Clothing Guidance

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Clothing Guidance

It’s no fun walking when you are soaking wet and cold. There’s no need to rush about and buy loads of new gear – just make sure you check the weather forecast before each walk and only walk if you have suitable clothing.

The most important items are:

  • Waterproof, Windproof Jacket - In the UK, in colder weather, a waterproof jacket is the most important item to bring with you to protect against rain and keep you warm. A breathable material is recommended - I always use Gore-Tex which is wind and waterproof and hard wearing - and if it's good enough for the SAS it's good enough for me! Mid-thigh length is best for adequate protection.
  •  Walking Boots / Shoes - A comfortable pair of walking boots is essential. They need to offer support for your ankles when going downhill and good grip on slippery or unstable surfaces. A good fit is imperative too, blisters will cause a lot of pain and slow you down. Some people use wellington boots in wet weather - but they don’t give any support.

You should also consider:

  • Walking Trousers – these use close weave material which resists rain and dries quickly. Some people wear shorts but there is a small risk of tics when walking in the country. Tics unfortunately carry Lyme’s disease which can be life changing.
  • Waterproof Over Trousers, if rain is likely. You need to be able to put them on over your boots. (Again, Gore-Tex is best.)
  • Backpack – a small or medium rucksack is optional but can be handy for storing surplus clothing, water, snacks, etc.
  • Walking Socks - These give an extra layer of cushioning for your feet on walks or treks. You can choose from merino wool, IsoCool or anti-bacterial socks depending on the conditions.
  • Hat - Especially important in colder weather. Bobble hat or something more modern.
  • Gaiters - In wet weather, a pair of gaiters over the bottom of your trousers and boots will help you avoid getting water or dirt in the top of your boots and leave your trousers clean for lunch.
  • Gloves - If you are hiking in colder weather a pair of thermal or waterproof gloves will help you retain your body heat.
  • Sun Cream - Even if it doesn’t feel that warm when you set off, take sun cream to be on the safe side.
  • Sunglasses - On sunny days, try a pair with a head strap so you won’t lose them on the bumpiest of trails.

Where can I buy clothing? I recommend Cotswold Outdoor in Bournemouth. They have a good range and are willing to offer advice. They've always been helpful in the past when I've had to return items. Membership of Ramblers or National Trust will get you a discount. However, they will match Internet prices which may be even lower - but it must be the exact same product including size and colour.