Kit you should have as a beginner hillwalker
At Sprayway we believe that the outdoors should be accessible to everyone. But sometimes, when you’re not familiar with activities such as hillwalking and hiking, it can be intimidating to get started.
It’s not just about knowing where to go, and what routes to take. It’s also about knowing what to bring along with you.
And whilst there’s a lot of variety in the clothes you should bring with you based on weather and season, there’s a few essentials you should invest in which will support you through your first few walks.
Even if you’re already an active and sporty person with a reliable pair of trainers, you’re going to need something a bit more durable if you’re thinking of taking up hillwalking.
For example, you’ll need something with good grip. The best shoe you can get is one with an outsole which remains lightweight, whilst also being tough with plenty of friction.
Plus, something which is waterproof or at least resistant. The last thing you need on a walk is getting soaked in mud and water - it’s uncomfortable and can ruin your enjoyment.
Sprayway’s recommendation: One of our Hydro DRY products would be ideal, such as our Cirrus Hydro DRY shoe.
Leading on from the above, you’ll want to pair your chosen shoes with an insulated, comfy pair of socks. You’ve got a couple of choices with this, and it mostly depends on personal preference.
You could go for a thinner, more lightweight pair of socks which are breathable to keep your feet cool. Or, if you’re worried about them not being warm enough, grab a thick pair of woolly socks to keep yourself comfortable out on the trail.
Sprayway’s recommendation: Midweight Morino Comfort Socks from Bridgedale. These offer all the comfort a beginner hillwalker needs, whilst also being breathable and high performance.
A weatherproof jacket
If we had to give just one piece of advice to beginner hillwalkers, it would be to make sure you have a reliable jacket ready to protect you on your walk.
But there’s loads of different types of jackets, from shells to raincoats, which are all suited for different weather and scenarios. And, if you’re just starting out, you might not want to buy a new jacket for every occasion.
That’s why we’d recommend a weatherproof jacket as your first. Weatherproof jackets are typically lightweight and breathable, but also keep you warm and protect you from harsh winds. And whilst they might not be completely waterproof, they’re still resistant - so will carry you through most showers.
Sprayway’s recommendation: Anax Hoody. It’s a versatile, durable, and affordable jacket ideal for a variety of climates and outdoor activities.
A tough pair of trousers
It goes without saying that, whether you’re journeying off the beaten path or marching up a steep hill, you need to protect your legs.
Some people make the mistake of wearing jeans, or joggers which they’d wear for other physical activities. However, the type of material and design are extremely important. Denim, for example, might protect you from scrapes and falls, but it’s also very heavyweight and doesn’t allow for much flexibility.
Similarly, regular gym joggers or tracksuit bottoms aren’t up to the job. They’re lightweight and breathable, but they’re generally not made from water resistant material and will become soaked if it starts raining.
That’s why you should go for something stretchy and flexible, but also with enough water resistance to keep you dry and warm.
Sprayway’s recommendation: Compass Pro Pants. These trousers, made with TecWEAVE technology, are perfect for a beginner looking for an all-rounder.
A water bottle
A successful hike kit isn’t just about the clothes. You also need to think about how you’re going to keep your body going for potentially hours of walking.
It might sound obvious, but hydration is essential for making sure you’re energised. But when starting out, many beginners don’t put enough thought into the practicality of the water bottle they bring.
For example, a cheap plastic bottle can easily crumble in your bag and often doesn’t contain much liquid. Consider investing in a reusable plastic or metal bottle - perhaps even one with a loop on the lid so you can hook it onto your side for easy access.
Backpack or bum bag
Depending on the weather forecast, you might need to pack some extra clothes. Or, maybe you’re going on a long hillwalk, and you need space for snacks.
Your everyday backpack might not be enough. They’re typically not designed for heavy use, nor are they water resistant - let alone waterproof.
Consider getting something made from nylon, which will allow water to bounce straight off the material and keep the contents dry. It also needs to be comfortable and padded, so it won’t chafe against your back while you’re climbing up a hill.
You could also get a bum bag for smaller essentials. It allows for ease of access and is a good alternative if you want to pack light.
Sprayway’s recommendation: Drypack from Trekmates. Made from polyamide, this bag will keep all your contents 100% dry with sturdy shoulder straps to last any adventure.
Heading out on one of your first hillwalks, with some new kit? Take a picture of yourself wherever you end up and tag us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with #Sprayway and we might share it on our social media.