Walking Gear - What to Buy, and Where to Buy it

What to Buy

There are no high mountains in the south east, so you do not need too much expensive equipment.

In the summer you’ll need a hat, sun lotion, and a large water bottle (you’ll be outside for several hours). For your feet, trainers are fine. Especially on hot summer day, drink plenty of water, more than you think you need – it makes a big difference (pubs will often refill your water bottle for free).

In the winter, you’ll need proper waterproof walking boots because of the mud.

At all times of year, a compass is strongly recommended to check directions, and so is a waterproof jacket if there is any chance of rain. Some people like walking poles, but its a personal choice.

What to buy - walking boots

In the summer you have a choice of open (sandal style) walking shoes, trainers, as well as traditional walking boots

In winter you will need something waterproof. Lighter with a flexible sole is better. Don't buy a stiff boot suitable for crampons - they are very heavy and tiring to walk in.

The secret to healthy blister-free feet is to keep them dry. This means stopping water coming in, and also letting sweat escape as well. Some people like totally waterproof shoes made with a "Gore Tex" or "Event" breathable lining. Others think that they are not breathable enough, and you feet end up drowning in their own sweat even on a dry day, which encourages fungus and hard dry flaky skin. The jury is out, but if you use them, and find your socks damp when you take them off, try using antiperspirant on you feet while you get used to them.

What to buy - waterproofs

You could but a cheap lightweight waterproof mac that you can keep in your rucksack - after all, you probably wont got if its going to be heavy rain. Look for "taped seams" (otherwise the rain comes in through the stitching)

There are more expensive 'breathable' jackets

But if you decide to buy a top of the range breathable jacket (it lets sweat evaporate, but keep the rain out), you have to decide between 2 options

Where to Buy

High Street Chains

Specialist in outdoor gear

Other place to try

Specialist Retailers and the Internet

Decathlon

Also worth visiting, and in a class of its own, is Decathlon (www.decathlon.co.uk), a French sports mega store with a wide range of everything for walking, by Surrey Quays tube station, and another near the Croydon IKEA.