Beginner’s Guide to Walking

Ultimate Outdoors6 min readBuyers Guides

Types of walking

  • Lowland Walking & Rambling - Peaceful leafy parks, local beauty spots or your nearest national park are all great place to exercise and unwind after a hectic week. A few hours meandering on sheltered terrain can provide great fun and relaxation for you or the whole family. With a few carefully selected pieces of kit exploring lowland areas can be equally rewarding come rain or shine.
  • Hill & Mountain Walking - Lose yourself in the remote wild places of our beautiful isle. With something for everyone our national parks have everything from dramatic valleys with lively rivers and tranquil lakes to lonely summits with stunning views. Exercise your body and mind by pitting yourself and your equipment against the elements in a challenge that will leave you invigorate and refreshed.
  • Multi-day Walking & Trekking - Take a truly wild journey that is only limited by your imagination. Escape your day to day life entirely by not only walking through our wonderful natural landscapes but by spending your nights in them as well. Tailor your adventure to your level of fitness by carefully choosing where to stay. For those seeking relaxation choose a light backpack and check-in to homely B&Bs in sleepy villages. If a challenge is more your thing shoulder a trekking pack with everything needed for a night ‘under canvas’ and seek out solitary campsites in high places.
  • Winter Walking - Breathtaking and unfrequented, with a blanket of snow our mountains become another world entirely. Crunching softly across a sparkling winter landscape you will have to be reminding you are still in Britain and not some far-flung mountain range. With short winter days and changeable conditions the ultimate walking adventure requires carefully selected equipment and experienced company.

How to try it

DIY – With a couple of key pieces of kit and a little common sense lowland walks and rambles are within everyone’s reach. Hill/mountain walking and multi-day walking/trekking are a natural progression from local walks. With a graduated approach and a little help from external sources these activates can be mastered by anyone with a love of the outdoors. A wealth of information is available from sources such as books/literature, clubs/associations and guides/instructors.

Commonly practiced in remote and challenging conditions winter walking is strictly for those in experienced company. Find knowledgeable and capable people to guide you into the winter hills from one of the following sources, clubs/associations and guides/instructors.

Clubs & Associations – Meet like minded people and learn about the outdoors with experienced guidance. Try one of the following and get out ‘on the hill’ this weekend.

Guiding and Instruction – Enjoy walking in the great outdoors with the peace of mind that can only be provided by a professional and experienced instructor.

Walking Kit Lists

The following lists are guides to the main pieces of equipment required to start enjoying the different types of walking. Please note this list doesn’t cover consumables, personal effects or personal clothing.

1. Lowland Walking/Rambling 2. Hill/Mountain Walking 3. Winter Walking 4. Multi-day Walking
Waterproof Jacket Waterproof Over-Trousers Ice Axe Tent
Suitable Footwear Compass Crampons Sleeping Bag
Day Bag First-aid Kit Insulated Jacket Sleeping Mat
Water Bottle Whistle Gaiters Stove & Lighter(s)
Map & Map Case Survival Bag Goggles Pan-set
Torch Hat, Gloves & Spare Socks Neckwear or Balaclava Eating Cooking & Drinking Utensils
Spare Warm Layer Walking Pole(s) Spare Hat & Gloves Water Purification

Nutshell Buying guides

Waterproof Jackets

General Purpose Walking Jackets
Key Features;

  • Fully taped seams
  • Storm flaps (on pockets and main closure)
  • Hood (roll-away or removable)

Hill/Mountain Walking Jackets
Key Features in addition to those of General Purpose walking jackets;

  • Hood with stiffened peak
  • Hood with side and volume adjustment
  • Double storm flaps (on main closure)

Footwear

Approach Shoes – Ultra lightweight and comfortable footwear for those walking on easy terrain and in good weather conditions.
Key Features;

  • Water repellant or waterproof uppers
  • Stiffer soles than a normal shoe
  • Deeper tread than a normal shoe designed to give good grip on surfaced paths and tracks

Lite Hiking/Rambling Boots – Lightweight and supportive walking boots for use on moderate terrain and in all weather conditions apart from heavy or compact snow.
Key Features;

  • High cuff for ankle support and to keep out water and dirt
  • Tough waterproof uppers
  • Moderately stiff soles for extra grip, protection and support
  • Deep tread designed to give good grip on all paths and tracks

Hill Walking/Trekking Boots – Robust and supportive walking boots suitable for all terrain and weather conditions. Stiffer footwear from this category is also suitable for Winter Walking.
Key Features;

  • High and stiff cuff for ankle support and to keep out water and dirt
  • Highly durable and waterproof uppers
  • Rubber rand to protect uppers from rocks and abrasion
  • Stiff midsoles provide supreme grip, protection and support on all walking terrain
  • Deep aggressive tread designed to give traction when on or off paths

Backpacks

Day Bags – Lightweight and compact rucksacks designed to carry everything required for a day out in the wilds.
Useful Additional Features;

  • Walking pole attachment
  • Stow-away rain cover
  • Air flow back system – reduces perspiration in hot weather

Trekking Packs – Large, robust and comfortable backpacks designed to carry your daytime kit as well as all the equipment required for staying out overnight.
Key Features;

  • Large supportive hip belt
  • Adjustable length back system – to give a good fit regardless of your height
  • Base or front opening – enables fast, easy access to equipment at the bottom for your backpack
  • Wand pockets – allows easy and secure attachment of longer pieces of equipment like walking poles or tent poles
  • Side compression straps – help to stabilize and compress your load regardless of how full your backpack is

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