So you have bought your new walking clothing and you are ready to head out, or are you? Your gear isn’t the only thing you should be considering when getting ready to enjoy the great outdoors. For all but the shortest and easiest recreational walks some preparation and planning is required that can help turn a walk into an enjoyable day out away from the normal hustle and bustle.

Map/Directions: Obvious, but has to be said, make sure you have the walk directions and map. Printouts of the directions are also useful, and remember to put your compass in with your kit too, just in case you get lost. GPS apps and fancy kit are always useful too.

Walking Time: This will be influenced by a lot of factors including distance, ascent and descent, weather conditions, and most importantly the fitness of the walker, and my personal favourite how much time I spend simply admiring the landscape around me, especially when taking pictures. So allow at least half an hour per mile when starting out. This can be altered depending on the walk you are planning. In addition it’s always a good idea to let someone know what your plans are, just in case! 

Weather Forecasts: Before you set out check out the latest forecast for the area you will be travelling through, and allow for wind direction as a strong wind can make a walk, even on a sunny day, a little unpleasant. It can also alter your choice of kit, especially at the last minute.

Food and Drink: Even if you have a planned stop at a local café or hostelry, or more than one on a long walk, make sure you are carrying enough snacks and drinks to get you through the day.

Walking Kit: Always make sure you have the right gear for the walk you are undertaking. So footwear should be walking boots or shoes. Clothing should include suitable trousers/shorts, top (shirt/polo/t-shirt), and waterproof (jacket and or overtrousers). Depending on time of year what you wear and what you pack can vary, but an extra warm sweater or fleece is a good idea even in the British summer. Also remember to get a small first aid kit as this is always useful. All extra kit plus your food and drinks should be packed into your rucksack, as this means your hands are always free. Another item to pack in the summer is sun-screen, again obvious but has to be said.

Walking is a great way of seeing the countryside, and of keeping fit and active at the same time. Following simple guides to what walking clothing should be taken can add to the pleasure as you know you are ready for anything.