Best hiking equipment and outdoor clothing
Must-have waterproofs, gloves, boots and thermals for a day in the mountains
Before embarking on any outdoor adventure, having the right clothing is essential.
At best, unsuitable equipment can turn a nice day in the hills into a miserable slog - and at worst, it could make the difference between life and death.
The Week and our resident expedition leader, Henry Haselock, pick out some of the must-have items.
Mountain Equipment Saltoro Jacket
A good waterproof jacket has got to be the most important piece of kit, protecting your body from rain, wind or snow. Getting wet is how the first stages of hypothermia can set in, even in summer. Your coat should also have good breathability, allowing sweat to escape from inside. I recommend the Mountain Equipment Saltoro jacket, which is lightweight and highly breathable.
Mountain Equipment Saltoro Jacket, £240; cotswoldoutdoor.com
North Face Venture waterproof trousers
Waterproof trousers are essential in heavy rain, especially when you're not moving - for example, when you’re pitching your tent at the end of the day. I recommend The North Face’s Venture 2 1/2 Zip Pants, which are easy to get on quickly thanks to a zip running halfway down the leg. When not needed, they can be folded up and stuffed into a small pouch pocket.
The North Face Venture 2 1/2 Zip Pants, £60; thenorthface.co.uk
Icebreaker’s Bodyfitzone 200 thermal base layer
A good base layer adds extra comfort when out in the mountains, especially if you’re working hard. The best of them will wick away moisture from your body, keeping you dry and letting you control your body temperature more effectively - unlike a cotton shirt or T-shirt, which will become waterlogged. I recommend Icebreaker’s Bodyfitzone 200 for its great wicking ability and comfort.
Icebreaker’s Bodyfitzone 200 Long Sleeve, £90; icebreaker.com
SealSkinz waterproof gloves
You should always have a pair of gloves in your backpack, especially in winter - if your hands go numb, you may not be able to carry out the simplest of tasks, such as putting on layers or taking a compass bearing. I find that SealSkinz’s waterproof all-weather gloves are a perfect all-rounder.
SealSkinz Waterproof All Weather Insulated Glove, £50; cotswoldoutdoor.co.uk
Rab Alpha Flux Jacket mid layer
A vital piece of clothing when out on the mountains, your mid layer will act as the main insulator between your base layer and your outer waterproof shell. During dry, mild conditions, you may find yourself wearing it as your outer layer most of the time. I recommend the Rab Alpha Flux Jacket, which is lightweight and easy to pack away. Due to its stretch fleece it also allows good freedom of movement.
Rab Alpha Flux Jacket, £140; rab.equipment
Scarpa Delta GTX boots
Finding the right hiking boots will come down to personal choice: which feels best will depend in part on the shape of your feet. Whichever you choose, it's essential that they have good ankle support and padding. For me, Scarpa boots fit well, and I recommend the Delta GTX for durability and waterproof qualities. These were my first proper mountain boots and they’ve lasted 12 years, seeing me through many different mountain adventures.
Scarpa Delta GTX, £225; scarpa.co.uk
The Week’s recommendations
Fjällräven Expedition Pack Down Hoodie
This hoodie will keep you warm on chilly autumn days, but is slim enough to fit easily under a waterproof jacket. It is made from ethically sourced down and recycled nylon.
Motorola T42 Talkabout
Most sets of walkie talkies come in pairs, but with this one, you get three – making it perfect for bigger groups and families. The batteries should last for a few days.
Montane Trailblazer 8L Mission Backpack
Extremely compact and snug-fitting, this well-priced backpack has loads of pockets and compartments, and is good for a day hike. It has a harness-like design to keep it close to your body without restricting movement.
Aku Trekker Lite III GTX boots
Low-weight and yet very well built, these boots from Italian maker Aku look sleeker than most. They are very robust, with a rigid sole, but have a very breathable upper layer of suede.
Páramo Cambia LS Zip Neck base layer
The Páramo range is made in Colombia at the Miquelina Foundation, run by nuns for vulnerable women who need work. This base layer is made from a quick-dry fabric that is fully recyclable.
About the author
Henry Haselock is an adventurer and qualified expedition leader. His adventures have included a 400-mile trek through Mongolia and Siberia, an unsupported crossing of Iceland, a hike through the jungles of Belize and, most recently, the first unaided crossing of the Chalbi desert in Kenya