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Whether you’re escaping to a National Park for a weekend of hillwalking and camping or going for a day’s rambling in the countryside, you’ll need more than a map and compass to comfortably and safely enjoy Britain’s remote and rugged landscapes. Rory McCrea from Snow+Rock Covent Garden lists the essential kit you should have in your pack before heading for the hills.

Essential Gear


A pair of light- or medium-weight boots with soft to medium flexible soles are a good choice. If you’re reasonably experienced and fit, you could use walking or trail running shoes, although your feet might get wet. Note – not all walking shoes have tread suitable for UK mountains, like Five Tens.


If you’re scrambling, something with a stiffer sole is recommended. A less flexible sole will also provide more stability and support, particularly when you’re tired. Check out our blog on how to find the perfect walking boots.


Medium-weight hiking socks will do. Check out our blog on the benefits of technical walking socks. Take more pairs for multi-day walks.


Base layers are worth having for longer walks. By moving the sweat away from your skin, they will keep you comfortable on the move.


For day-long walks, a fleece will help keep you comfortable in cooler weather by moving sweat away from your skin and adding a bit of comfort.


For more than the occasional day walk it’s worth investing in a breathable, durable jacket with an adjustable hood and plenty of storage.


Also pack waterproof trousers in case the weather doesn’t fit in with your plans. Versions with thigh-high leg zips are much easier to get on and off over boots.


A great alternative to a fleece. These give you some insulation by acting as a windbreaker, while different options have different levels of water resistance. 


Softshells are generally more breathable than waterproofs. If it rains heavily, it can still be worn under a waterproof.

20-35L should be fine for a day’s walking, while 40-60L would be better for multi-day walks. Size depends on whether you’re camping and how good you are at packing light.


Most backpacks are water resistant, not waterproof. Dry bags can save cameras, electronics and insulation for the damp.


A water bladder and a 1L water bottle should suffice for a day. 


Carry a Buff or beanie and one light pair of gloves or power stretch fleece. You should also pack an emergency whistle, first aid kit and thermal bag (the larger bothy bags can be used as shelter for lunch as well as for a dry place to read your map).


Even if you’re not camping overnight, a head torch is essential in case you find yourself walking back in fading sunlight.

Non Essentials (But Nice To Pack):


Even in the summer, it’s nice to have extra insulation when you stop for tea or lunch. It’s also useful just in case you end up spending an unplanned night out. If you’re camping (below), this is, of course, an essential.


Poles help you on steep, muddy slopes and reduce the risk of twisting an ankle. In the long-term, they minimise the impact on knee joints.


Not essential, but it does make navigation easier. It’s still essential to carry map and compass and, of course, know how to use them!

Camping Gear

A fairly lightweight two-man tent from our trekking or weekend ranges would do the job. If you plan to do a lot of camping trips, it’s worth going as lightweight as you can afford.

Theoretically anything around 0°C to -5°C should be fine for late spring, summer and early autumn. If you feel the cold easily, choose a bag with a slightly warmer limit or comfort rating. Synthetic bags are great value but are heavier than down bags. You can always help add warmth and comfort with a sleeping bag liner.



You can choose from simple foam mats to the more comfortable inflatable ones. We recommend one of our lightweight inflatable models.


Gas canister stoves are generally simple and require very little maintenance, unlike liquid fuel stoves. We recommend the ‘remote canister’ models which have a hose running from the canister to the stove (these are more stable and easier to protect from the wind).

If you’re relying on freeze dried meals or food that is easy to prepare, then it’s worth considering a compact, all-in-one stove. If you’re trekking abroad, liquid fuel stoves are a better option as gas can be difficult to buy in some countries and regions.


There is always a chance of finding a dead animal in your water source, so either chlorine dioxide tablets is a good 


Our selection of cookware will provide options for all, whether you prefer to keep things simple and light with just a pot and spork or like a larger set.


You’ll also need something to drink out of. An insulated mug with a lid is ideal for camping. For the caffeine dependant, a coffee press is a good option. A knife is also useful tool for food preparation.


Our freeze dried meals (including breakfasts and desserts) only require boiling water and can be eaten from the pouches. We also have a selection of boil in the bag meals.

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