What to bring on a Hike with us.


 Mountain weather is  fickle friend; even on sunny days the wind can quickly cool you. The key  to staying warm is to stay dry, because wet clothing leads to heat loss  through evaporation and impaired insulation. Wearing many thin layers  traps heat far more efficiently than one piece of bulky clothing, and  will allow you to regulate your body temperature and reduce  perspiration. Even if you set off in shorts have some extra layers in  your rucksack. 



 The layering process    

  1. Base layer
  2. Mid layer
  3. Insulating layer
  4. Waterproof layer


 The layer of clothing  next to the skin (the base layer) should be snug, porous and made from a  performance fabric, such as polypropylene, that wicks perspiration away  from your skin to the mid-layer. Merino wool is gaining in popularity  because it smells less, absorbs moisture well, is soft, biodegradable,  and doesn’t melt easily. It is however heavier, slow to dry and  expensive. Avoid cotton because it traps moisture before it hits the  jacket, making you cold. 


the  mid-layer should be a thicker synthetic fleece to hold in heat, yet  still able to wick moisture away from the body. The insulating layer can  be a thicker fleece or, if you are doubtful about the weather, a  lightweight duvet jacket can be carried e.g. Mountain Equipment Trango  jacket. It  is a myth that your head loses any more heat than elsewhere on your  body and in fact it is your arm pits and grains that probaly lose the  most. Hats should be carried all year round, and a sun hat is vital. Gloves  are also essential and, generally, bulk equals warmth, although you  lose dexterity. There is more information on staying warm in the winter  section. 



Soft shells

These supposedly provide an outer and  insulating layer in one. They are soft to the touch, highly water  resistant, wind resistant, highly breathable and often stretchable.  While not 100 per cent waterproof, a soft shell delivers twice the  breathability of Gortex, however they do take a long time to dry out  when wet and you will then feel the cold more. The decision to wear soft  shells or conventional clothing depends on the activity. If rain is  likely, a conventional waterproof jacket is important, but for aerobic  activities in cold, dry, high activity situations, soft shells may work  well. A soft shell - evaporation uses heat therefore the more breathable a jacket is the cooler you will feel. 



Want to help your knees? 

The best way to minimise knee trouble is to have strong muscles supporting the knees, especially the quadraceps/thighs, this will allow your muscles to take some of the load off your joints. However Trekking poles can help, below is information on trekking poles. 

Trekking poles 

They’ll help protect your knees, make it easier to get across streams, save you energy and generally speed you up - but only when they are adjusted to the correct length.  Poles do have a downside: they transfer the stresses to your elbows and shoulders, keep your hands full, increase total energy expenditure, and there is evidence that they prevent novices from learning essential balance.  Alun Richardson Training Officer for MI says "I rarely use them on simple walks, but when the going gets tough especially downhill they are invaluable".    

  • Keep poles short, so that when you're standing on flat ground your hands are below your navel. There is a tendecny to make them  long but that just means you lift your arms up in the air at evry step  uphill. 
  • Some have a rubber grip below the handle so that, on traverses and steep ascents, you can grasp the pole lower without having to adjust it. 
  • Avoid using the hand loops (even cut them off!) because it makes it easier to jettison the poles should you slip. 
  • Don’t use the poles extended to their limits and adjust the sections equally to maintain maximum strength.
  • The advantages of shock absorbing springs are doubtful and simply increase the weight, length and cost. 
  • Poles made from 7075 aluminium alloy or carbon fibre are stronger. 
  • Leave the basket on the pole otherwise they will sink into soft mud. 
  • A flick lock, rather than a screw system is more reliable and it also enables the poles to be cut shorter to fit inside your rucksack more easily.
  • Two, three or four section poles are available - the more sections there are the shorter the pole is when collapsed, but more sections means more joints and increases the cost (and weight) of the pole.
  • Dry the poles before collapsing them, but don’t oil the tubes - the joints may never lock firmly again!
  • Placing two or more pairs of trekking poles in opposite directions behind the rucksacks of two people creates a good system for carrying an injured person off the hill
  • Wrap duct tape around your pole for emergency use.