Walking helps to keep you fit, and gets you out into some of the most beautiful countryside, but if you’re not properly prepared, a hike can result in extreme discomfort. It’s important not only to protect your feet, but to ensure that you have the right clothing and equipment to really enjoy your walk. As summer ends and we move into autumn and winter, it’s particularly important that you buy good quality waterproof boots, walking trousers and a top and sweatshirt, so you’re prepared for all eventualities.
If you are new to walking, the most important thing to get right is your waterproof boots. There’s no fun at all in wearing badly-fitting boots that let the water in. Good walking boots should support your ankles to help prevent sprains and strains, should fit comfortably when you’re wearing thick walking socks, and should be well-made and properly waterproofed. Blisters and chafing can make life miserable, and put you off walking for life, but good-fitting boots will help to make your hike enjoyable and, most importantly, comfortable.
You’ll also need to think about the rest of the clothing you need. Don’t wear jeans for long hikes – the material isn’t comfortable or breathable enough and if you get caught in the rain, they will get wet and uncomfortable very quickly. Instead, look for lightweight trousers that are designed for walking. You’ll need good top layers too – a t-shirt or shirt, a sweatshirt and a waterproof coat.
If you’re looking for a good walking sweatshirt, there are plenty available – and you don’t necessarily need to go to a specialist shop – many online and high street retailers sell great fleeces or knitwear that are perfect for giving you added protection against chilly winds on hilltops, or cool breezes along the coastline. Again, something lightweight is perfect, so that it’s not cumbersome to carry, but gives you the additional warmth you need.
Of course, the amount of equipment you need will depend on how seriously you take your walking – if you’re just following a public footpath, you’re unlikely to need maps, compass and emergency rations, but for any type of hiking, it makes sense to get those essentials absolutely right. Your waterproof boots, trousers, sweatshirt and jacket will help to ensure that you’re comfortable whatever the weather – and you can concentrate on following the routes and enjoying the scenery.