The Best Walking Gear and Hiking Clothes for Avid Walkers
With some of the most spectacular scenery in the world right here in the UK, it’s no surprise that as a nation, we love to walk! Great walking gear can make all the difference to how much you enjoy your gentle rambles or more vigorous explorations. To make sure you enjoy each stride we’ve put together a guide to the essential walking equipment you’ll need as well as some of the best products on the market.
Your walking equipment list
Starting from your feet, all the way up, these items are all essential for walkers wanting maximum comfort and optimal performance.
Walking socks are often an item people ignore, but we promise, they’ll revolutionise the way your feet feel after a long day of hitting the trail. Your socks should work in harmony with your boots. A quality pair of walking socks should prevent blisters on high-pressure areas, keep your feet dry with moisture-wicking materials, and keep your digits warm despite the UK’s often cold weather.
You’re likely to have heard of Smartwool before, popular for their use of merino wool which not only keeps your feet warm but also has natural antibacterial properties. What we love about Smartwool is the variety of lengths and designs on offer because there’s no reason you can’t make your own fashion statement while out walking. Smartwool also guarantees their socks for up to 2 years after purchase!
Shop all products and designs on the Smartwool website.
2019 retailer of the year and independent British brand, Alpkit, offer a wide range of walking socks at affordable prices. From bamboo socks designed for everyday wear to heavy-duty hiker socks for the mountaineers among you, Alpkit is a great place to look. Keen on sustainability, Alpkit go out of their way to repair kit from all brands, to make sure the outdoor gear you love can stay with you for longer.
Shop all products and designs on the Alpkit website.
Teko strives to not only provide the best socks on the planet but to also provide the best socks for the planet. This eco-friendly brand doesn’t compromise on quality or style though. You’ll find a variety of designs, all in a comfy merino wool and recycled polyester mix.
Shop all products and designs on the Teko website.
Your walking boots are, without a doubt, the most important element of your walking gear. Walking boots should protect your feet, provide maximum comfort on long walks and optimise your performance on trickier hikes. Read our walking boot guide to find out all you need to know and discover some of the best boots on the market at difference price points.
Dedicated walking trousers offer high tech materials for durability, protection against the elements and maximum comfort. While walking trousers don’t sound particularly stylish, you’ll be surprised by the number of designs on offer, at both ends of the budget scale. Most walking trousers are lightweight, so can easily be rolled and put in your backpack, allowing you to layer up if you need to, wearing a pair of shorts underneath in warmer or variable climates.
Whether you’re scrambling to reach the peak of one of the UK’s wonderful mountains or enjoying a gentle walk through the Peak District, here’s an idea of the types of walking trousers on the market.
Sherpa Adventure Gear
From lightweight, breathable trousers to heavy-duty, waterproof slacks, Sherpa Adventure Gear offer a range of affordable designs for both men and women. The Mausam style are lightweight, quick drying and durable. It’s also well worth mentioning that every item of clothing you buy from Sherpa Adventure Gear funds one day of school for a child in Nepal.
Shop all products and designs on the Sherpa Adventure Gear website.
A familiar name to many, Go Outdoors is a trusted supplier of outdoor adventure gear. There’s a wide range of brands in stock both instore and online at a range of price points.
Shop all products and designs on the Go Outdoors website.
Supplying UK walkers, climbers and mountaineers since 1966, Berghaus are specialists in creating functional, durable gear. You’ll find a wide range of different trouser designs on their website, but the Tanfield trousers are great for a range of terrains.
Shop all products and designs on the Berghaus website.
Any clothing that sits against your skin while you’re out walking should be breathable, moisture-wicking and quick-drying to keep you warm. Cotton is a fabric to avoid; you need to look at synthetics such as polyester or natural fibres like merino wool. There are many different styles to choose from, including short-sleeved, long-sleeved and button-down options. It’s a good idea to have a mixture of these for layering purposes.
Sustainable brand Icebreaker provides high-quality merino clothing with great technology. Using hand-picked merino fibres, Icebreaker is big on not only making sure their wool is from happy, well cared for sheep but also on quality, so you be assured each item you buy will last you plenty of walking adventures. There are plenty of styles and colours to choose from, but their short-sleeved pocket t-shirt is a classic.
Shop all products and designs on the Icebreaker website.
From a small terraced house in Sheffield in the 80s, Rab Carrington set about to start producing hard-wearing, versatile designs for outdoor lovers. Today Rab pride themselves on producing high-quality clothing, offering comfort, performance and freedom. The Force LS Tee offers stay fresh technology and maximum comfort.
Shop all products and designs on the Rab website.
A good fleece or jumper is an essential part of your walking gear for layering, cold weather and versatility.
Fleeces are warm, lightweight and quick-drying. When worn with a moisture-wicking base layer, a fleece is an ideal top layer on a dry day or a mid-layer in the winter. As fleece is made from polyester, many brands are coming out with versions made from recycled plastic bottles so you can do your bit to reduce plastic waste.
If you prefer the look of a jumper, you’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing natural fibres like merino wool which is quick-drying and breathable.
Eco-friendly brand Vaude are experts in sustainable outdoor gear and each piece of clothing is made with care. The Livigno Halfzip II is a snug-fitting fleece made from sustainable materials that’ll keep you warm and not break the bank.
Shop all products and designs on the Vaude website.
Swiss brand Mammut has been providing outdoor mountain gear since 1862, so they know a thing or two when it comes to creating functional apparel. You’ll find a range of mid-layers on their website. The Moench Advanced Half Zips are available in both men’s and woman’s and are a stylish addition to any walking get up.
Shop all products and designs on the Mammut website.
Walking in the UK means you’ll be facing unpredictable weather, so the next item to add to your hiking clothes stash is a high-quality jacket. Your jacket should be waterproof, warm and breathable; read our round-up of the best waterproof jackets.
If you’re walking for more than an hour or so, you’ll need somewhere to stash your extra layers, food and water. There’s an endless variety of walking backpacks on the market, but for most of your UK walking needs, a small day pack is probably a good option.
Handy on more challenging walks, there are a variety of walking poles available from UK retailers at a range of price points. Walking poles help with balance, especially on downhill stretches and take some pressure off knees and legs so are a good edition for seasoned walkers.
With so many options available its good to know what you’re looking for. Poles which are fully height adjustable allow you to match them to not only your height but for different terrains. You can get poles which collapse down and fit into your pack, poles with different grips and of different weights. It’s always worth going into an outdoors shop and testing out a few pairs to see which you prefer if you’re unsure.
Here are a few recommended retailers to browse different poles:
A few other pieces you’ll want in your backpack include a good pair of gloves, a hat to keep your warm or protect you from the sun depending on the time of year and a good water bottle or bladder. For more walking content, check out the 10 best hikes in the UK.