The first question that everyone will ask themselves before starting their first outdoor walking is: what walking gear is right? How can I prepare for a fantastic walking day? How important is gearing up for walking?
If you have little experience with tourism or are generally prepared for nature, dealing with yourself properly can be a daunting thing.
It is often said that prevention is better than cure and is never right as in outdoor expeditions. To avoid accidents, injuries and emergencies, to the best of our knowledge and in accordance with usual precautions.
Nobody wants to be in an open-air situation – in this case, it’s a general term for “in the middle of nowhere” – where they have to ask for emergency help. However, it is very important that everyone is ready for such a scenario, regardless of the likelihood it will happen. Having the proper gear will be like having the proper air to breathe.
As I probably mentioned so many times already in previous articles, walking is such an easy and handy exercise. You can make it part of your daily life, walking to the public transport instead of driving (when and if possible), park further than your destination so you can have at least couple of minutes of a stroll, and many more.
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You do not necessarily need any special gear to walk in the course of your daily life.
All you need is to use your common sense and dress appropriately. Go for comfortable shoes, or have spare walking shoes if your work uniform requires a particular outfit. Also, consider the weather and stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, dry in the rain.
However, if you are planning walking during a trip, holiday, etc, there are few items to consider when gearing up. You may find that the list of things to prepare for walking and hiking will be different from one person to the other.
Some of us will go for the basic needs while others might include lots more items as they like to go for more comfort no matter where. Such as besides the clothing, footwear and first aid bag they might like to include other accessories such as camping chairs and/or walking poles, etc.
No matter our preferences that are based on our own uniqueness and individuality, we believe that our suggestions with the things to prepare for walking/hiking is a good starting point for anyone interested in walking. So, have a look at them and start gearing up for your walking adventure.
Things to prepare for walking/hiking
No matter the type of walks, the most important gear is appropriate footwear; waterproof walking shoes or walking boots, depending on the type of walk you are planning (local or weekend away, maybe hill walking).
Even more important than a waterproof attribute is the shoes fit and comfort. The shoes should feel supportive with its uppers feature light, breathable and flexible, the sole to be shock-absorbent and the insole moisture-resistant.
Also, pay attention to the heel. The heel wedge should be raised to have the back of the shoe twice thicker than the front.
Lastly, your toes area should be roomy to avoid blisters and other injuries.
Also, it is important to check out your older shoes for any wear and tear. If the heels and/or soles of the shoes are visibly very worn might cause foot problems and it is very important to avoid that, as on the long run can affect not only your walk and your legs but can also have a painful impact on your back.
For more information about health problems caused by inappropriate footwear.
Our feet change in size as we grow older, so pay attention to the ones you have: if they feel tighter than before you might consider replacing them. Wearing tight fit shoes can be harmful to your feet and can develop different health problems.
When you buy new ones you might want to consider going for one size up so your feet will have plenty room to move around until the end of the day, when our feet tend to get bigger due to the pressure forced on them by caring our body around for the entire day.
Nowadays, most brands offer a variety of shoes specially designed for walking with an assortment of style to please as many and diverse customers. Some companies even offer a customise feature, where you can customise the design to your likes. Do thrill research before purchasing your walking shoes as they are the most important part of your gear.
If you are on a budget, check out shops and online offers frequently for a bargain. Many of them offer huge discounts half-season or at the end of the season. If you are searching online try one of the following key searches to have a great view of what the market has to offer: walking shoes for women, walking shoes men, walking shoes waterproof, walking shoe wide fit, walking shoe go outdoor, walking shoe on sale, walking shoe cheap, walking shoe stylish, and many more. Just try and play around with words, looking for the features you want for your shoes.
Do not get taken by unpleasant surprise along the way by this continuous climate change.
Always be prepared and remember that owning at least a waterproof jacket is a very good and reliable investment, especially in the UK, where the rain is hardly missed.
Also, regarding the clothes, it is best to use layers so you can adjust accordingly to the temperature. If you are thinking of going on a trip is best to consider insulating clothes (fleece) because they are ideal to keep you warm.
Lastly, but not least, consider your safety and others. Consider choosing brightly coloured outer garments to be visible by drivers, bikers and other walkers.
Also, if you are on a budget, check out regularly the shops for good bargains. Most of the shops offer huge discounts.
Another good investment that can last over at least a couple of years is a waterproof backpack. Otherwise, you can use a regular backpack and have handy a plastic bag to use when needed/raining.
Choosing a backpack is strictly a matter of preference and necessity. However, it is a good idea to choose one that can expand and have many pockets which are useful when travelling.
Also, it should be light and hold the weight you think you’ll normally have on average.
If you do not like coloured garments, then the backpack can be chosen with a reflector or decorated with one so you will be visible on the roads.
Depending on the weather, length and location of your walking are smart to have handy the following accessories:
- a hat will protect you against weather conditions ( sun, rain )
- sunglasses are not only protective but also stylish
- compass to help you orient and navigate in nature and is a good kit to be used with map
- a whistle might be the tiniest among the travel kit but can be a lifesaver in times of needs so do not trade lightly when looking to buy one – chose one that is powerful and has a chain attached (or you can attach one) so it can be at a hand touch distance at all times. Also, should be very light to flow on the water if needed. This little item is crucially helpful when the weather condition makes other kit items less efficient to use to call for help (fog), and of course, do not forget the map.
- torch because you never know when the lights can go down. You can choose from a variety of sizes, shape and charging options. You can choose a rechargeable model or battery powered. Some of them are even waterproof in case you think that this feature might come in handy to you.
- maps can be very useful and they are widely used today. The planning maps from the Lonely Planet are quite good and popular for the features it has such as quite a cheap (under £5), durable and waterproof, an easy-fold format in a good size, lots of information about transport, attractions, etc.
You can find everything you need on Amazon.
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In all of the outdoor shops, you should be able to find the accessories mentioned above. However, if you are not sure if the shop closest to you will have what you will need or like, or even you are not sure exactly what would be best to get, you can always shop around online, look at different offers, read about the features that each item offers so you can make a better-judged purchase.
Again, want to remind you that if you are on a budget or you just like a good bargain keeps checking out shops and online sites as there are always huge sales halfway season or end of the season. Unfortunately, most of the time, when one product gets discounted the desired size and/or colour might not be available.
I am a popular petite 12 size at clothing and 5 sizes for shoes, which means I can hardly find things on sales as they already out of stock while full price. So be ready and consider to buy something that you have seen and really liked at full price if you believe that your size is popular.
Mini Travel Aid Kit
Although the content of your travel aid kit will depend heavily on your travel plans, there are some basic items that each kit should include:
- antiseptic, painkillers, wound cleaning gauze, sterile dressings, bandage tape, plasters, tweezers, scissors, emergency blanket
- antihistamines, insect repellent and bite treatment, sunscreen, sunburn treatment
- medication for pre-existing medical conditions
- country-specific: anti-diarrhoea medication, rehydration sachets, anti-malaria medication, mosquito net, water disinfectant
You can put together your own kit with the things you want to be prepared or you can buy different types of kits already put together in nice tidy and mostly waterproof bags.
Basic Safety Measures
When you are walking, whether is within your local area, as part of your daily life or is within your walking adventure getaway weekend or holiday, always use your common sense and try your best to keep not only yourself but all those you encounter safe.
Here are some tips to stay safe:
- Always wear a reflector if you are walking on a country lane in the dark.
- Wear brightly coloured clothes so you are visible for drivers
- If you are walking on a road that is missing a sidewalk then walk facing cars
- Avoid high-speed and congested traffic
- Beware of dogs and people
- Make sure the roads are safe
- Try walking with a companion, not only for safety but also for the pleasure of sharing your experience
Lastly, but not least keep your planning kit within your reach such as a map, compass, whistle, torch etc. so you will know how to find your way around but also signal for help in case of need.
International Distress Signals
No matter where you do your walking it is always best to be prepared, and knowing an international known distress signal is one of them.
In case of need use your safety whistle giving three (six in the UK) short blasts followed by a minute pause.
If you hear an SOS signal described above, respond with short blasts and continue until you reach the one signalling for help.
You can also make use of the torch to signal if you are in distress.
Energy Bars And Drinks
Energy bars are perfect to have in your backpack.
They are not only small therefore not taking up space but they contain cereals and other high energy foods great for quick energy to help you keep moving and get to your destination.
They are lifesavers if you get stranded and might take a while until you get to a place with a nice meal.
Do not forget to stay hydrated. Be environmentally friendly and try using the refillable bottles.
Always be prepared
Do your research and know exactly what gear you’ll need and where to get the supplies you need for your walks.
Even if you personally do not need it, you might give a helping hand to others.
So remember for the walking adventures you need good shoes, preferably waterproof, weatherproof clothing and backpack or a plastic bag to use when needed/raining, accessories, aid kit, energy bars, drinks and your basic knowledge of staying safe.
Once equipped with all of the above, start living and enjoying every step of the way.
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Until next time,
Oana and Paula