Heading out into exposed wilderness with changeable weather conditions makes getting your kit decisions right absolutely paramount.
1. Boots: Boots are designed with specific environments in mind, so make sure your boots suit the environment in which you will be walking. If you’re buying new boots, make sure they’re used before departure so you know they fit comfortably and invest in good walking socks that won’t wrinkle up and rub. Check the links for advice on choosing the right socks and boots.
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2. Waterproofs: If you’re in the rain for sustained periods, the first thing to accept is, however good your jacket, you are going to get wet. But a decent waterproof will make your life a lot more comfortable and keep you relatively dry, so after footwear it’s probably the next best bit of kit to invest in. Shells with no built-in insulation are the most versatile. You can layer them over insulation if needed so make sure it is big enough to go over the layers you will use underneath. For a comprehensive guide on choosing a jacket, check out the guide to waterproofs.
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Waterproof trousers are often overlooked but they will keep your feet dry by keeping your legs dry, so they’re well worth having. Three quarter length zips allow you to get them on over boots and they often don’t weigh much at all.
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3. Backpack: A comfortable pack is mostly about how it fits. Try it on in the shop and ask to load it with some weight to replicate how it will feel. Buy a pack big enough for what you do need but not so big you fill it with stuff that you don’t. By packing it well so there are no gaps, it’s amazing how much stuff you can get into a medium sized pack. See some top tips on how to pack a rucksack.
4. Sleeping Bag: Obviously, the climate and how warm you sleep as an individual makes a difference to what you choose. Some people like myself get away with a thinner bag meaning less weight and bulk in the rucksack. If it’s likely to get wet then synthetic insulation is often better than goose down. Synthetic insulation is bulkier and heavier for the same warmth, but it will remain warmer than down if it gets wet.
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5. Thermal Mat: Don’t forget to pair the sleeping bag with a thermal mat of some sort, either foam or inflatable. This will increase your warmth dramatically by stopping your body heat escaping into the ground. Check out an excellent selection of sleeping mats and pillows.