Most Important – Boots and Socks
There are two types of walking boots. Walking boots made from leather, and walking boots made from fabric. Gortex linings are recommended as the most waterproof.
Hill walking boots have a hard-wearing sole unit to give support and strength to your feet and to provide torsional control as you walk.
These are usually made from high-carbon content rubber; Vibram being the market leader. Anti clogging soles are common in hill walking boots, where the soles design is able to avoid building up with mud and dirt.
If you have been fitted correctly, your hiking boots should fit perfectly with hiking socks on, and a liner sock should not have any negative effects on space within the boot as they are very slim.
We advise always having spare socks and suggest that walkers wear everyday shoes to the walk so as to protect car interiors when lift sharing.
NB – Some walkers wear sandals in Summer. Wearers should be mindful of ground conditions as well as stings and bites!
Rucksack / Haversacks
Walkers should ensure they carry sufficient food and drink. We usually stop for ‘morning coffee’ at around 11am, lunch around 1pm and sometimes afternoon tea at 3pm. We often visit a tea-shop or café on the way home from our walks. Haversacks should be robust – shoulder bags are not recommended – a waterproof cover can be useful in heavy showers.
Waterproof and windproof wear
Devon is not always blessed with glorious sunshine !
A good quality waterproof – not just showerproof – jacket is essential.
A cheap, lightweight cagoule will do the job but if you plan to do a lot of walking, consider a jacket made from breathable material.
To stop your trousers and socks from getting wet and muddy you can wear waterproof over-trousers or gaiters (knee-high waterproofs which attach to the boot).
Look after your waterproofs carefully. Washing them incorrectly can make your jackets and trousers less waterproof and the waterproofing will also wear out over time. Some fabrics can be re-waterproofed – check with the manufacturer.
Several thin layers are more useful than one thick layer, as warm air gets trapped between the layers and provides insulation. This also means that you can add or remove layers as your temperature changes.
Between the base layer and jacket you can add mid-layers to stay warm. Wool and fleece are great at providing insulation and are quick to dry.
Tracksuit bottoms or everyday casual trousers are fine for the average walk. Not jeans. However, if you’re going to be walking regularly, or walking long distances, specialist walking trousers may be best. Synthetic walking trousers are popular among regular walkers, since they are lightweight, quick-drying and have handy pockets. Shorts are ok if the weather is fine, although long trousers offer better protection against brambles, nettles and ticks.
Head and hands
Wear a warm woollen hat in winter to protect your head and ears from the cold and a sunhat in summer to protect you from the sun’s rays. Also, remember to use sun-cream on bare skin, especially if you’re out walking for long periods, as it’s possible to get burnt even when it’s cloudy.
Insulated gloves are important in cold weather, especially for those who have circulation problems. To walk comfortably with a good posture you should be able to swing your arms freely, so putting your hands in your pockets is not an option.
Karen Howes – Committee Member