Countless numbers of people in Britain enjoy walking as a hobby or pastime. Walking gives participants the chance to see some of the most amazing natural landscapes in the country whilst also improving their own health and wellbeing. In order to enjoy walking safely, it is essential that you always have the correct equipment. Here is a brief rundown of the essential items that you will need if you want to enjoy walking in Britain .
The clothes that you wear can make a huge difference to the experience that you have whilst walking. Wear the right clothes and they will help to protect you as you walk, but wear the wrong clothes and they can actually hinder your progress.
You should choose a breathable baselayer to wear on the top half of your body. Technical materials are better than standard cotton products, because they will help to wick the sweat away from your body whilst you walk. This will help to control your body temperature and will help you to avoid irritation.
Hardwearing but quick-drying trousers are recommended for your bottom half. Avoid walking in denim jeans because they take too long to dry out and they are likely to irritate your skin once you have walked in them for a long period.
You should cover the baselayer with an insulating midlayer, which will help to keep you warm if the temperature starts to fall. Even if the weather looks sunny and the temperatures seem high, you should always travel with a midlayer, because the weather can change suddenly and temperatures are normally lower at higher altitudes. The wind can also help to lower the air temperature so a windproof layer will help to keep your body at an appropriate temperature.
Take a waterproof outer layer with you, including a jacket and waterproof trousers. These will help to keep you dry if you are caught out in a downpour. Protecting your inner layers from the rain will help to keep you warm enough and will reduce the potential irritation which can occur when walking in wet clothing.
If you are walking in Spring, Autumn or Winter you should also travel with a hat and gloves in case the temperature drops suddenly. These will help to protect your extremities from the cold. Choose gloves rather than mittens, as they will allow you to maintain your dexterity.
Choosing the right footwear is incredibly important, as the wrong footwear can cause serious damage to your feet. As well as causing blisters and blackened toenails, badly fitting walking boots can actually cause permanent problems including trapped nerves. What is more, you are more likely to fall, slip or trip if you are wearing ill-fitting footwear.
Many leading walking shops in Britain offer free fitting services to help walkers to find the most appropriate boots for their needs. These services will normally consider the foot size and width, the arch of the foot and the intended purpose of the boots. Shops normally include a mixed terrain ramp so that walkers can test out how the boots might feel in different circumstances. Walkers normally find that shops recommend a shoe size that is at least half a size larger than the buyer’s normal fashion shoe size.
Comfortable walking socks are also essential. The socks should be made of a quick-drying breathable fabric which will help to draw sweat away from the feet. It is best to avoid normal cotton socks because they tend to hold any sweat close to the feet and they are likely to encourage problems such as Athletes’ Foot. When possible, buy seamless socks because the seam can become irritating over time and may encourage blister growth.
You should carry your kit in a properly fitted daysack or rucksack. Adjustable sacks are best, so that you can adjust the straps for maximum comfort, especially if you are carrying a heavy load. Always pack your sack so that the heavier items are at the bottom. This will help you to avoid the heavier items crushing the items which are more delicate.
You should always take a mobile phone with you, even if you are expecting to be out of signal range. This will help you to summon assistance as quickly as possible if needed. However, you should not rely on your phone (or any other device) for a GPS reading.
Walkers are also advised to travel with a light first aid kit in case there are any minor injuries, including cuts, bruises, grazes and sprains. The content of the kit can help you to prevent minor injuries from becoming more serious.
You should also carry a torch with you whenever you set off in a rural location, even if you expect to be back before dark. A torch will offer extra light if you are caught out unexpectedly in darkening conditions.