Equipment Check List

Why Cheap Waterproofs Aren’t Enough for Scottish Walks

Every year hundreds of walkers make their way to the Scottish highlands to experience the landscape for themselves. But many casual walkers are often caught out by the extreme weather changes and find that their waterproof clothing simply isn’t up to the challenge.

With public interest in outdoor pursuits on the rise, it’s more important than ever that fresh outdoor enthusiasts are aware of the dangers and invest in the appropriate kit to help them enjoy what the Scottish landscape has to offer.

So here is an extensive list of the essential items of clothing and equipment required for walking the Scottish hills in both summer and winter.

Summer Hill Walking

• Waterproof boots (with ankle support and soles that grip rock, grass and mud)
• Waterproof jacket (with hood)
• Waterproof over trousers
• Thermal top
• Fleece top
• Gaiters (in case it gets really wet)
• Thermal hat
• Thermal gloves or mitts
• Spare fleece top or base layer for extreme cold
• Compass
• Map (waterproof or in a waterproof case)
• Watch
• Torch (preferably a head torch)
• Food and drink for the journey
• Emergency survival bag
• Whistle
• Small first aid kit
• Mobile phone
• Sunhat
• Sun cream
• Sunglasses

Top of the list, regardless of the season, are waterproof jackets, waterproof boots and waterproof trousers, because the weather can turn incredibly wet and windy up there at a moment’s notice.

Because walkers are most likely to encounter heavy rain, a good quality waterproof jackets with an adjustable hood is essential. This is why more expensive jackets from the better known outdoor brands such as Berghaus or North Face come highly recommended, because they provide much more protection through a variety of leading technical features from Gore-Tex waterproof membranes to moisture wicking inner liners and specially treated shells which are designed to stop rain water from collecting and roll it straight off the garment instead.

Many of the best waterproof boots feature similar technologies as well as specialist Vibram outsoles which are designed for all terrain from wet rock to deep grass and thick mud.

So being covered from head to toe in good quality waterproof clothing is an essential part of staying safe when hill walking in Scotland. We would also recommend having a pair of gaiters to cover the gap between your trousers and walking boots to help stop any rainwater from running down your garments and into your socks.

Winter Hill Walking

Come winter, you will need all of the equipment listed above and more. So a good, strong backpack to carry it all in is just as important.

• Stiff soled walking boots
• Ice axe
• Crampons
• Spare gloves or mitts
• Goggles
You will also need ice axe, crampon skills and knowledge of snow conditions and avalanches. So Scottish hill walking in winter is often restricted to more experienced experts than newcomers.

However, if you’ve got a couple of seasoned hill walkers leading your group, you can gain valuable experience. But we wouldn’t recommend attempting this unless you’ve already walked the Scottish Munros in summer.

So whether you’re exploring the Loch Lomond, the Trossachs National Park, the Isle of Skye, The Western Highlands or The Cairngorms and taking in the stunning views of valleys and forests set against a backdrop of the majestic Munros, be sure to carry the correct equipment and wear a full set of waterproof clothing to stay safe and dry throughout your adventure.

This article has been brought to you by GO Outdoors