A trip to the mountains, even popular mountains, means that you have to take certain kit with you if you are to be responsible & safe


Essential Kit

A one page summary of the essential clothing that you need for a safe and enjoyable day in the hills.



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Boots or 'outdoor' shoes

The terrain on hill & mountain paths, even the popular ones, is a lot different that walking down the pavement. Paths where they exist are uneven and often contain a scattering of stones or small rocks, meaning that when you stand on such, your feet will hurt in you wear normal urban footwear. A tick sole is essential. Likewise, when paths become even more rocky and uneven, the potential for twisting an ankle is increased, therefore a pair of 'hiking' boots is recommended for UK hillwalking. 

Waterproof jacket & trousers

The UK's weather can be variable and there should be no occasion when you hit the hills without a waterproof jacket. Even if rain is not forecast, mountain weather can change quickly and a breeze at low level will be at least twice as strong higher up. A jacket will keep the wind off you and prevent cooling by convection. Wet is the enemy of warm, and when you get wet and cold you can get hypothermia - which can kill. Stay warm and dry.

Base layers

These are what you wear next to your skin, and whilst a T shirt sounds like a good idea, just make sure it's not made of cotton. When you sweat, the base layer absorbs the moisture. Modern fabrics quickly release that moisture quickly, but cotton holds on to it, thus keeping a wet layer next to your skin. As water/sweat conducts heat away from your body 25 times quicker than air, you will become colder quicker when wearing a cotton T shirt, especially when you stop for lunch. Reduce your chances of getting hypothermia by wearing a non-cotton base layer.

Hat & Gloves

Always take these. Air temperature decreases by between 1° and 3°C for every 300 metres (1,000ft) of height gained, so it will be colder on top of a hill. Winds are stronger too. With cold hands you won't be able to use a map & compass properly, or phone for help if required. When hot weather is forecast, take a sun hat/baseball cap to protect from over exposure. 

Leg wear

Do not wear jeans as they take ages to dry and become less flexible when wet. Remember, wet next to your skin makes you colder quicker, increasing the chances of getting hypothermia.

Warm layer

Above your base layer you need an insulating layer, or mid-layer, which essentially keeps you warm. A fleece is the most common mid-layer and can be stored in your rucksack when not required.

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