Are you thinking of joining a hiking group?
Generally speaking, hiking is one of the most accessible activities to get into.
Unlike most other sports, you can easily join up with a group and not have to worry about ‘making a team’.
Most walking groups, including our own, are incredibly inclusive. They walk at varied paces, so that all abilities can join and are generally social rather than competitive, so you’re likely to make friends instead of rivals.
As much as walking groups tend to be very approachable, there are just a few pieces of important equipment that you will need to purchase before you start, especially if you’re considering heading out on some long distance walks in the wild. Before you sign up to Aberdeen Rambling Walkers, or any other walking group, make sure that you’ve at least got these basics, so that you’re not starting on the back foot:
Sturdy 2 litre water bottle
The importance of hydration should never be underestimated.
Even though you might not break a sweat hiking with us, you’ll still be losing body fluids as the day goes on. Although some hikers will swear by their soft plastic bladders, there’s no real replacement for a sturdy water bottle. Buy just one of these and you’ll be set for a decade. By all means purchase a bladder at a later date, but this should be the very first item on your shopping list.
Sturdy shoes or walking boots
The sturdiness of shoe you require will depend on the intensity of the walk that you’re intending on going on.
For example, if you were planning on joining one of our city-based ambles (like our recent walk in Aberdeen) then you’re not going to need anything overly bulky. There are a big range of shoes you can purchase these days, from hybrid walking trainers to larger, rugged boots. Either way, if you’re looking to save money then it’s a good idea to find a retailer that sells end of line stock. These boots will be last year’s models but should be perfectly serviceable for your needs (and a lot cheaper).
A decent 25-30 litre rucksack is required should you wish to go hiking anywhere.
Any hikes that take you out into the wilderness will require you to pack a change of clothes, waterproofs (see below) as well as enough food and emergency rations to keep you going, should the worst happen. Buying a rucksack secondhand on Ebay or Gumtree is a good option, but always be sure that you’re not buying a tired or worn product. Buying new will guarantee that your rucksack will be in good nick and should last you at least a few years.
It doesn’t matter where you’re going for a walk, waterproofs are as essential as a fully topped up water bottle.
When it comes to purchasing a waterproof jacket or set of trousers, skimping out is really not recommended. Buying secondhand gear will come back to bite you at a later date, you’ll have no idea how waterproof your jacket is until you’re rained on and excessive wear can cause the stitching to become compromised – making your coat completely ineffective. Buy new and buy branded goods from a trusted retailer, you’ll be glad of it when you need to pull them on in the pouring rain.