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What kit should I take on a mountain walk?

By Vivienne Crow
2 minute read

Vivienne Crow, author of several Cicerone Press walking guides to Cumbria and the Lake District, answers the frequently asked question 'What kit should I take on a mountain walk?'.

Basic Navigation Equipment For A Mountain WalkIts Important To Spend Time Packing Your Rucksack

"The amount of gear you take on a walk and the clothes you wear will differ according to the length of the route, the time of year and the terrain you’re likely to encounter. Preparing for Scafell Pike in the height of winter, for example, requires more thought than when setting out to climb Helm Crag on a balmy spring afternoon.

Even in the height of summer, your daysack should contain everything you need to make yourself wind and waterproof.

Most people carry several layers of clothing to cope with sudden changes in temperature and wind speed.

As far as footwear goes, some walkers like good, solid leather boots with plenty of ankle support while others prefer something lighter. Whatever you wear, make sure it has a good grip and isn’t likely to result in a twisted ankle on uneven ground.

Every walker needs to carry a map and compass – and know how to use them. Always take food and water with you – enough to sustain you during the walk and extra rations in case you’re out for longer than originally planned.

Emergency equipment should include a whistle and a torch – the distress signal being six flashes/whistle-blasts repeated at one-minute intervals. Pack a small first aid kit too.

Carry a fully charged mobile telephone, but use it to summon help on the hills only in a genuine emergency. If things do go badly wrong and you need help, first make sure you have a note of all the relevant details such as your location, the nature of the injury/problem, the number of people in the party and your mobile phone number. Only then should you dial 999 and ask for the Police, then mountain rescue. But remember that mobile reception is patchy in remote areas."

Map and Compass

Map and Compass

A comprehensive guide to navigation


An instructive guidebook explaining map and compass techniques, to help readers enhance their outdoor experiences. Whether you are experienced in map-reading, or have never used a compass before, this guidebook will sharpen your skills and have you exploring new areas in no time. There are also tips for GPS and digital mapping technologies.

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