below and/or click the appropriate item.
might argue there is a difference but for our purposes, whether you talk
about walking, hiking or rambling, we are talking about the same thing
here, namely getting out into the countryside to enjoy and explore its
scenic beauty, the flora and fauna, not to mention the benefits of the
are degrees - from gentle strolls across local fields to marathon journeys
and ascending major hills.
enjoy, you have to be comfortable and safe. This means having sensible
clothing and equipment, knowing where you are going and knowing how to get
you need depends on where you intend to walk and the time of year.
The top of Ben Nevis in January will obviously be subject to greater extremes than a
stroll by a river in July. At
best, if you are inadequately equipped, you will be uncomfortable. At
worst, you will die! Harsh but true!
an outdoor shop and seeing the plethora of clothing, footwear and other
walking equipment (and much of it expensive) is a bit daunting at first
and it puts people off. Then there is the question of map reading and
navigation. Where do you start? Well, try Finding
and find a small, local, well established outdoor shop. If it has
survived, it has demonstrated that it is more interested in the long term
than a quick buck. The chances are that the staff know what they are doing
and can be relied on for advice. Go for a true outdoor shop not one which
sells a few walking items amongst a primarily fashion range. Try and pick
a quiet weekday when they will have more time to help you.
course some of the larger chain outlets such as Cotswold are very good but if seeking advice, you
need to avoid the inexperienced Saturday assistant.
are also many on-line sources which can save you money though it would be
wise to try on garments, boots and even rucksacks somewhere before
ordering. Although some sites and indeed magazines include reviews of
equipment, it is reasonable to assume for example that if a garment/boot
is made from GORE-TEX or similar, it will keep the rain out (although see
the section on waterproofs). The rest is down to
preference on colours, style, cost etc and no review will help you here.
Do not be misled into buying anything just because a review acclaims it.
You could well be disappointed by the fit, practicality etc in relation
to your needs. Make your own judgements. I am in any case
sceptical of reviews, because many manufacturers send items for review
free. If reviewers trash the products, more "free stuff" is not
likely to follow! This is one reason I do not do reviews despite requests.
buy the best quality you can afford. If you have to make some economies,
bear in mind the advice in these pages.
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