Planning a single or multi-day hike in the hills this season? Make sure you pack some of my favourite kit for mountain jaunts, from sturdy hiking boots and a light-as-a-feather jacket to a water bottle which could save your life.
1. Kouprey biking boots, Berg Outdoor, £101: You may not have heard of Berg yet, but you will – the innovative, stylish and outdoors-loving Portuguese brand has just launched a new website full of lovely stuff (my full review of their new season’s collection coming soon). These sturdy, fully waterproof boots are the star of their women’s footwear collection, and ideal for all seasons over varied terrain. Grippy Vibram soles, tough leather outers and comfy padding: dream hiking boots.
2. Collapsible cups, similar from Amazon, £9.68: These cute little cups fold up into tiny discs and are very light and easy to wash – a great alternative to carting around clunky tin cups for your morning coffee at camp.
3. Explorer Eco shirt, Berghaus, £55: Oh hello! It’s a hiking shirt which looks good enough to wear to the pub once you get down off the mountain. Berghaus’ Explorer is also light and breezy to wear, designed with eco-friendly nylon fabric to give you the warm fuzzies and treated with Polygiene odour free technology, ideal if you’re like me and tend to make it up to the summit in a sweaty mess.
4. Cordelia vest top, Tog 24, £29.99: A light, comfy cotton tunic is a versatile piece to pack for summer travels and hikes, and the dark colour of Tog 24’s lovely Cordelia version will hide the fact that you’ve worn it three days on the trot.
5. Waterproof phone case, Aquapac, £20: Even the balmiest sultry day can give way to rainstorms in a flash. Make sure you pack a change of clothes in a dry bag in your rucksack and slot your precious phone into an Aquapac phone case to keep it safe. You can even make calls and take pictures through it. Clever.
6. Life Straw Go water filter bottle, Cotswold Outdoor, £35: Water is one of the heaviest things to negotiate when packing a rucksack for a long hike, and if I know I’ll be near regular water sources on a walk I just take a Life Straw bottle instead. Simply fill the bottle up from a stream or a lake and the inner purifying tube will filter the contents into clean, safe, water. The Life Straw Go even has a carbon filter to take any brackish taste away. A possible life saver if you get lost, AND for each Life Straw product you buy, one school child in a developing country receives safe drinking water for a school year.
7. Petzl Tikkina headtorch, Joe Brown, £10: A simple, reliable head torch for evenings at camp, and an absolute steal at a tenner. I pack my Petzl for any adventure and it’s definitely one of the comfiest and lightest headtorches I’ve ever worn.
8. Mountain Equipment Kinesis jacket, Cotswold Outdoor, £150: I’ve been living in this windproof beauty of a jacket, which has a cosy quilted inner lining and an effective windproof outer. Polartec Alpha technology provides fantastic insulation whilst keeping the Kinesis breathable. It weighs in at 325g and packs into its own pocket, making it perfect for slinging on in chillier weather, or for wearing as a midlayer with a waterproof if the heavens open. Highly recommended.
9. Kyte 46 rucksack, Osprey, £130: For multi-day hikes look no further than stuffing all of your kit into the fantastic Osprey Kyte, which fits a couple of night’s camping gear and spare clothes perfectly. More importantly, it fits your body like a glove. Designed specifically for women’s bodies, the Kyte features comfortable straps which don’t dig into shoulders, chest and waist belts and a foam-panelled back which is supportive yet breathable. A built-in cover waterproofs your kit, and the backpack features my favourite Osprey feature, an ice axe loop. Because, you know, that makes you look cool.
10. Classic flask, Stanley, £17: It’s all about the little things when you’re camping, like a nip of whiskey by a fireside. A tough little stainless steel Stanley will take a huge amount of abuse at the bottom of your bag and keep your precious dram of Talisker safe for when you roll into camp.
11. Peter Storm waterproof trousers, Blacks, £20: I hate waterproof trekking trousers. No, really. They usually look terrible (do they model them on clown’s trousers?) and are hot, sweaty and uncomfortable to wear. You can get terrifyingly expensive pairs but I tend to hike in breathable, comfortable lightweight hiking trews or even leggings in summer, when you can get away with it, and carry a cheap and serviceable pair of waterproof trews somewhere accessible to pop on and off in rain showers.
12. P20 sun protection, Boots, £11.19: My new obsession is this vaguely chemical-smelling, quite expensive sun cream. Because it works and if it doesn’t matter if you’re as lazy as me, because you only need to apply it once. P20 creates a quick drying film of sun protection on your skin and even if you sweat, go wild swimming or frolic in the sea it’ll keep on working for 10 hours. My skiing and surfing mates swear by it, and now I do too.
13. Flipflops, Havaianas store, from £18: If walking across the Brecon Beacons with Jake Thompsett taught me anything, it’s that you need to air out your knackered feet in the evenings on a multi day hike, to let them dry and deal with possible blisters. Lightweight, durable and comfortable, Havaianas are worth having in your rucksack to whip out when you stop, so you can free your poor tootsies from your walking boots.
14. Verve 9 Hydration pack, Osprey, £70: Off on a day hike? Leave the Osprey Kyte at home and take its smaller cousin, the Verve Hydration pack. It’s nicely sized for packing a spare midlayer, suncream and other bits and bobs, and the integrated hydration pack means there’s no faffing about with water bottles. A great choice for cycling tours, too.