berghaus Men's Supalite II Gore-Tex Waterproof Hiking Boots - I don't mind spending money on a good pair of walking boots as they are a good investment and make my walking much more comfortable, and will last ages if well looked after. 

For walking shoes that are lighter to wear in favourable conditions I'm currently using Merrell Men's Intercept Low Rise Hiking Shoes

Be sure to wear walking socks also to keep your feet comfortable, dry and keep the blisters away! Avoid cotton ones, go for breathable - Merino Wool socks are ideal!


A good waterproof jacket is a key part of my kit and the Berghaus Deluge Men's Outdoor Jacket has served me very well and lasted years - a good investment! It's always in my rucksack as you never know in the UK when that rain will come :-)

Clothing

What to wear and take with you all depends on where you are walking and the weather forecast. I prefer walking in just shorts and a t-shirt (I seem to get hot quick and don't mind teh cold so much) - but obviously it depends on the weather - here is a list of what will cover you in all conditions - just select what to wear based on the forecast and take some other items in your ruck sack!

  • Walking t-shirts & breathable base-layers (avoid cotton ones and go for technical materials that dry easily!
  • Walking shorts - if like me you prefer wearing shorts - get some with plenty of useful deep pockets
  • Walking trousers - you may prefer to wear trousers that will keep your legs warmer - go for those made of technical fabrics that will dry quick and allow for good range of movement
  • Waterproof Jacket - this is a must, especially in the UK! I always take with me my fully waterproof  Berghaus Deluge Men's Outdoor Jacket - often it's just kept in the rucksack but it has come in very handy!
  • Waterproof Over trousers - I must admit I'm t one to walk in heavy rain - but if the forecast looks like it could rain - I'll be sure to take with me some decent waterproof over-trousers in my rucksack such as the Mountain Warehouse Downpour Waterproof Overtrousers - I like over trousers as I can then take them off when it becomes drier!
  • Warm Coat / Down Jacket - for colder conditions I like to take a lightweight Down jacket, such as the Rab Microlight Alpine 
  • Insulating mid-layers - again depending on the temperatures- you may want to wear, or pack in your rucksack, extra layers such as fleeces or soft shell jackets.
  • Remember its always better to take too many clothes than too few. If you reach the summit of a mountain after getting a sweat on and then sit down and get cold with no layers to put on - it can really spoil an otherwise great moment!


Malham Cove view via Gordale Scar Walk and Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Whether your only carrying your own stuff, or for others too, a good rucksack is another great investment 

Rucksack / Daypack 

Make sure it’s the right size for your needs - what do you need to take? This is usually determined by walk distance (how much food & water do you need to take with you to cover you [and others?] for the amount of time you will be out), what is the weather forecast (is it likely to get wet or colder [if you are hiking summits] and are you going to need to take waterproofs or extra layers? 

I like to walk as light as possible (and I find a bigger bag means you just pack more stuff that is perhaps not necessary) - so in the months when it's likely to be mild and dry, on day trips I’ll just use something fairly small of the 30L capacity. I'm not too concerned with paying lots of money for a daypack and like value for money - so something like the Trespass Albus Backpack suits my needs. I prefer something with compartments for different items (and to separate out food from kit) and also prefer the side pockets to but my water bottles in for easy access.


You will also want to choose your rucksack to accommodate the things you will need to take, such as: 

Food

I like to take easily-made standard sort of stuff like sandwiches/wraps (in a reusable plastic container to stop them getting squashed(; cereal bars & flap jacks with high energy content; fruit such as bananas or dried fruit for another energy boost; crisps - I’m a big crisp fan ha - but basically take anything which you a) enjoy and so will make your walk more enjoyable! b) won’t perish easily c) has high energy content d) is fairly easy to eat with not much mess and rubbish to carry home with you! 

Drink

Take plenty of water as you don’t want to get dehydrated- a general rule of thumb in moderate conditions is half a litre per hour! 

Flask - it's a nice little treat to drink something hot or cool on your walk when far away from any shop or cafe. I’ll usually take flask containing coffee for a little caffeine boost. If it's really cold I may put soup in it - or if really hot I’ll take some chilled drink with ice-cubes in. Whatever you take it’s a nice treat on the hike and I used to look on in envy at those who where drinking something hot on top of a cold mountain summit! Something like the 1 Litre Thermos Light and Compact Flask will do just the trick and keep drinks at a certain temperature for up to 24 hours!


Other stuff to take in your rucksack: 


Maps & compass 


As I've said - Phone Apps are a good tool but they can fail you! So take paper maps and a compass and no how to use them. This is what an OS map looks like (click here) and you can pick them up for about £8!

Clothing 

You will want to include in your rucksack extra items to cover you incase the weather gets colder (the higher you get) or wetter. I always pack in my rucksack my fully waterproof  Berghaus Deluge Men's Outdoor Jacket as it's light and doesn't take up much room - and will keep me dry in any unexpected showers and adds an extra layer if it gets a bit chillier. Its also worth taking an extra mid layer such as a fleece top in your rucksack.

Headwear

It's a good idea to pack a hat - to either keep the sun off you in this long days out in the sun (cap) or keep your head warm (beanie) 


Gloves

If it’s in the colder months some nice gloves will come in handy 

Sit Mat

These don't cost much - but come in very handy when the floor can be a little damp or rough - and for only a few quid is one of the most useful things in my rucksack - it's made many a sit down more comfortable and prevented a some wet trousers! It also folds down very small to pack away. The photo below of the sit mat is the sort of thing I mean (Click here to find out more) 



Mobile Phone 

You will want to take your phone, and may even be using a GPS Map on it for your route. Make sure it is fully charged and it might be an idea to take a phone battery pack too just in case you run out of charge - such as this Anker Power Bank which you can pick up for about £14 - very handy! 


Camera

You will want to take some photos on your walk, and unless you are just using your phone, you might like to take something a little bit better to capture those moments. I'm currently using the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera Camera, a high-end compact camera that is easy to whip out the pocket, and it's also got a relatively wide-angle lens compared to usual compacts so it allows you to fit more of the scene in your image - most landscape photographers use a wide angle lens and this is why their photos look so good!


Watch

You will have the time on your phone - but it’s good to keep track of time another way (sunset times etc) - and you might even prefer to use a step counter to see how far you've actually walked


Torch

I always have one in my Rucksack - you never know, your walk could take longer than you think or worst case scenario you may get injured on a walk and end up in the dark! I use the little beauty - the Night Commander Flashlight Pro280, iProtec

First Aid kit & Emergency whistle  

Again - you never know - and plan for the worst! Fortunately I've never had to use mine (so far)!



Blea Tarn, Langdale Pikes, Autumn, Ambleside, Windermere, Langdale Chase, Hotel, Lake District, Lakes, Best Views







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