Fiona Outdoors logo My independent guide to the best of Scotland outdoors

Top gear for your next hiking trip

Written by Fiona

October 31 2018

Hiking can be a very enriching experience and a way to enjoy the great outdoors alone, with friends, or with members of your family. However, before you go on your hiking trip, you’ll need some essential items to ensure your hike is as comfortable as possible and for your own safety as well. But what items should you take? Here are a few that should be on everybody’s checklist.

Good quality backpack

It all starts with a nice backpack. The backpack you choose should be comfortable and well fitted. Before you pick a backpack, make sure that you try it with a load in it. How does it feel? Do you feel any pinch points? Does it stay in place?

These are all things that should give you an idea of how comfortable it’ll be. You should also check that there are hip straps. The hip straps should sit just above your hip bones and will allow you to support more weight.

A good backpack should also be spacious enough. It should be able to carry all of your important items without feeling overpacked. Something around 20-litres should be enough for a day’s hiking in summer.

The right footwear

The further removed you are from civilisation, the bigger the risks are if you have to deal with something like a sprained ankle, for instance. Sure, regular hiking shoes might be fine for a nice stroll in the park, but if there is any kind of elevation involved, you should definitely use the best hiking boots available.

You should go with boots that provide ample ankle support and are comfortable. Make sure that you try them on before you buy. Different brands have different fits, even within the same size range, so make sure to check how they feel on your feet.

Also make sure the boots have adequate waterproofing and breathability.

If you’re going to stick to trails, a soft and supple sole will be better but if you’re going off-trail, you should go for a high cut boot with a stiffer sole.

Other apparel

Make sure that you buy the right socks to go with the boots. Forget cotton socks and go with synthetic, wool or a wool blend if you don’t want to end up with blisters.

For shirts, go for wool blends or merino wool. Or go full technical if you are hiking in hot weather (polyester, polypropylene, nylon). The same goes for shorts.

Don’t neglect underwear too since choosing the wrong pair could lead to chafing and discomfort. Make sure that you choose the same type of athletic fabric for your undies for maximum comfort.

And make sure that you have sufficient sun protection, too. Invest in a good brimmed hat or a trucker-style hat if you’re going to hike in the summer. Trucker hats will give you the sun protection you need and will allow heat to escape through the mesh back.

And last, but not least, never forget to bring a weatherproof/waterproof jacket with you, even if it’s sunny out. Temperatures can vary greatly, especially on the coast, so you have to be prepared for anything nature might throw your way.

If you want your hike to be as smooth and comfortable as possible, make sure that you pack these few items. Make sure that you have everything it takes to reduce the chances of injuries and improve your performance.

You might also want to check out Best Survival.

More Like This

Adventure

Walker Lorraine McCall tackles toughest Scottish mountains challenge yet

Adventure

Torridon Mammoth revisited by Arron and Ella

Bike

Corbett bagging: Bike and hike of Streap, Glenfinnan

Adventure

Bike and hike: Corbett bagging on Braigh nan Uamhachan

Adventure

New ‘Near Miss’ report initiative by Mountaineering Scotland and BMC

Adventure

Review: Salewa Ortles Light Mid PowerTex (PTX) boots