What Do I Need For The 3 Peaks Challenge?
The 3 Peaks Challenge is a gruelling trial of grit and determination to hike the highest mountain in each of Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell Pike), and Wales (Snowdon).
If you’ve opted to take part, either for a charitable cause or for personal achievements, it should come as no surprise that having suitable clothing and equipment is imperative to your enjoyment and success.
While this kit list is aimed at tackling the challenge during summer months, you’ll likely still face variable weather conditions along the way that you need to be prepared for. It is by no means an exhaustive list and should be adapted according to your personal needs. If you want any more advice or have any questions, please feel free to drop into one of our stores for a chat or speak to one of the outdoor experts in customer service.
Your backpack doesn’t need to be any bigger than a daypack, it should be lightweight and durable as well as a comfortable fit and able to carry all of the kit you need while out on the hill.
Comfort is important for long days on the hill - support and ventilation for your back can make the world of difference to your 3 Peaks experience. It’s worth taking some time to buy the correct size pack and adjust the straps accordingly. For more information on sizing and adjustments take a look at our backpack buying guide.
In order to keep your kit dry en-route, it’s worth making use of a selection of small dry bags inside your backpack. They will keep contents protected from the rain and will help you keep your kit organised and easy to get to.
A pair of well-fitting walking boots will ensure your feet and ankles are suitably supported along the way.
Durable traction from the outsole will keep you steady on your feet over tricky terrain while the rest of the boot wraps around your feet for comfort and support which you’ll be as grateful for on the first mountain, as you will be on the third mountain.
Our Footwear Buying Guide and Hiking Footwear Finder can help you decide which boots or shoes best suit you and the type of walking you expect to do, use or you can always chat with one of our customer service experts via the online chat for more advice.
As important as your boots are, they’ll be infinitely more effective at what they do if you have the right pair of socks on with them.
Socks that can wick away excess moisture will keep your feet dry, warm & will help to prevent blisters. Socks with a high merino content will do this well and have the added bonus of minimising odours.
Other great features to look for include: a flat seam toe box which will help reduce any rubbing, cushioning in high impact areas such as underneath the heels and balls of your feet, and some elastane or support to keep the sock in position.
Your base layer should be soft next to your skin and able to wick away excess moisture quickly to keep you feeling dry. Synthetic fabrics can do this very effectively and can often be more comfortable in particularly warm conditions while lightweight merino base layers will also work well and have the added benefit of keeping odours at bay.
Taking an insulating layer with you whenever you head out to the mountains is a must. Particularly so on the 3 Peaks challenge because the weather conditions at the bottom of these mountains doesn’t always reflect the conditions at the top.
Whether you opt for a fleece or a jacket that utilises down or a synthetic alternative it’s important to make sure it has a good fit and is effective at keeping you warm.
An ideal pair of walking trousers will be lightweight and allow you to move freely over tricky terrain. The fabric should be able to wick away sweat efficiently and effectively to keep you feeling comfortable as you work up a sweat. Keep in mind you’ll want a waistband that has a low profile so it will sit comfortably underneath the waist belt of your rucksack. If you prefer to complete your walk in shorts the same applies but you should always have a long pair of trousers in your pack, even if it is just a pair of waterproof over-trousers.
A piece of kit that is worth some investment is your waterproof jacket. Make sure it is both breathable and waterproof to ensure comfort and protection from the elements. A good fit: big enough to have a layer or two underneath but not completely oversized, will work better and reduce the chance of you getting wet from the outside or by condensation on the inside.
A generously sized hood can be cinched in around your face to protect you against wind and rain while pit zips are a bonus that can be used for extra ventilation while hiking. A couple of pockets might come in handy for stashing a snack or some trail mix for you to nibble on as you walk. Our waterproof jacket buying guide will offer more in-depth advice should you need it.
Waterproof trousers are always worth carrying with you. They'll keep you dry in a downpour but also add a little extra warmth in cold, windy conditions, they also serve as a spare, long pair of trousers as a precaution when wearing shorts out on the hill. Take a look at our waterproof trousers buying guide for more information.
Even though this kit list has been designed primarily for summer challenges, you should always include a hat and gloves in your pack, maybe even a neck warmer too. They weigh very little but can make a huge difference when you need them.
Whether you decide to carry a team first aid kit or have a personal kit with you it should provide you with at least the essentials to get you off the mountain safely or at least keep the injured party comfortable until help arrives. It's important to know how to administer the kit you have with you otherwise there is no point having it; a first aid course or essentials booklet would be useful.
A couple of key items for any big walk are: quality blister plasters, make sure you know exactly how to use them whether they are for yourself or your teammates, and a survival bag that will help to keep a person warm in the event of an incident.
A torch will be required to light up the path ahead when you are walking as darkness falls, a hand torch is great but a head torch is even better. As the torch sits on your forehead, you’ll have hands-free lighting which allows you to go about your business without having to struggle with constantly pointing a torch in the direction you want to go. A headtorch that features a red filter or red-light mode will help to preserve your natural night vision more effectively than white light.
Each member of any walking party should carry a whistle for use in case of emergency. Many backpacks have one incorporated into the chest strap but if you don’t have one then it’s worth making sure you have one. As whistles are small, if you put it in the main compartment of your pack it’s likely to be difficult to find quickly when you need it. For this reason, you might consider tying it to a brightly coloured string and attaching the other end somewhere you’ll easily be able to grab it in the event you need it quickly.
Maintaining a good level of hydration throughout your challenge will keep your body functioning as it should. A lightweight, tough water bottle will keep your drink secure and minimise your pack weight. It’s worth making sure you can store at least 2 litres of water while on the move. Hydration reservoirs offer a fuss-free way of storing your water with a tube to drink out of for easy access without having to stop and reach for a bottle.
Fuelling yourself properly is a huge element of endurance. Getting the right nutrition to keep your body going for as long as you need it to can be a challenge in itself. Eating something substantial between each mountain might be enough to keep you going, while others might need to sort some trail nibbles to keep them going between those meals.
Suitably detailed maps of the routes you have planned, a compass and the knowledge of how to use both together to navigate your route successfully. A map case will protect your paper maps from the elements while your compass should be kept well away from anything magnetic.
A guide book isn’t a must but can be handy to help you prepare for such a big walking challenge. While they can’t do the walk for you, they can offer advice regarding routes, schedules, and environmental issues to take into account in the run-up to and during your challenge.
3 Peaks Challenge Kit List