For my first proper post on here, I thought I’d quickly take you through the basics of what I like to take with me when I go out walking. Obviously what you take out depends on where, when, and why you are walking, but this list will cover what I take on a typical “Sunday afternoon walk in the English countryside in the spring” (about as average as I can manage). At a later date I may write a series of posts on specific items/categories individually, but for the moment let’s just see what I take:
1) Footwear – Personally my default choice is the standard “walking boot”. There are other options such as “mountain boots” (for hardcore mountain hikers etc), and “walking shoes” for lightweight walking, but I’m quite clumsy, and so the robust and supportive walking boot is a great option (when you’re stumbling about on uneven ground). The absolute key thing about your footwear is that it needs to be comfortable.
2) Trousers – I like to use light, flexible, quick drying, trousers. As a general rule: “waterproof” = “can withstand drizzle or very brief rain showers”, not “will prevent all liquid from reaching you”, so it’s often best to go with something which will dry quickly, rather than trying to make yourself impervious to water. Generally, trousers which aren’t jeans will be fine.
3) Shirt – This is what the walking community calls a “base-layer”… everyone else calls it a shirt. Cotton isn’t a very good material for walking in, as it will absorb moisture (rain/sweat/spilled coffee) and make you cold and wet. I often use a breathable sports shirt (something polyester for instance).
4) Bag – I like to carry a “daypack” (a small rucksack which holds enough stuff for a day’s walking… surprisingly) unless I’m on multi-day walks, in which case I might want more. They can usually carry 20-35 litres, though for one day you’ll rarely need more than 20 litres. Often the bag you use for carrying stuff to school/the office is fine for this.
5) Waterproof (and windproof) jacket – I live in England… it rains… a lot. I usually use a lightweight waterproof, preferably one which will pack down into itself. Obviously most people have a waterproof already… that one will do (why buy stuff if you already have it?).
6) Fleece – This is what the walking community calls a “mid-layer”. I usually take a “micro-fleece” (a thin fleece), and if it might be particularly cold, I might take 2 micro-fleeces. This gives a bit more control over my temperature (bear in mind, when you are walking you’ll be generating heat, and it quickly gets warm, even in cold weather). There are other forms of “mid-layer”, but for most short walks, some form of sweatshirt/jumper/fleece will be fine.
7) Not pictured, but I’ll also always have a litre or two of water (depending on how far I’m going, and what the weather is doing), and some food… because snacks are tasty.
This stuff keeps me warm, weatherproof, and comfortable, pretty much from April through to October, and set me back around £60 in total, though obviously a lot of it is stuff which I just had around the place anyway. Obviously there is a lot of more expensive clothing/equipment out there, which might serve you better than this stuff (for instance nowadays I tend to use better boots, base layer, waterproof, and bag), but if you aren’t a terribly regular walker, or you’re just testing the waters of outdoor activities, this stuff (or some equivalent you have at home) will suit your needs perfectly.
So there we go, a first proper post. I hope you’ve found it vaguely useful in setting you up for a day’s walking. Please feel free to comment below with anything I might have forgotten/missed out/failed to address etc.
See you next time (when I’ll be talking about something much more ecological, don’t worry).