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Thread: Starting out kit?

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Starting out kit?

    Newbie here looking for advice.

    Currently we walk about 5miles 3-5 per week on mostly pavements and want to do more scenic routes with the wife and our two youngest who are 7&10 so for the next few years the walks will be fairly easy.

    My list so far is.

    Dry wicking base layer and t shirt.
    Fleece/3 in 1 jacket.
    Walking trousers
    Walking shoes
    Hiking socks
    Hat, scarves and gloves
    Packable waterproofs

    Rucksacks
    Maps, compass
    First aid kit
    Flashlight
    Pocket knife
    Toilet roll

    Is there anything I need to add to list other than water and foodstuff, some recommendations for for good reliable kit that won't break the bank would also be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thebigeasy View Post
    Newbie here looking for advice.

    Currently we walk about 5miles 3-5 per week on mostly pavements and want to do more scenic routes with the wife and our two youngest who are 7&10 so for the next few years the walks will be fairly easy.
    First thing is that easy walks don't really require any special kit, just as long as your shoes are comfortable and you've enough to keep warm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thebigeasy View Post
    My list so far is.

    Dry wicking base layer and t shirt.
    Fleece/3 in 1 jacket.
    Walking trousers
    Walking shoes
    Hiking socks
    Hat, scarves and gloves
    Packable waterproofs
    A "technical base layer" is a good thing, but unless what you're already wearing isn't cutting the mustard it's not something you need to worry about too much. The next time Lidl or Aldi have a walking special you'll be able to get perfectly acceptable ones for a few pounds, but a lot of people walk plenty of distances in cotton T-shirts and it's not actually a problem.
    3-in-1 Jackets are no better than pulling a waterproof over a fleece. Zipping them together is generally a bit of a faff and doesn't actually help except they're easier to put on/take off together, but really they're a bit pointless unless the combined cost of a fleece and a waterproof is more.
    "Walking trousers" are generally worse for walking in than tracky bottoms: heavier, slower drying and encumbered with loads of pockets you don't need and make them dry out more slowly. A pal of mine did all his Munros (many in winter) in a pair of perfectly normal day-to-day trousers. Jeans aren't great (slow to dry, chafe and very cold when wet) but otherwise the need for special trousers to walk a few miles is greatly over-rated.
    Walking shoes is anything you're comfortable in and has a decent outsole. Trainers often very good for the job. Note that wet feet can often be cold feet, but if you're not going far in the wet then keeping moving is usually enough to keep warm. Wellies, as long as they fit okay and have decent soles, are perfectly good for walking in the wet. Farmers and gamekeepers etc. walk a lot of miles in them.
    Good socks are a good buy, as they'll affect comfort on every step, but you don't need to spend a fortune. Again, Aldi/Lidl ones are good value, you don't need top of the range Smartwool.
    Hat, scarves, gloves, certainly, but there's nothing wrong with everyday ones you've probably got already.
    Packable waterproofs, definitely, and fairly cheap ones now (Lidl/Aldi, Mountain Warehouse etc.) are much better than high end stuff of 30 years ago that people were topping out Everest in. The trick is you only wear them when it's raining, which isn't actually that much (even if it seems different some times).

    Quote Originally Posted by Thebigeasy View Post
    Rucksacks
    Maps, compass
    First aid kit
    Flashlight
    Pocket knife
    Toilet roll

    Is there anything I need to add to list other than water and foodstuff, some recommendations for for good reliable kit that won't break the bank would also be much appreciated.
    Rucksack is handy, but for a short dander you don't need anything special. he kids can use their school bags, perfectly acceptable daysacks are available for less than £20 from the likes of Sports Direct, Mountain Warehouse.
    Maps and compass depends where you're going: I can cover much of the local area with no need of one, because I know it. And if it's off the beaten track you'll need to know how to use them.
    First aid kit only needs a small bag and a quick raid of the local chemist to put in stuff you might want: plasters, antiseptic, anti-histamine, painkillers etc. Saving lives is about techniques and procedures, not about Stuff. Anything you carry will be generally about comfort management.
    Flashlight, if you've got a smartphone you've got a light. Better is a head-torch with LED light source as they're tough, light and last for ages. Cheap ones available for a few pounds from all sorts of places.
    Pocket knife... what for? By all means do (I often put in a Swiss Army Knife but truth be told it's rarely needed), but you don't need it.

    Water, re-use a plastic pop bottle or two.

    What I'm trying to get across is going for a simple walk isn't anything that needs special kit. Walk in full winter conditions up rocky mountains and that's a different game, but the people you see walking around country parks dressed for K2 are not actually needing that!

    Pete.

  3. #3
    ‹bermensch Jim Parkin's Avatar
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    Yes to everything Peter has said.

    Walking isn't difficult or magic, and Aldi and Decathlon for example do kit that's sometimes silly prices (for example a few months ago, I ended up with an Aldi cycling softshell after wandering in for 4-pints of milk and came out with both and change for £8 - it's pretty good for my commute).

    I often wear polycotton trousers (which are windproof) over cheap decathlon running tights.

    If you do go somewhere where getting lost would be a problem, then you need to be able to read the map in the rain or fog, so a waterproof mapcase is a good idea. As is getting experience of reading a map and fitting the contours to the landscape in good conditions. ]

    Practice when it's nice and have fun, and then as you get experience, you can see what works for you and get the confidence to try more challenging walks. You can then think of spending money on kit because it's nice and improves your enjoyment, not because it's vital - obviously if you're intending to walk into the Cairngorm plateau in mid winter wearing tracksuit bottoms and a pac-a-mac, then that's a different question, but say walking around a loch in the summer, that would generally be fine.

  4. #4
    Widdler
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    Firstly thanks for the replies. I know I said easy walks maybe I should be a bit more clearer we will be looking to get well of the beaten track for up to 5-6 hours at a time at the kids ages we won't be tackling any Munro's as such at the moment but would like to do walks that are challenging none the less. I would much rather be over prepared than under prepared as my wife and kids are everything to me so want to cover all bases. Will definitely keep an eye Aldi and Lidl as I agree that some of the stuff is good quality at good prices.

  5. #5
    Initiate
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    Decathlon and Uniqlo do good stuff at great prices. Many items are used by some of us with loads of experience. No need to spend £££ unless you're concerned with how you look on the high street....

  6. #6
    Widdler
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    Quote Originally Posted by redscotti View Post
    Decathlon and Uniqlo do good stuff at great prices. Many items are used by some of us with loads of experience. No need to spend £££ unless you're concerned with how you look on the high street....
    Never been concerned about looks, always about practicality, the wife on the other hand.

  7. #7
    Mini Goon
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    Quote Originally Posted by redscotti View Post
    No need to spend £££ unless you're concerned with how you look on the high street....
    Got some Decathlon gear & can say hand on heart I wear some of it everyday. However I have spent £££ on PHD down wear & it never gets worn outside of overnight mountain use. Maybe I'm not experienced enough &/or that statement is wrong.

  8. #8
    Mini Goon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Parkin View Post
    Walking isn't difficult or magic, and Aldi and Decathlon for example do kit that's sometimes silly prices (for example a few months ago, I ended up with an Aldi cycling softshell after wandering in for 4-pints of milk and came out with both and change for £8 - it's pretty good for my commute).
    Aye - Aldi's padded winter cycling winter tights have been great this winter for the commute. Look like they will last a good while of regular use & washing. Their led lights also been good. I use the rear one for the commute & & have a front & rear as backups.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Clinch View Post
    Flashlight, if you've got a smartphone you've got a light. Better is a head-torch with LED light source as they're tough, light and last for ages. Cheap ones available for a few pounds from all sorts of places.
    Good advice here. A head torch is just easier. Hands in pockets, hands free to do otherwise.

    Like Pete says, the main thing is to keep it simple and get going. Esp if you've already been going on walks--little by little you may find something you can't live without, but get the kiddos on the trail and iterate a bit while you're having fun.
    Ryan T.
    "Good things come to those who bait" GearLobo
    "My biggest fear is that after I die, my wife will sell my gear for what I told her I paid for it"

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