Hill Walking Kit List

Our expert guide to hill walking essentials

Hill Walking Kit List

You never know quite what you’re going to get with hill walking in the UK – sometimes it feels like we get all seasons, just in one day.
Our expert guide explains the essentials you need for a classic day in the hills:

The layering system for hill walking

A hill walkers outdoor wardrobe is made up clothing that works together to keep you warm and dry. The layering system for hill walking comprises:
  • base layer to be worn next to your skin and wick sweat away from your body
  • mid-layers keep you warm and help transmit excess body heat through to your
  • Waterproof shell is your wet weather protection. Waterproof to stop water getting in and breathable to let water out so you don't sweat up like a plastic bag.
  • walking trousers that are comfortable, wind resistant and quick drying

Hill Walking Waterproof Shell

Getting cold and wet can lead to hypothermia so a waterproof jacket and waterproof over-trousers are probably the most essential bit of walking kit. The Argonaut is a high performance 2.5 layer breathable waterpoof ideal for hill walking. Balance is our most versatile 3 layer waterproof jacket: it’s waterproof to hold off all-day mountain downpours and is highly breathable to keep you warm and dry as you generate heat when clambering up hillsides. Parallax and Nautilus waterproof over-trousers complete the all weather protection for year round hill walking in the UK.

Hill Walking Base Layers

A moisture wicking base layer like the Koulin and Vayper will stop you getting cold and clammy and traps a thin layer of insulating air next to the skin to back up your mid layer. Merino wool can be the most comfortable natural fibre base layer. Its natures technical fabric: naturally wicking, anti-microbrial and temperature regulating. Outdoor multi-activity shirts are ideal for walking, trekking, riding and general outdoors activity. Ours our treated with Polygiene, a natural anti-microbrial treatment so you dont need to wash them as often. By contrast, cotton absorbs lots of moisture and take an age to dry, meaning you can get very cold very quickly. A good wicking base layer is the foundation of the whole layering system – wicking underwear will change your life too!

Hill Walking Mid Layers

A warm mid layer traps lots of still, insulating air and holds onto the heat your body generates when you’re moving about. You’ll probably end up wearing your shell for good chunks of the day so the more breathable it is, the better. Microfleece like Kelpie partner perfectly with a baselayer and shell as they transfer vapour seemlessly. Fleece tops like the Yakutian have a dense-knit outer face which also gives you some extra wind resistance so it is comfortable worn on its own in the fells. Morphosis gives even more wind protection. Whereas Talini and Katabatic are insulated jackets to keep you warm in colder weather.

Hill Walking Trousers and Shorts

Walking trousers, well you’d look a bit funny without them! A good pair of wind resistant and water-resistant trousers like the Ardent will keep out those blasts of bitingly cold wind. An active cut and stretchy fabric allow you to stride without restriction. Arnison are year round walking trousers for UK conditions. Teleki are lightweight walking trousers, perfect as the temperature rises and you don't want to overheat your legs.

Hill Walking Clothing Accessories

Socks, gloves, hats and sunglasses. The embodiment of the saying 'thats no thing as bad weather only bad clothing'. All hill walking essentials to keep in your pack.

Hill Walking Equipment Essentials

It seems odd to take things that you hope you’ll never use when you go out hillwalking, and especially so close to home, but carrying these items about all the time will be worth it if you ever need to use them:
  • Survival bag, for protection from the elements in emergency situations
  • Emergency whistle
  • A watch, or something else that you can use to tell the time
  • First aid kit, fully stocked with a few blister plasters thrown in
  • Spare batteries and battery pack because you'll feel a bit daft if your headtorch or devices run out

Plus a day pack as how else would you get everything up the hill? You want your rucksack to be comfortable, well-fitted, and built for purpose. Mountain and trekking packs like the Presta and the Ledge give you ample room for all your bits and bobs and back supports to help you carry stuff comfortably. It's always a good idea to pack your spare clothing and electicals into a waterproof Airlok dry bag, just in case you get a real soaking.

Walking and Trekking Poles for Hill Walking

Trekking and walking poles reduce fatigue, improve balance on uneven ground and reduce the impact on your legs, knees, ankles and feet by up to 40%. More simply, poles help you walk and run. Poles help you carry a heavy rucksack which is something every backpacker appreciates. They improve your rhythm so you can go faster. We developed the best lightweight trekking poles for support, weight, strength, comfort and ease-of-adjustment whether you are hillwalking, alpine trekking or running an ultra. For more information on using poles read our guide to How To Use Trekking Poles

Food and drink

We tend to eat like hobbits when we’re out walking. After all, when else do you get to eat breakfast, second breakfast, and elevenses?

Make sure you pack yourself a good meal and take a few extra high energy snacks too. You may not think you’ll eat it all, but you never know what delays you may face when out and about and there’s nothing worse than being hungry on the hill! (If you don’t eat it, at least you’ve got tomorrow’s lunch sorted!)

If you have the space, then taking something like the BruKit will make it easy to whip up a fresh brew or wam food!

Water: We all know the importance of staying hydrated, but it’s amazing how often we forget to take a flask of water with us when we head out for the day! Make sure that you’ve got enough water for your day out. A titanium flask helps you keep your load light.

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