We’re thoroughly spoiled in the UK with so many places to hike around and explore – from hilly trails to coastal paths, there is an abundance of opportunities to lose yourself in nature and explore your surroundings.
Before you set off, you should think about what kind of a trek you’re planning – think about the time you’ll be out for, the distance you want to cover, the elevation of the trek and the weather conditions. This will help you decide what you need to take.
Wherever you’re trekking, the gear that you take shouldn’t slow you down and here we’re going to run through the equipment you’ll need.
For a half-day or full-day hike you will need:
- Good quality hiking shoes
- A hiking backpack
- Clothing suited to the weather
- Sun protection – hat or cap; sunglasses; sunscreen
- Hydration system – you need to take at least 1 litre of water, more if it’s hot or you know there will be long stretches without the opportunity to refill. Water purification tablets are useful for remote areas.
- An insulated drinks bottle or flask – nothing better than a hot drink, especially when it’s cold
- Food supplies – take enough for the whole trek. Freeze-dried meals, energy bars and snacks will help you avoid hypoglycaemia and other conditions that will slow you down. An extra energy gel in your first aid kit is a good idea.
- A navigation tool for example a smartphone with maps, a map, compass, a hiking GPS, or a GPS watch
- First aid supplies: first aid kit, emergency blanket, multi-tool with a knife, headlamp, phone.
- Walking poles – these are helpful on steep terrain if you’re used to using them
- Rain cover to put over your backpack if necessary – particularly here in the UK!
For a multi-day trek you’ll also need:
- Tent, sleeping bag or camping mat
- Camping stove, camping pots and pans and cutlery
- Freeze-dried meals
- Extra clothing layers
- Microfibre travel towel
This might seem like a long list of supplies, but the key is to pack light and be prepared!
Whether you are going for a short hike or a longer, more-exposed trek, avoid going alone and share your itinerary with at least one person – taking these precautions could turn out to be very important in unexpected circumstances.
And please remember to consider the environment – take a small bag with you for your litter (and any litter you find) and take it home with you.