UK Walking Kit List

Are you planning on going for a day walk in the Great British Countryside? Firstly – great plan! Nothing can be more pleasurable when the conditions are fine, the views stunning, and the company good (even if the only company is your own!). However, as you’ve no doubt heard before, a pleasant walk in any wilderness area can rapidly turn into a survival experience should something goes wrong. By arming yourself with appropriate clothing, equipment and food, you not only decrease the likelihood of getting into such a situation, but also increase your chance of survival and recovery should the worst happen. For these very reasons we’ve compiled this essential kit list for single-day hikes in the UK to get you started.

Watch our short video explaining the various pieces of essential clothing and kit required for safe, enjoyable walking in the UK, or scroll on down to see the written kit list:


When going on a walk in a wilderness area, you should carry a full layering system. You can read about layering for winter conditions in more detail in our Gear Guru Winter Layering Guide. Be sure to have:

Base Layer – Top and bottom. These trap pockets of insulating air on the skin’s surface, providing thermal efficiency, and also an initial layer to wick sweat away from the skin. By doing this, good quality base layers help keep you warm when you need it, cool when you need it, and as dry as possible at all times.

Mid Layer – Dependent on the weather conditions, mid layer clothing can come in the form of a fleece, a synthetic insulated jacket, a down jacket; or combinations of the three. This is the layer that is predominately responsible for insulation, and so fabrics must be warm for their weight, as well as efficient in terms of moisture transport (wicking). It is advisable to take a spare mid layer garment in addition to the one(s) you are wearing, for emergency or supplementary warmth should the temperature drop, or your body temperature lower through forced inactivity (i.e. through injury).

Outer Layer (Waterproof) – In the UK it’s always advisable to carry waterproofs! This should include a waterproof and breathable, hooded waterproof jacket, and waterproof, breathable overtrousers. Useful features to have in a walking jacket are Map-sized pockets to keep your map and compass dry and easily accessible, and a fully adjustable, peaked hood to keep driving rain off your face. Waterproof trousers should have at lease a 1/4 length leg zip to allow them to be put on over your walking boots when the skies open. You can find out what to look for when choosing a waterproof jacket in our Choosing a Waterproof Jacket guide.

Walking Trousers – Lightweight yet rugged trousers, made from a quick-drying fabric. It can be useful to have zip-off trousers for versatility in the spring to autumn months.

Walking Socks – Often overlooked in terms of importance, walking socks are almost as important as your footwear in avoiding walk-spoiling blisters and rubs. Be sure to wear quality socks designed specifically for walking, as these will give you the wicking properties, support, and padding in key areas that you’ll require. Different weights/thicknesses of walking sock are available for different conditions and seasons, as are thin liner socks for those who prefer the two-sock approach.

Walking Boots – A good pair of walking boots are vital for your walking enjoyment and safety. They should have a torsionally-supportive sole and good ankle support, and in the UK it is advisable to have a waterproof membrane too! If you’re walking mainly on good-quality paths, a pair of walking shoes may be sufficient – but this is partially down to preference. For greater detail on how to choose the right pair of walking boots for you, check out our guide to Choosing Walking Boots.

Gaiters – These are optional, but a good pair of waterproof gaiters will help prevent water overtopping your boots, and keep your lower legs dry if you’re planning on going off-trail. Especially useful for boggy terrain and wet grass!

Hat – Even when the weather is fair, it’s a good idea to pack a warm mountain cap or beanie, just in case temperature drops (as it will as you gain altitude).

Gloves – As above, it’s good proactive to pack a pair of gloves. A thin fleece pair will suffice in summer, but for the colder months, you should pack a warmer, weather resistant pair.

Equipment & Supplies

Daypack – You’ll want a daypack around the 20 to 35 litre mark, depending on season and the weight of your kit. It should have a comfortable back system and a supportive, padded waist belt to take the majority of the weight.

Dry Sack (Rucksack liner) – Vital in all parts of the UK year-round! A waterproof, roll-top rucksack liner keeps your food and kit dry even in the worst rain.

Map – It’s best to go for an Ordinance Survey (OS) Map in the UK, and for most walks 1:25000 scale is best, as it shows terrain in good detail.

Compass – You should carry a compass with you in wilderness areas, preferably of the type with a plastic baseplate (i.e. Siva Ranger-type) for taking bearings should you lose the trail, or the mist close in.

First Aid Kit – There’s a whole range of mountain first aid kits available! Be sure to include blister plasters, as well as a range of dressings/bandages and micropore tape – great for combating ‘hot-spots’ (rubs that turn into blisters).

Head Torch – Important to have in case you encounter unforeseen delays, and need to finish the walk after nightfall. Also useful for signalling (SOS) should you be stranded on the hill after dark.

Whistle – The easiest way of attracting attention should you find yourself immobilised if separated from your group. Louder and less tiring than shouting!

Survival Bag – This is something you’ll hopefully never need to use. Essentially a waterproof sack, survival bags sit packed up in the bottom of your rucksack until you or a colleague need to crawl inside for warmth in case of emergency.

Toilet Paper – This may seem like a strange one, but you never know when nature will call… and you can bet your bottom dollar that when you don’t have any, it will.

Hydration – Either water bottles or a bladder-type hydration system with drinking tube. Always take more water than you need.

Food – Last but certainly not least, you need to eat the right stuff to fuel you on the trail. Ensure that you’ve got a mix of slow-release carbs for day-long energy, and fast-release food. Be sure to keep a food reserve or emergency ration pack in case you’re caught out on the hill.

Seasonal Extras:

Sun Block – Important for summer walks – should be at least factor 25 for complete protection.

Insect Repellent – Another seasonal essential in most UK National Parks. If you’re going to Snowdonia, the Lake District or the Highlands in summer, this is vital if being a buffet for billions of midges isn’t your idea of a good time.

Sun Hat – Wide-brimmed type advisable to avoid sunstroke in the British summer.

Sunglasses – Advisable for summer walking, as they not only protect your vision, but also prevent headaches caused by hours of squinting.

Safety Note:

Before you head out to the hills, be sure to notify someone of your intended route, and give them an estimate of how long it will take. This way, if you do run into any trouble there will be someone who can alert the emergency services as to your whereabouts. At least if you’ve got everything on this list, you’ll be as prepared as you can be for all eventualities!