Learn Skills What to wear and what to take when hill walking

What to wear and what to take when hill walking


Get Your Kit Together

Hill walking doesn’t require as much specialist equipment as many other outdoor activities, there’s not much gear that’s vital, and on many lowland walks in fair weather the clothing and shoes you already have may be enough to keep you comfortable, warm, dry and safe. It is important to have the appropriate equipment for the route and activity you have chosen and the weather forecasted. As a general rule, it’s much better to carry things you might not use than to not have what you need when it comes down to it. In this article we outline the basic equipment every hill walker needs:


No footwear is perfectly suited for all seasons and terrains, so start with comfortable shoes or boots with a good grip. Socks can make a big difference to the comfort of your feet on long walks too, and help prevent blisters. When choosing walking socks consider extra padding around rub points such as toes and heels, the thickness, and sweat wicking properties.


The range of temperatures experienced in one day will often be greater in the hills than in cities, so layers will help you stay comfortable throughout this variation. You’ll need something light and comfortable while you walk, something warm for when it gets colder and something waterproof in case it rains. It’s better to wear a few relatively thin layers than a single thick one, since the layers trap air between them (which is a good insulator) and allow you to adjust your temperature more easily by putting them on, or taking them off. Choose fleece, wool or sports clothing - cotton t-shirts and jeans are particularly cold when wet, so it’s best to avoid both. If you get wet, you’ll soon get cold, so decent waterproofs are vital for safety. A waterproof outer layer of jacket and trousers will help to keep you dry, and in combination with your insulating layers will prevent any dangerous reduction in body temperature. Waterproof trousers will help to keep your whole body dry. It’s easier to be able to pull them on and off while your boots are on, so make sure there are zips down the sides.


On cold days, a hat and scarf or neck gaiter will reduce the heat lost through the head and neck, and gloves will keep your hands warm. On hot sunny days, a sun hat and neckerchief will protect the head and neck from sunburn and overheating.

Food & Water

Having plenty of food and drink to power you through your day is super important and staying hydrated and well-fuelled will help you feel good throughout your walk. Make sure that you carry enough food for your day, snack regularly and bring along some emergency food like high-energy bars tucked away ‘just in case’. The amount of food and drink required will vary depending on weather conditions, distance and terrain walked. You don't need to take any ‘specialist’ food; sandwiches, snacks and fruit will work fine. When it comes to drinks bring lots of water to stay hydrated and in cold weather a hot drink in a flask is a nice addition and will help you stay toasty and warm in the hills.


A rucksack is the most convenient way to carry your equipment. There are many different sizes to choose from but when moorland walking for a single day, a 30-litre rucksack should be fine. Consider how to pack your rucksack. Regularly used items should be easily accessible in the lid pocket, side pockets, or top of the rucksack. Heavy items, such as water bottles or thermos flasks can be packed close to the back in the middle portion of the rucksack. Light items, such as fleece clothing, can be packed further away from the back of the rucksack. Distributing weight in this way will result in better stability when walking. Packing kit in a selection of drybags is the best way to prevent it getting wet, and can help you easily identify and access specific items. Carrier bags will do the job too, then you’re good to go!

Get your kit together with our handy kit list