What Do I Need For Hiking?
Going hiking is a great activity for people of all ages with green open spaces, wildlife & plants and spectacular views filling your day.
When out walking you're going to experience varying terrain and weather conditions; having the appropriate hiking equipment, clothing and footwear for these variables ensures you will enjoy your hike in comfort and as safely as possible.
This Hiking Kit List will provide you with the core elements you need for any successful hiking trip. Over time you may want to add to or remove items from the list as you work out what works best for you.
One of the most important pieces of gear in this list is footwear. Making sure you have correct fitting walking boots or walking shoes, that have been tied up properly, is going to give you the support, grip and comfort needed for hiking.
There are several different types of walking boots, classified as B1, B2 & B3, that vary in stiffness, comfort and features. B1 boots are suitable for general hiking with B2 & B3 aimed at winter hiking and technical mountain climbs.
Walkings shoes are a slightly different offering than hiking boots. They are designed to be lighter, more flexible and comfortable while still delivering enough grip for spring, summer and autumn adventures across mixed terrain.
It is worth bearing in mind that you do sacrifice a higher level of support and protection wearing walking shoes over boots. 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.
For walking boots or shoes to remain comfortable during a hike, you need to complement them with a pair of high-quality walking socks. Socks that allow your feet to breathe (merino based and technical synthetics), wick away moisture and allow hot air escape ensures that your feet stay dry, comfortable and blister-free.
Merino socks have the added benefit of adapting to your conditions and minimising odours for multi-day use. Other useful features to look out for in hiking socks are a seamless toe box (minimises rubbing), padded high-wear areas (heel and toes) and elasticated arch & ankle support (better fit and comfort).
Lightweight and breathable walking trousers keep you comfortable and stop you from overheating while features such as articulated stitching, a gusseted crotch allow for a greater range of movement across technical ground.
A popular option when it comes to walking pants is convertible trousers. They provide you with the option of removing the lower half so that you are left cool and comfortable in a pair of shorts. If the weather changes you can reattach them and have the protection of a full-length trouser.
Technical t-shirts are perfect for hiking and other similar activities; keeping you dry and comfortable. The ‘smart’ fabrics’ (merino or synthetic alternatives) breathable and wicking properties pull moisture away from your body into the air, cooling your skin and stopping your tee from getting wet, becoming heavy and rubbing.
Other features such as low bulk seams (limits chaffing), gusset underarms (keeps the t-shirt in place when reaching up i.e scrambling) and elastane stretchy fabric (increases ease of movement) all add to your comfort when hiking.
Fleece jackets are highly versatile garments which tend to be made from breathable and slightly stretchy fabrics and come in an athletic fit for greater movement.
In a typical layering system you have base (technical t-shirt), mid (fleece jacket) and outer (waterproof shell) layer. Each layer traps air between them and the next keeping you warm when it’s cold and because they are all made from breathable fabrics they allow excess heat to escape, keeping you comfortable when it warm.
If you get caught in a downpour, waterproof trousers will keep you dry and warm. Large hem zips allow you to easily slip the trousers over your boots and existing pants.
You are still going to be hiking so trousers that are made from a breathable fabric are going to prevent you from overheating. Similar to walking trousers, the more articulation and elastic the easier it’s going to be to cover technical ground.
Once the rain has stopped you can easily remove the trousers and fold them down into your backpack.
It’s worth investing in a high-quality waterproof jacket that is both breathable and windproof. Not only will it keep you dry when hiking but you will be able to use it for so many other activities and day to day life.
There are various waterproof, breathable and windproof technologies which manufacturers choose to use within their jackets e.g GORE-TEX, Futurelight, Dryvent. Our Guide To Waterproof Fabrics explains the benefits of each one. For hiking your going to be looking for a blend of breathability and waterproofing, in a relatively lightweight design with a hint of durability.
Waterproof Hiking jackets are designed with features that make life a little bit easier and more comfortable when out on the trail. Napoleon pockets allow you to wear a backpack hip belt and still access the pockets, a strong peak on the hood helps with visibility in the rain and an articulated fit aids movement across technical terrain. Our Waterproof Jacket Buying Guide explains in detail all the features you can expect to find and much more, helping you find the perfect hiking jacket.
These lightweight and breathable sun hats provide you with protection from the sun, making them ideal for long summer walks. When not in use the compact design makes it easy to store in your backpack.
There are lots of different backpacks that cater for quick walks, those who want to carry children on a hike or even multi-day treks. Handy feature such as a built-in waterproof cover, internal hydration sleeve, back venting, chest and hip belts and walking pole holders are things to look out for when selecting a hiking backpack.
For a single day of hiking, a pack between 11 and 30 litres should provide you with ample space for all the spare clothing, drinks & food and any other bits you may need. If you are carrying gear for other members of your group you may need to look at getting a bigger size.
Properly adjusting your backpack to fit your body ensures that the weight of the pack is spread out and that it remains comfortable. For more information have a read of our Backpack Buying Guide or chat with one of our customer service experts via the online chat for more advice.
Walking poles provide you with extra stability and balance, take the stress off joints by dispersing your weight (especially when descending) and improving your overall hiking pace. Ergonomic handles, lightweight aluminium bodies and extendable and collapsible designs ensure that they are comfortable, specific to your height and can easily be stored away when not needed.
Essential for any hike, these two items will help you keep on track or find your way if you get lost – especially if you don’t have a phone signal or visibility is poor. Knowing how to use a map and compass correctly is just as important as having them in your pack and is a great skill for all members of your walking party to possess.
In case of emergencies, it’s important to have the tools and knowledge to administrate basic first aid. It may take Mountain Rescue some time to reach you if you or another member of your group is injured.
Suncream with a strong SPF factor & water-resistant properties will protect you from the sun (it’s important to re-apply on long walks) and insect repellent will keep the bugs away, especially over summer or when near water.
It’s important to stay hydrated when hiking as a small drop in water levels in your body can greatly affect your performance. Similarly, a warm drink not only hydrates you but can also revitalise and motivate you, leaving you ready for the next ascent.
Insulated bottles and flasks can keep your drinks cold or hot for up to 24hr while adding minimal weight to your backpack.
Take plenty of snacks that will sustain you for the entirety of the hike, energy-rich foods i.e protein bars provide you with a boost without making you feel overfull. It's also a good idea to plan little breaks where you can have a snack and drink during the hike e.g the summit or a viewpoint.
Hiking Kit List