Buying Guides / Walking /
Upgrade your Walking Kit
The great joy of walking is that you can just get out there, under your own steam, and enjoy the great wide open space – all you need is a working pair of legs and you can give it a try! Of course, you don’t want niggling little discomforts to get in the way, especially if you’re wanting to go further and tackle more adventurous routes.
That’s what the best bits of walking gear are all about: they just quietly get on with their job and let you enjoy your walk. If you get it right, you can pretty much forget about your equipment.
So, let us walk you through the best ways to upgrade your gear so you can upgrade your walking experience.
Well Fitted Boots
A treat for your feet. There’s more to choosing boots than just getting the sizing right. There are plenty of other things to consider – even down to the best way to lace them up – and they can all make a big difference. All our branches offer free, expert boot fitting, so pop in and we’ll guide you through it all, and help you choose the pair that’s right for you.
The Joy Of Socks
Hot on the heels of the right boots come the right socks… and with the right socks, feeling too hot on your heels should be a thing of the past. Modern walking socks are made with numerous different fancy yarns and techniques: strike the right balance of padding, durability, elastication, insulation and moisture management, and your feet will be eternally grateful.
Get Into Pole Position
Let’s face it, the expression is “nimble as a mountain goat”, not “nimble as a person carrying a rucksack”. So, time for an upgrade: go from two legs to four. A pair of walking poles transforms you into a quadruped, adding loads of stability and taking the strain off your knees.
Consider Soft Shell
Soft what?! Good question, glad you asked. Basically, soft shell is super-versatile, jack-of-all-trades clothing. It’s tough, breathable and, because of the comfortable, supple fabrics that are used, it doesn’t rustle like a waterproof. It still keeps most of the weather at bay though. For really torrential rain you’ll still want a waterproof but, most of the time, this is all the jacket you’ll need.
Ditch Your Cotton, Go Technical
Well, This Advice Is Just Pants
So, this may be a delicate area, but…don’t neglect your delicate area. Base-layers are more than just a replacement for T-shirts: you can get wicking clothing to cover you from head to toe. So, when you’re walking all day – and therefore constantly moving your legs back and forth – you’ll be glad of technical pants!
Accessorise, Darling, Accessorise!
Cold fingers, chilly ears, a draught down your neck…all sure fire ways to put a bit of a dampener on an otherwise brilliant day out. So, choose yourself some good gloves, a decent hat, and a scarf or neck gaiter, and your walk is automatically upgraded from “otherwise brilliant” to “brilliant”!
A Well Fitted Bag
That’s a real weight off your shoulders. A well fitted pack actually feels lighter to carry. Sounds like magic? Well, it’s physics really, but it feels like magic. The right shaped rucksack, properly adjusted, eliminates unnecessary strain on your back, neck and shoulders. So, come and see us in store for a free pack-fitting, and join the ranks of the enlightened.
If your water bottle’s in your bag, it’s remarkably easy to not get round to drinking, but not drinking is not a good idea. A hydration system – a big bag of water in your rucksack with a hose poking out to slurp through – means you don’t have to remember to stop and drink: the hose is right there when you want it.
Don’t Be Afraid To Embrace GPS
Basic models help confirm where you are on your map, more sophisticated ones show the map on screen with you marked on it. Of course, you should always have a map and compass (and know what to do with them), but a GPS makes very light work of navigational duties, and that’s got to be a good thing!
Upgrade to breathable waterproofs. The biggest hurdle for waterproofs to overcome is…well, the fact that they’re waterproof. They keep moisture in as well as keeping it out. By moving up the range to more breathable fabrics such as Gore-Tex or eVent, you can avoid a jacket full of condensation, and stay comfortable for longer.
Jacob Thrall, Leeds Store
Jacob has been walking, climbing and travelling the world since he was a youngster, from North Yorkshire to the frozen North of Canada, from East Africa to Easter Island. Since 2002, he’s been talking and writing about kit for Cotswold: in-store, in the catalogue and on the web.