What mountain clothing do I need?

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Having the right gear in the mountains will make a huge difference to your day, protecting you from the elements, keeping you comfortable and allowing you to get on with enjoying your day. Selecting the right gear will always be somewhat subjective, but with a wealth of quality manufacturers and retailers out there to suit all budgets, and countless websites offering recommendations and reviews it’s relatively easy to kit yourself out appropriately without breaking the bank.

Mountain clothing basics

Generally several thin layers are better than a few thick ones, allowing you to add or take off layers as you go.

Synthetic materials designed to wick moisture away from the skin work best. Jeans definitely don’t work!

As a general rule we would recommend:

  • Base layer – a synthetic layer worn next the skin that will keep you warm and essentially wick away moisture, helping to keep you dry.
  • Insulation layer – As the name suggests, a warm layer, (traditionally a woolly jumper…) usually fleece or softshell, designed to keep you warm.
  • Shell layer – Your outer, waterproof and windproof layer. Usually carried in your bag until you need it! This should be waterproof and breathable, allowing any moisture (sweat!) to escape whilst keeping the elements out.
  • Extra insulation layer – An extra layer, usually kept in your sack but there to add an extra bit of warmth if and when you need it, when we stop for lunch for example.

Summer Hill Walking and Mountaineering

Essential equipment

These are the items you should always carry (as a minimum) for your own comfort and safety:

  • Appropriate mountain clothing (see above)
  • Waterproof (and ideally breathable) jacket and trousers
  • Walking boots – a decent pair of supportive, waterproof boots with a good grip. Walking shoes are becoming increasingly popular but you should be aware that they do not offer the same level of support as a good pair of boots.
  • Hat and gloves
  • Food including plenty of fluids
  • Any personal medication e.g. inhaler / epi-pen etc.
  • Sun protection
  • Map, case and compass 

A few extras that you that you could bring:

  • ​Gaiters
  • Head torch with fresh batteries
  • Personal survival bag

Winter Essentials:

  • Waterproof mountain boots (rated for use with crampons)
  • Appropriate mountain clothing (see above)
  • Spare warm layer
  • Waterproof and breathable jacket and trousers
  • Warm Hat
  • At least 2 pairs of gloves – even the most expensive mountain gloves rarely stay dry throughout a typical winter day in the mountains. At least two pairs are essential (think morning and afternoon gloves!)
  • Gaiters
  • Lunch and snacks, including fluids (a small hot flask is very much recommended)
  • Any personal medication e.g. inhaler / epi-pen etc.
  • A head torch with fresh batteries
  • A personal survival bag
  • Ice Axe and Crampons.​If you have your own it makes sense to use them. If not you can usually hire them for a small charge.

Depending on the conditions on the day you should also seriously consider:

  • Ski goggles
  • A buff or similar

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