If you’re new to walking or hiking, you’re probably wondering what gear to buy. With so many options out there, it can be hard to decide what to go for. We speak to some leading outdoor experts to find out the items they couldn’t do without.


Kerri AndrewsKerri Andrews, Editor of ‘Way Makers: An Anthology of Women’s Writing about Walking’ and Author of ‘Wanderers: A History of Women Walking’

I can’t do without my Montane Grand Tour 55 Rucksack. I’ve had it ten years and it’s been a literal lifesaver. On the first walk I did with it I tripped over my own feet on the South West Coast Path. I ended up doing a somersault off the path and over the cliff. Luckily (sort of) I landed in a huge patch of gorse and bramble which stopped my fall, but I wrenched my knee and was upside down with my head pointing to the sea. My walking companion managed to lift me to safety by the chest strap of my backpack, proving it’s a strong bag! And it has plenty of room for everything I might need, whether on a walk in the local hills near Peebles or a big Munro day in the Highlands. That backpack has gone pretty much everywhere with me.


Helena Sansum
Credit: Nadir Khan/Helly Hansen

Helena Sansum, a Member of North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team, part of Mountain Rescue England and Wales

I don’t go anywhere without a storm shelter – it’s proved invaluable on several occasions. During a Scottish winter it protected an unwell friend on the hills. Another time it provided shelter when the team was working in a nighttime blizzard with thigh-deep snow. A shelter is such a simple thing and much appreciated by Mountain Rescue casualties too – they often complain more about the cold than the pain of a broken ankle! The shelter in my sack is a Summit Bothy Supalite from Summit Gear. It’s light and compact to carry.



Dalton MooreDalton Moore, Senior Instructor at Scout Adventures Lochgoilhead

A good layering system is essential for walking and hiking. The Arc’teryx Psiphon Jacket is a key part of my kit due to its incredible versatility. Breathable and windproof, either on its own
in summer or underneath a GORE-TEX in winter, it’s always on. I’ve used mine for the past seven years, so unfortunately that model is no longer available, but the current equivalent is the Arc’teryx Gamma Hybrid Hoody. I’d recommend keeping an eye on discount websites (like Sport Pursuit) as good deals on items like this crop up from time to time.



Sam KnightSam Knight, Young Adult Development Project Officer, Ramblers Scotland, and Leader of the organisation’s Out There Award

It’s not the most glamorous bit of walking kit, but I never leave behind my tick remover card. In fact, I now feel like my rucksack is missing something without it! With ticks sadly on the rise in Britain, it’s so important to be aware of them and how to reduce the risks. It’s essential to carry a tool to efficiently remove them if they latch on to you, your friends or pets. I always do a tick check after walks and often during days out too. Different tools are available, including cards and tweezers, usually costing less than £5.



Cameron HARVEY MapsCameron Bowskill, Cartographer at HARVEY Maps

On all but the warmest of summer days, I take two sets of gloves: thin liners and a heavy-duty pair. Liner gloves are great for fending off a cool breeze, while maintaining dexterity and not overheating. Then, when the heavens open or the snow sets in, I put my Rab Pivot Gloves on over the liners. They’ve kept my hands toasty warm on many occasions, even on snowy days in the Cairngorms.



Fi DerbyFi Derby, Ordnance Survey Champion and Outdoor Writer

When I head outdoors for an adventure, I take a paper map of the area I’m exploring. I also find the area on the OS Maps app and download it to my phone. Ordnance Survey’s 1:25,000 scale Explorer maps give exactly the right amount of detail to keep my explorer instincts happy. If I see something interesting on the ground, I check it out on the map to find out what it is. If I spot something interesting on the map, I make a point of including it in my route. I’m keen on adventures by train, which makes having detailed information about public rights of way super useful, as I’m often finding new routes.



Hannah EngelkampHannah Engelkamp, Culture, Imagination, and Stories Lead, Slow Ways

Loads and loads of food! I kind of pride myself on being flexible about my kit otherwise. I’ve always used paper maps, but I’ve recently become OK with navigating by app. None of my waterproof coats are very waterproof anymore, and on my last walk I took a bin bag in case I needed it as an extra cape. I’ve had some great walks in poor footwear. I feel like joy and serendipity often come from being forced to be resourceful. But food is always in there, and lots of it. Everything tastes better in fresh air and with a view.



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