It is essential that walker’s are adequately prepared when walking in the Peak District, in regards to bringing the correct clothing and equipment for a day in the hills. The weather can often change quickly in the Peak District due to its geographical location, which causes problems each and every year for those who fail to prepare adequately. This page therefore provides advice to walker’s about what should be brought hiking.
Boots: Hiking boots are arguably the most essential piece of kit when hiking just about anywhere. Walker’s should make sure that their boots are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support. Boots should also be in good condition and have a “Vibram” type sole.
Socks: Walking socks are often overshadowed by those new to hiking, with many novices failing to invest in proper socks. Good walking socks are essential in regards to keeping the feet dry, and in turn stopping the development of blisters. Sports socks and other socks not designed for walking will often become waterlogged, or damaged which will in turn blister feet.
Gators: Gators attach to the bottom of walking boots and extend to just under the knee. They provide waterproofing for the bottom half of the leg, and are essential in keeping the feet dry.
Walking Trousers: Walking trousers should be of a windproof design and made of a rip stop material, that will stand up to walking through ferns and undergrowth. They should also ideally be water resistant, or at least not gain weight, and lose their insulation properties when wet. Jeans are therefore to be avoided, as they are heavy when wet and provide no protection from the elements.
Waterproof Trousers: Waterproof trousers are essential in keeping the legs dry, as water resistant trousers will not keep out any significant rainfall. Walker’s should look for waterproof trousers that are breathable, in order to avoid being soaked with sweat.
Base Layer: A breathable base layer should be chosen in order to let sweat escape from the body. This should ideally consist of a breathable synthetic, specially designed fabric, though a cotton T-Shirt is sufficient.
Mid Layer: A Mid Layer goes on top of the base layer and should consist of a 100 weight micro fleece, or a rugby typed thick shirt. The layering system is important as it allows walkers to quickly adapt to changes in the weather as well as body temperature.
Outer Layer: The outer layer should consist of a windproof jacket or a thick fleece. This is the final layer and walkers should ensure that this layer provides ample warmth.
Waterproof Jacket: A good waterproof jacket is one of the most important pieces of kit you will require when hiking. Walkers should look for a jacket that is both waterproof and breathable in order for them to be protected from sweat. Materials such as Gore-tex are often the best choices.
Hat: As most heat is lost through the head a good hat is essential. The best hats are those of a fleece design, with wool also being acceptable.
Gloves: Gloves are essential in the colder months as walkers will require the usage of their fingers for various activities such as map reading. Windproof or better still waterproof gloves are the best choice.
Rucksack: A good Rucksack that is comfortable to wear is essential, and required to carry both food and equipment. Day sacks should have a capacity of around 30 litres with equipment being placed in water proof bags inside.
Emergency Equipment: A number of items should be taken in case problems occur whilst walking in the hills. Emergency equipment becomes of greater importance the further from civilisation walkers are. Equipment should include spare food stuffs of high energy, a survival bag, a whistle, a medical kit, a torch and something to make fire, either storm proof matches or a firelighter.
Food & Water: At least two litres of water should be brought for each day hiking, with more being taken if cooking is required. Alternatively walkers can carry purification tablets. Enough food for the duration of a walk should also be taken. Food should be of the high energy variety, with hot food being able to be eaten raw if necessary.
Map & Compass: A map of the area being walked in is essential as well as a compass. The map should be in a waterproof bag or be of a waterproof design.
Mobile Phone: A mobile phone should also be brought and kept in a waterproof bag for use in emergencies.
Extra Equipment Required for Multiple Days.
Change of Clothes: A full change of clothes should be brought and kept in waterproof bags, as well as multiple pairs of socks.
Large Rucksack/Bergen: A large rucksack of around 60 litres is required. This rucksack should be capable of carrying all necessary equipment on the inside, as well as providing back support.
Tent: A tent if of course essential when sleeping out in the open. Walker’s should make sure that they have pitched the tent before, and have all parts of it, such as poles and pegs. The tent should also be light enough to carry as well as being able to stand up to the weather. A 3 season tent is recommended as a minimum level of protection.
Sleeping Bag: A sleeping bag is of course required for camping. Walker’s should look for one that provides adequate warmth, below the temperature that they expect. If in doubt walkers should bring a sleeping bag for colder conditions than they expect.
Cooking Equipment: Walkers should bring some kind of cooking equipment so that they can cook hot meals, and enjoy hot drinks when cold. Being able to cook hot food is essential during the colder months.
Even the best prepared walkers still face risks when walking though these risks are greatly reduced when walkers are adequately prepared. A final note regarding walking in the Peak District should be to go in a group if possible, as well as informing people exactly where you are going.
Are you heading to the Peak District? Read our top 10 walks in the Peak District guide.
Just an observation re base layers. Cotton t shirts aren’t really suitable as they soak up and retain sweat. A technical fabric that will transfer sweat away from the body is better.