Learn Gear What gear do I need to start hill walking?

What gear do I need to start hill walking?


On many lowland walks in good weather, most hill walkers won’t need much specialist clothing or equipment. As routes become longer, terrain becomes steeper and rockier and weather more challenging, more equipment is needed to keep you comfortable, warm, dry and safe. It’s important to have the appropriate equipment for the route and activity you have chosen and the weather forecasted.

In this article we’ve listed the ideal range of hill walking items, but remember, if you’re just starting out, using what you have and making sure it will help keep you safe, healthy and comfortable is the most important thing:

  • Map and compass
  • Torch
  • Rucksack
  • Food and drink
  • Emergency food
  • Mobile phone
  • First aid kit
  • Walking boots and socks (or suitable shoes for the level of walk)
  • Comfortable shorts/trousers
  • Wicking baselayer
  • Insulating midlayer
  • Fleece jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof overtrousers
  • Toilet Pack (toilet roll, spade, zip-lock bags)
  • Your choice of period products Depending on the weather:
  • Sunhat/sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat and scarf
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Warm insulated jacket

Consider these items depending on the weather and level of walk. If you are able to get your hands on some of these things easily, it might be a good idea to pack them anyway. But if you’re building up your kit slowly, prioritise the list above and work towards gaining access to the items below either by sharing with friends or family or owning your own.

  • Gaiters
  • Insect repellent
  • Spare gloves
  • Spare socks
  • Whistle
  • Bivi bag
  • Group shelter
  • Trekking poles
  • GPS device
  • Personal locator beacon

This kit list is included inthe BMC New Hill Walkers booklet.

For more advice about how to use your kit, check out our Skills articles.