A Guide to Buying the Best Hiking Gear in 2024
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A Guide to Buying the Best Hiking Gear 2024

No matter what the weather, the UK is home to some of the most breathtaking views, scenic walks, and challenging climbs. Whether you enjoy a casual stroll or a more vigorous hike, the right walking gear, accessories, and hiking clothes are essential for a comfortable trek.

To ensure you have everything you need for your outdoor adventure, we’ve compiled a guide on all the essential gear for every type of walker.

Hiking Gear Checklist | Outdoor Socks | Walking Boots | Walking Trousers | Tops | Walking fleece and jumpers | Walking Jackets | Gloves and Hats | Backpacks | Water Bottle | Walking Poles

Hiking gear checklist

group hiking

Before heading off on your journey, plan ahead and list all the things you’ll need for your trek. Keep in mind the distance and the intensity of your walk as well as the weather conditions – the last thing you want is to be caught up in the rain without any waterproof clothing.

Walking clothes and footwear

  • Socks
  • Hiking boots
  • Walking trousers
  • Tops
  • Cosy fleece
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Scarf

Walking equipment and other walking essentials

  • Trekking poles
  • Walking backpack
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Navigation tool, e.g. phone map or compass
  • Headlamp
  • Portable battery
  • Travel size first aid kit
  • Hand sanitiser or biodegradable wet wipes
  • Nutritional snacks

Don’t forget to pack water, snacks, toys, and some doggy bags if you take your canine companion with you on your walk.

5 of the best walking sock brands and retailers

Walking boots

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 toes warm despite the UK’s often cold weather.

Ditch the cotton socks and keep an eye out for those made with a blend of fabrics, including wool, nylon, and elastane. Merino wool, in particular, is a breathable fabric that will remove moisture and protect your feet from the cold.

Some great brands which sell walking socks include:

  1. Smartwool
  2. You’re likely to have heard of Smartwool before. They’re 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 why you can’t walk in style on your next outing. Smartwool also guarantees their walking socks for up to 2 years after purchase!

  3. Alpkit
  4. Passionate about the outdoors and creating clothing that lasts, Alpkit, offers 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, this award-winning brand goes out of its way to repair kits from all brands, to make sure the outdoor gear you love can stay with you for longer.

  5. Teko
  6. Teko strives to not only provide the best walking socks on the planet but also the best walking socks for the planet. This eco-friendly brand doesn’t compromise on quality or style. You’ll find a variety of designs, all in a comfy merino wool and recycled polyester mix.

  7. Hanwag
  8. Hanwag Hike Socks are a great addition to your walking kit as their technology is designed for managing moisture. The brand prides itself on its innovation and technical expertise, which allows it to create footwear for all kinds of hikers and walkers.

  9. Royal Robbins
  10. Royal Robbins designs versatile clothing made for the outdoors. Their Venture Crew Socks are made from a durable hemp and recycled polyester blend, which keeps your feet ventilated, eliminates odour and keeps them cosy. The cushioning allows you to walk for longer and avoid blisters or feeling any aches or pains.

Best walking boots

walking boots

Your walking boots are, without a doubt, the most crucial 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 boots guide to discover the best boots in the market and the right ones for you.

7 of the best walking trouser brands and retailers

walking trousers

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 they 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 calm walk through a nature reserve, here’s an idea of the types of walking trousers on the market.

  1. Sherpa Adventure Gear
  2. From lightweight, breathable trousers to heavy-duty, waterproof slacks, Sherpa Adventure Gear offers a range of affordable designs for both men and women. The Mausam style is 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.

  3. Go Outdoors
  4. A familiar name to many, Go Outdoors is a trusted supplier of outdoor adventure gear. You’ll find a variety of walking trousers for men and women that are both stylish and comfortable.

    They all vary in price, so it’s up to you how much you wish to spend.

    Club members get an additional 10% off Go Outdoors products. Not a member? Join the Club today to receive great discounts on a range of outdoor clothing and equipment.

  5. Columbia
  6. Columbia has been creating innovative outdoor gear since 1938, and the global brand keeps growing in popularity. Their woman’s Ridge Utility™ Walking Trousers come in a range of neutral colours that go with everything. You can also get walking trousers with zip-off legs, which allow you to adjust your outfit if there's a change in weather. Best of all, you’ll be protected from the sun with broad-spectrum UPF sun protection too!

  7. Berghaus
  8. Supplying UK walkers, climbers and mountaineers since 1966, Berghaus are specialists in creating functional, durable gear. You’ll find a wide range of different walking trouser designs on their website, but the Tanfield trousers are great for a range of terrains.

  9. Trekitt
  10. With a passion for creating clothing perfect for outdoor adventures, Trekitt has some excellent walking gear and hiking clothes for your next trek.

    With a variety of walking trousers for both men and women, the brand ensures that you can walk in style while keeping warm. Check out a Club favourite, the Frilufts Women's Topitza Pants. These walking trousers are stretchy, fleece lined for those winter walks, and, best of all, they have pockets!

  11. Craghoppers
  12. An iconic pair of walking trousers and Craghoppers bestseller is the Kiwi trousers. Created in 1996, these walking trousers were created to lock out rain, wind, and snow, as well as protect your skin from the sun and any pesky mosquitoes, all whilst remaining comfortable and cosy. Craghoppers are constantly finding new ways to upgrade their technology and walking trousers, so you can take on the most challenging treks without worrying about the weather, insects, or any tears.

  13. Jack Wolfskin
  14. With the cold weather at the forefront of their mind, Jack Wolfskin is an outdoor apparel brand specialising in sustainable clothing for adventurers. Their winter walking trousers are water repellent, will protect you from the cold, and they’re extremely comfortable. They also have secret zip pockets so you can keep your belongings safe.

5 of the best walking top brands and retailers

family walking

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.

  1. Columbia
  2. Columbia not only designs clothes with the outdoors in mind, but they also create some stylish pieces. You'll find both short and long-sleeved t-shirts in a range of colours and designs, made from a blend of materials, including recycled polyester, cotton, and elastane. They're great for layering up, keeping you dry and comfortable, and they're ventilated, so you won't have to worry about sweating through them on those tough hikes.

  3. Rab
  4. 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 prides themselves on producing high-quality clothing, offering comfort, performance and freedom. They have various long and short-sleeved t-shirts that are lightweight, fast-drying, comfortable and use ‘stay fresh technology’ to let your skin breathe.

  5. Trekitt
  6. Although Trekitt is on the pricier side, they have some exceptional base layers for both men and women. Their long and short-sleeved t-shirts come in various colours for both men and women, and they’re made with merino wool to keep you warm on your adventure. The base layers are breathable, comfortable and versatile. They’re also lightweight and great for layering.

    A popular top is the Artilect Women's Flatiron 185 Crew, which is made from Nuyarn Merino. This unique material is a blend of merino wool and nylon, so it's naturally odour-resistant, durable, breathable, moisture-wicking, fast-drying, stretchy and light.

  7. Millets
  8. A leading UK retailer that’s well-known for outdoor clothing is Millets. Here, you can find plenty of hiking tops for all genders, with varying designs, styles and prices.

    Club members get an additional 15% off Millets products. Not a member? Join the Club today to receive great discounts on a range of outdoor clothing and equipment.

  9. Craghoppers
  10. Well known for its walking gear and hiking clothes, especially in cold weather, Craghoppers has some great short and long-sleeved base layer tops for men and women. They’re made from recycled materials, they’re stretchy and comfortable, and the engineered fabrics effectively remove moisture away from the skin, keeping you cool and dry whilst on your adventure.

4 of the best walking fleeces and jumper brands and retailers

man hiking

A good fleece or jumper is an essential part of your walking gear as it's great for layering in the cold weather.

Fleeces are warm, lightweight and quick-drying. When worn with a moisture-wicking base layer, it’s an ideal top layer on a dry day or a mid-layer in the winter. As fleece is made from polyester, many brands are creating 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.

  1. Vaude
  2. Vaude, an eco-friendly brand, are experts in sustainable outdoor gear, and each piece of clothing is made with care. The Livigno Halfzip II is a prime example of a great walking fleece as it’s snug-fitting, made from sustainable materials, stretchy and quick drying.

  3. Mammut
  4. 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 that are lightweight, comfortable, moisture-wicking to prevent over-cooling, and functional. These fleeces are excellent for keeping you warm during your winter walks, and because they’re lightweight, they’re easy to carry if you’re heating up.

  5. REI
  6. Since 1938, REI has been a reliable go-to for outdoor apparel, rental equipment and expert advice. REI’s Arc'teryx Kyanite Jacket has been praised for being an excellent fleece jacket, and we can see why. It's made from a blend of polyester, nylon and elastane (Polartec® Power Stretch® Pro), meaning it’s breathable, warm, soft and moisture-wicking. It also has handy zip pockets and comes in a range of colours.

  7. Patagonia
  8. Don’t let the cold British weather stop you from having an adventure of a lifetime. Whether you’re taking on the Three Peaks or you’re ready after a smaller challenge, Patagonia clothing will keep you warm and snug. Their fleeces are lightweight, have breathable fabric, and they’re quick-drying, so you can remain comfortable the whole way through.

Best walking jackets

woman walking

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 this year’s best waterproof jackets.

Best hat and glove retailers for walking

girl hiking

It can be so easy to forget the little hiking gear items such as gloves and a hat when setting off on your walk, but the two are crucial. The last thing you need is to have cold fingers or ears whilst enjoying your winter walk.

Keep an eye out for waterproof gloves that are breathable and flexible so that they’ll keep your fingers warm and you’ll be able to take on tough challenges without your palms getting sweaty. The same applies to hats. You’ll want one which is weatherproof but breathable to minimise sweat build-up. Some hat and glove suggestions include:


Specialising in waterproof accessories, Sealskinz offers a range of hats and gloves made specifically for hikers. They’ve worked with mountaineers, explorers, cyclists, skiers, runners, horse riders and others to ensure their gear is comfortable, stylish and practical for winter activities.

Outdoor Research

An American brand focused on providing outdoor gear for all activities. They offer a range of gloves and hats specifically designed for all weather conditions. You can purchase waterproof liners for extra warmth or browse their stylish range of gear, perfect for hiking in the winter.


Craghoppers offers a range of gloves and hats for both men and women, with different price ranges. The company that’s well known in designing practical and stylish outdoor wear, go above and beyond to ensure their accessories are fit for your hiking needs.

Other retailers that sell a range of gloves and hats include:

Club members get up to 30% off on selected retailers. Not a member? Join the Club today to receive discounts on a range of outdoor clothing and equipment.

Best walking backpacks


If you’re walking for more than an hour or so, you’ll need somewhere to stash your extra layers, food, water and any navigational devices. 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.

Best water bottles for hiking


Whether you’re out for a short stroll or you’re ready for a challenging hike, staying hydrated is a must! You’ll need a reusable water bottle that you can take with you on your walk. Check out our eco-friendly water bottle guide to find your best match.

Best walking poles

walking poles

Walking poles are very handy on more challenging walks. They can help you with your balance, especially on downhill stretches, and they can take some pressure off your knees and legs during long walks.

When you’re looking for the right walking pole, keep in mind the following questions:

  1. Is it adjustable? An adjustable walking pole allows you to cater the pole to your height and the height of the terrain.
  2. Is it compact? A collapsible walking pole means you can fold and fit it in your bag when you’re not using it.
  3. Is it lightweight? If your walking pole is heavy, your arms might become fatigued.
  4. Does it have a good grip? The last thing you need is sore hands or for your walking pole to slip out of your hands. Your walking pole must have a good grip that’s comfortable for you.

To ensure you have the right walking pole, we recommend visiting your local outdoor retailer and testing them before buying.

Here are a few recommended retailers to browse different poles:

Club members get up to 30% off on selected retailers. Not a member? Join the Club today to receive discounts on a range of outdoor clothing and equipment.

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