Walking Holidays – What Kit Do I Need?

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Going on holiday abroad is soooo last season (ok, not really, but I’m making myself believe that!). But last year, my fiancé and I had just started saving towards our wedding, and so we decided to go on a walking holiday in the UK as a way of getting away for less.

We both love being outdoors and exploring (part of the reason why we’ve both signed up as National Trust members), and we love walking too. Darren had been on a mountain biking holiday to Edale with his friends a few years before, and I’d been to Buxton and Bakewell with my brother when he was at university in Derby, so we thought that Buxton would be a nice, central place to stay for our trip. So we booked up four nights in the Peak District and set on our way.

The views in the Peak District are just phenomenal, and we started our trip with a 12 mile walk in Edale, finishing with the steps of Jacob’s Ladder and placing a stone on the cairn to continue the tradition. We also visited Bakewell (of course getting a slice of Bakewell pudding!) and Eyam (charmingly known as “the plague village”), as well as taking in another lovely walk, this time around Ladybower Reservoir where we saw some stunning sights.

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Costs and Kit

With a self-catering apartment, plus some food shopping, two meals out and petrol, our holiday cost us a little over £600. We did also spend a fair whack on kit (I was also lucky enough to be given a few things to try out), but this was an investment and will definitely be worn for more trips. Here is the kit I would recommend for a holiday like this.

Walking boots and good socks

Yes, they may not be the most fashionable things you’ve ever owned, but walking boots are getting better and better in design. We both wore fairly new boots, Darren’s were a slightly more sturdy style, while mine were more like trainers in feel. We tried to break them in in the weeks before going, but hadn’t really gotten out as much as we should have (and certainly not in tough terrain like the Peaks!), but surprisingly I didn’t get a single blister. The combination of SOLE socks and my Merrell boots (both kindly gifted) clearly did the trick. Unfortunately Darren didn’t escape quite so lightly, despite wearing another brand of double layer socks.

I’d previously tried the SOLE trainer socks, which I really liked, but this time I had a longer length pair to try – perfect to wear with the high-top of the boots. They were really comfortable, with the second layer sliding seamlessly over the skin-tight base layer.

SOLE Dual Layer Crew socks, £13.95.

The Merrell boots, meanwhile, were able to be tightened as much or as little as you liked (I’d recommend fairly tight for the most support), and were flexible enough to allow for movement when climbing some of the more difficult terrain. They are designed as a lightweight, versatile shoe, and definitely fit the bill. Don’t let this fool you into thinking they’re not strong though, they were very protective and held up to the trails very well.

Merrell Grassbow Mid Sport boots, £120.

A water/windproof jacket

This came in so handy as the weather was very changeable. I bought my jacket from GO Outdoors, which is great for bargain kit – sign up for the discount card and you get even better prices on everything in store and online. It was such a great fit, and kept me warm enough on the top of the peaks. It’s also waterproof, which luckily I didn’t need to test, and had lots of pockets, including a huge pocket for your map.

Regatta Calderdale Women’s jacket, £44.99 £25.

Walking trousers and t-shirts for layering

I opted to buy walking trousers for comfort as I thought jeans might be a little restrictive, and leggings didn’t seem right for the type of walking we would be doing. I bought two pairs, both from GO Outdoors, one was by Craghoppers and the other were Berghaus. They were both zip-off style, meaning I could easily convert them from full length into shorts, which was great for the hot days! They were both really comfortable and stretchy enough for taking big steps in steep climbs.

Walking Legwear from GO Outdoors, ~£35-40.

As for clothing for the top half, under my jacket I layered simple long-sleeved tees with shorter-sleeved tees over the top. SUNDRiED, a brand that is “all about the outdoors”, has some great t-shirts (and other clothing/accessories) for those who love the outdoors. I got this great “cycle” print t-shirt to try out and it’s perfect for layering, along with my CrossFit Raeda tee, of course! SUNDRiED also have “run” and “swim” versions of the same, as well as other prints and graphics.

SUNDRiED t-shirts for the active, £30.

Accessories

As well as the clothing, we also needed items to help us along the way, including (perhaps obviously) something to carry it all in. Things you might want to consider:

Trekking poles – we borrowed some from my dad and, despite a bit of ego as to whether we’d need them in the first place, they came in SO handy! When you’re walking up fairly steep climbs you can use them to help you keep up a good level of speed, and reduce the impact on your joints, among other reasons.

Flask and cups – essential for the top of a peak, there’s nothing better than a hot cup of tea and a pork pie… but you didn’t hear that from me 😉

Sun screen and sunglasses – we used a sports version of Ultrasun sun screen, which was a clear, fast absorbing, non-greasy, non-sticky gel and it kept us burn-free and comfortable the whole time. I just took an ordinary pair of fashion glasses, but had we been doing lots more walking I might have considered taking sports sunglasses.

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Camera and backpack – I took my Canon DSLR 1100d, and carried it in a purpose-built backpack which had space for the lenses and tripod… but unfortunately not much else. I didn’t end up using the other lenses so next time I’ll probably go for a backpack with a built in bladder to carry water rather than carrying bottled water in a camera backpack.

Map and guidebooks – we bought a map of the area we would be staying, and a book of walks with routes including the two long walks we did while we were away. These were great to set a rough plan of the week, and we found them really useful for picking out some of the best scenery.

Walking holidays are a great way of taking time away while also keeping fit. Check out this post I wrote for ideas of how to keep fit on holiday for those resort holidays! Have you ever had a walking holiday? Where would you recommend, and what kit did you take?

4 Comments

  1. 17th April 2015 / 2:41 pm

    I just went on a walking holiday to Snowdon- I used some pink hiking boots from Karrimor at Sports Direct which were great. A waterproof jacket from Victoria’s Secret (of all places)! And some thermal running leggings.

    • 17th April 2015 / 2:51 pm

      I saw your brilliant pictures of your climb on Facebook! Well done! I’d love to give that a go one day. I had absolutely no idea Victoria’s Secret did waterproof jackets!

  2. 19th April 2015 / 7:58 pm

    I’ve never been on a walking holiday, but that’s mostly because the other half is not a fan of walking or being outdoors really ha. I have those Merrell shoes but in the trainer rather than boot version, they are really good walking shoes.

    • 19th April 2015 / 8:05 pm

      Oh that’s a shame! Maybe he’d enjoy it if he gave it a go? Or have you already tried that one?! They really are good shoes aren’t they, I’m looking forward to using them more again now the weather’s better!

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