Ultimate Walking Essentials Kit List
Getting out for a walk may be one of the simplest forms of exercise – but that doesn’t mean you don’t need the right kit to make the most of it. Effective layering and fabrics designed for the outdoors will make sure you’re comfortable and prepared for any weather, whether it’s your local park or a woodland path. Here’s our expert kit list for taking to the trails.
Whatever the weather looks like when you head out, we all know a shower is rarely far away! Being prepared for a downpour aside, a waterproof jacket is a great layer to carry for a little extra warmth and protection against the wind, or as the final layer in your layering system in colder weather.
Read our guide to the layering system here.
Waterproof jackets should keep you dry on the outside, but also on the inside – make sure you choose a breathable waterproof, which will allow sweat vapour to escape and help to regulate your temperature. We also recommend looking for a waterproof jacket that’s lightweight and packable, as this will mean it can be easily stowed in your pack without weighing you down when you don’t need it, and isn’t a burden to carry just in case.
Check out our full waterproof buying guide here.
An absolute essential for cold days or higher-up adventures, an insulated jacket can be worn on its own or as a mid-layer underneath a waterproof shell. The two main types of insulation are down and synthetic, and the one you choose will depend on the type of weather you’re expecting. Down insulated jackets tend to be slightly warmer than synthetic jackets, however, they’re not at all water-resistant and should only be worn on their own when there’s no chance of rain. Wetted-out down loses all its insulating capability and is very difficult to dry out, meaning that in many cases, the jacket will be ruined.
Synthetic insulated jackets, on the other hand, use man-made fibres to mimic the pattern of down, and are slightly less warm than their counterparts (although, in many cases, if you’re out for a walk at ground level you won’t notice the difference). The main benefit of synthetic insulation is that they are water-resistant, meaning that if you do end up caught in a shower without a waterproof shell, your jacket won’t be ruined – although we would always recommend putting on a waterproof when the rain comes in.
Read our full insulation buying guide here.
Your mid-layer is where you’ll get your warmth from, and can be an insulated jacket as mentioned above, or a lighter option if it’s a warmer day or your activity is more strenuous. Fleeces make an excellent lightweight mid-layer, as they offer great warmth for their low weight and can even be worn with other fleeces to find that just-right temperature.
Read our mid-layer buying guide here.
The layer worn next to your skin provides an effective means of protecting your core temperature, helping to keep the surface of your skin dry and reducing friction and chafing; all of which can improve your comfort, enjoyment and performance. A soft merino t-shirt or moisture-wicking base layer will keep you cool and comfortable on your walks.
Read our base layer buying guide here.
Jeans are an absolute no when it comes to walking – denim is a comparatively stiff material, and will completely soak through if you get caught in a shower. Walking trousers, trekking tights or shorts offer ultimate comfort whilst walking in the outdoors, as they are usually made from a water-resistant stretch fabric which adapts to your body as you move. You can also buy trousers which zip off into shorts for use in variable weather conditions. Trust us – you’ll notice the difference right away.
Arguably the most important piece of kit in a walker’s wardrobe, the right footwear can make or break even the shortest venture into the outdoors. Walking footwear comes in a variety of types to suit your activity and the weather, all of which will be equipped with technical features to enhance your comfort and prevent fatigue and injury.
When choosing walking boots or approach shoes, look out for a waterproof and breathable material or membrane like GORE-TEX, or a brand’s own version. This membrane is crucial for keeping your feet dry, both from puddles or rivers on the outside and sweat on the inside, preventing the dreaded wet socks and greatly reducing your risk of blisters.
Read our tips for choosing the right walking boots here.
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