As an equipment and clothing retailer we test 100’s of products every year to make sure our customers are using the best equipment to keep them, dry, warm and safe during all their outdoor escapades. So we have put together an affordable walking equipment check list of the most reliable and comfortable products you can buy today.
If you are looking for a quick downloadable check list then click on the image below:
There are a number of things to consider when putting your kit together. So we delve into the dos and don’ts of packing your kit.
Keep the Weight Down
Preparation is key in all outdoor activities, but when you are walking or hiking what you carry with you can quickly become the main burden of the walk and what seems light at the start, could feel like you are carrying a mountain by the end of a long walk. Unnecessary weight can often put stress on areas such as your back and neck, so it is important to not only use the proper equipment for carrying, but also be creative with what you need with you. Consider things like:
The length of the Hike
The Material of the Equipment
How many meals you need
Obviously the weight of your pack will increase, the longer your trek. A good way to vary the weight you are carrying is by using a back pack that is appropriate in size to the length of the trip.
What litre size of rucksack should I take?
Below is a quick guide to the length of the trip and size of the pack:
|Length of Trip||Pack Size||Enough to carry…|
|1 Day||12 to 35 Litres||the essentials but not break your back|
|1 Night||30 to 35 Litres||a tent and sleeping bag|
|2 Nights||40 to 50 Litres||all the above + changes of clothes and additional food|
|3 Nights||50 to 65 Litres||the above + room for a few home comforts|
|World Trip||60 to 65 Litres||7 of everything you need and some laundry detergent|
Keep the Rain Out!
We have seen some ingenious solutions for protection to the weather in all our years of supplying gear, but there is a lot to be said by keeping a couple of Bin Bags with you as a last resort. We delve into the Top things to use a Bin Bag for in one of our other posts, but don’t forget to take one with you just in case! If however you are looking for something a bit more weather resistant that a bin bag, try something from our regatta range, such as the Pac it range.
At only around £14.99 these weather proof macs are a lightweight alternative to help keep you dry and cool whilst walking.
Walking in the cold
With good old British weather the trick to maintaining a good temperature whilst out walking or hiking is using a number of thin layers of clothing to help. There are a number of layers you can add to normal clothing to help you stay warm or cool depending on the weather.
Base Layers – such as Long sleeve or short sleeve and leggings
Leggings (Even for men)
Base Layers are designed to be breathe-able layers of clothing that go under t-shirts and trousers to provide an extra layer of warmth. They are generally designed to fit closely to your body and act as a protective layer between your skin and the elements. Craghoppers have a fantastic range of clothing designed alongside Outdoor survival expert Bear Grylls.
This Long Sleeve Bear Grylls base layer for example uses a quick-drying polyester pique material to ensure that you stay dry and comfortable no matter the conditions.
Food and Drink
Food and drink are crucial when packing to go hiking. Carrying water bottles is a tricky balance to successfully achieve, as you need to ensure you have enough water and spare bottles, but not so much that it weighs you down and takes up too much room in your back pack. If you are planning on hiking for a few days, or if for any reason you get into a spot of trouble, you may need to find water from other sources, such as lakes or rivers, so the extra water bottles may be vital in transporting water to your camp and other party members. Trekmates have some fantastic water pouches that will take up hardly any room when empty, as they can be folded, but will hold a good amount of water when you need a drink.
Water tablets are really useful when you run out of water and need to drink some that could potentially be quite unclean. Purification tablets are easy enough to use, simply drop them into your water and wait for 30 minutes before drinking it.
Make sure to read the instructions however, as times may vary.
When it comes to food, again it depends how long you are planning on hiking for. If you are just going for the day, then a selection of energy bars are the best food you could take. These bars are small and compact and won’t take up too much room in your rucksack but they are full of nutrients and should fill you up and give you some energy when you are walking.
If you planning on going for a few nights, then you will need to take food for the evenings. The easiest thing to do here is to take cold meals with you such as sandwiches and crisps, but if you are going for more than one night, this may quickly become boring. For real meals or packs that need rehydration you will need to take some kitchen equipment with you.
The majority of people don’t particularly like the idea of eating cold food when they have spent their days walking and are now wrapped up trying to stay warm outside their tent. If you have the room in your backpack it is easy enough to take some kitchen gear with you. Here’s what you will need:
– There are tons of different stoves on the market, but we would recommend the Kampa Munch Non Stick Cook Set which includes everything you could possibly need.
– Depending on the stove you decide to go with, you may need a gas cansiter, alcohol, fuel cubes or even just some wood.
– More reliable than a box of matches, a couple of lighters should mean that you have fire for the entirety of your journey.
– When thinking about your food and stove, don’t forget that unless you want to eat like an animal you will need to take along some cutlery to eat your food with. One set should be enough as you can clean them with boiling water.
When choosing a sleeping bag, it is important to match it t the temperature of your destination as well as the time of year you are going hiking.
There are tons of different features involved in high tech sleeping bags, the main ones being hoods, collars, zips and pockets. The shape of your sleeping bag is also important. Rectangular bags are more suitable to warmer weather, but they tend to be more bulky if you are trying to keep the weight down.
Mummy shaped sleeping backs are much more efficient at keeping you warm and tend to be lighter too. The downside is they have much less space for leg movement and can feel a bit confining when you are trying to sleep. Many sleeping bags are rated with a “season” using the following guidelines:
|1||Suitable for summer use – 7 degrees and above|
|2||Suitable for camping in the UK during the summer – 0 – 7 degrees.|
|3||Suitable for use in the autumn when the ground temperature is between 0 and -5 degrees.|
|4||Designed for much colder temperatures, this sleeping bag would be suitable for temperatures of approximately -10 degrees.|
|5||Perfect for cold expeditions to the arctic – temperatures of -15 degrees.|
If you are looking for a sleeping that would mainly suit all weathers but won’t break your bank, then we recommend the Vango Wilderness 250 Sleeping Bag Atlantic.
The size of your tent will of course depend greatly on how many people you plan to have sleeping in it.
If you are planning on purchasing a brand new, high quality tent, you are likely to have it for years to come, so it is worth considering the amount of people that may accompany you on future trips. Your choice of tent may also come down to how easily it can be erected. If you are only putting it up once but sleeping in it for a few nights, then something with a lot of poles won’t be a problem.
If however, you need something quick and easy, then you could consider buying a pop-up tent – bear in mind though that they are not as sturdy as those with poles. It is a good idea to practice putting your tent up before leaving for your expedition. There is nothing worse than getting to your destination and realising you have no idea what to do next or even worse, to find out you are missing a pole or two!
If you want a medium size tent that won’t take hours to pitch, then we would recommend trying out the Vango Ark 300 Tent, as it can hold up to 3 people and uses light PowerFlex fibreglass poles so it won’t weigh too much or be too hard to pitch.
For a quick Downloadable Check List
Check out our Walking Safety Leafet, a printable PDF with an Equipment Check list and a discount for 10% off all equipment online. Download it Here.
If you are looking for further Walking and Hiking Survival tips then have a look at the rest of the guide…