Hiking Essentials for Beginners

Make sure you have the right clothing and equipment for your hiking adventure with our hiking packing list and hiking essentials for beginners. If you’re new to hiking but you’re eager to get out and about to explore the fells and mountains, there are a few things that you’re going to need on your trip. We’ve put together the hiking essentials for beginners to ensure you have everything you need for safe and comfortable walks in the hills.

Clothing Hiking Essentials

Clothing is one of the most important things you need to consider before you set off. If you’re too cold, too warm, or don’t have the right footwear or waterproofs, it could be a very uncomfortable experience. You might be thinking it’s going to cost you a fortune to get kitted out, but don’t worry, there are always cheaper options for essential hiking gear that won’t break the bank. So, here’s what you’ll need on your upper half:

Upper Body Essentials

  • Waterproof jacket with good breathability
  • A mid-layer fleece jacket
  • A merino wool or synthetic base-layer top (try to avoid cotton)
  • A wool hat or sun hat depending on the weather
  • Thermal underwear
You can always remover layers if you get too hot but if you don’t have enough layers when it gets cold (trust me, it can be surprisingly nippy on the fell tops even if it’s a hot day on the ground), you’re going to feel the chill. What you wear on your bottom half is equally as important. Make sure you consider comfort as much as practicability.

Lower Body Essentials

  • Comfortable and quick-drying, waterproof pants that give you ease of movement
  • Thick, woollen socks (avoid cotton) to prevent blisters and keep your feet dry
  • Comfortable, waterproof boots or shoes with a good grip. Make sure you try the shoes/boots on with your walking socks as it’s likely you’ll need to buy a bigger size.

Hiking Packing List

So, once you’re all kitted out with your clothes, there are a few essentials for walking you’ll need to pack in your rucksack.
  • Investing in a decent rucksack with good weight distribution can save you a whole lot of back pain. Make sure it’s big enough to fit in all your hiking essentials.
  • First aid kit. Accidents happen so a first aid kit is a backpacking essential for beginners AND more experienced walkers.
  • Hiking towel. These are lightweight, absorbent and will easily fit into your rucksack. They come in handy for hot days and wet days.
  • Water bottle. Staying hydrated is so important when out on the fells so make sure you have at least one full water bottle.
  • Food and high protein snacks. Even if you think you’re only going to be out for a couple of hours, always take some food with you. You never know what could happen on your travels and an unforeseen incident might mean you become stranded for longer than you think.
  • Map and Compass. You can’t always rely on technology, especially when you’re going off grid into the mountains where it’s highly unlikely there’ll be a signal.
  • Spare socks. Packing a spare pair of socks can be a game changer, particularly if you didn’t wear your waterproof boots and you happen to trudge through a boggy patch or the heavens open.
  • Whistle. Just in case you get lost, a whistle is great for getting attention and letting people know where you are.
  • Torch. Just in case your timings are out, and you end up wandering around in the dark.
  • Power pack. Ok so it’s not really a hiking essential, but it will come in handy to charge your phone.
So now you have all the hiking essentials, it’s time to pack everything up and head out into the fells and enjoy your day! You’ll find lots of retailers online that stock everything you need for your hiking trip. Here are just a few to get you started:

George Fisher

Needle Sports

The Climbers Shop

If you want to become more experienced on the fells, check out our Mountain Skills Course.