Below is a list of all the kit, clothing and equipment I take with me on a day out scrambling in the mountains:
I have a pair of regular hiking boots (all leather and very heavy) that I use for hill walks and in mud but for scrambling, I own a pair of La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX boots.
While they aren’t great on wet grass and muddy slopes, they are perfect for grade 1 and 2 scrambles and I’ve even worn them on some challenging grade 3 routes as well.
Discover what makes a great scrambling boot here.
Comfy No-Smell Socks
A few years ago, I read an article about socks and how merino wool socks are anti-bacterial and don’t smell.
The author even claimed that these socks could be worn for days and would never honk.
Despite some hesitation and doubts and some baulking at the cost of these socks, I purchased my first pair.
I’m now the proud owner of an entire drawer of merino wool socks. Tried and tested by me, they just don’t smell, not even after 10 hours of scrambling and hiking around the Gyderau in Snowdonia.
I use socks from two brands:
Peter Storm jackets do the job for me, and they’ve never let me down.
I have a two-part grey and red jacket (see photo) with a removable inner layer which is perfect for winter and colder treks in spring and autumn.
I go as lightweight as possible in the summer and have a Peter Storm packable jacket that is just enough to keep the rain out but not so bulky that it fills my rucksack.
I must have the most robust backpack ever made, I’ve thrown everything at this bag, and it’s never let me down.
The material is heavy but thick and tough, the zips are strong, and there’s lots of padding on the shoulder straps. It also has ample storage space rather than lots of smaller pockets, so it’s ideal for large bottles of water, my lightweight jacket and a lunch pack.
My bag isn’t perfect, and I believe it’s better suited to someone under 6ft tall (I’m 6ft2) as the shoulder straps are quite close together, and the chest strap is a little tight when I wear winter clothes. The material is also quite rough, and someone with sensitive skin could find that it scratches.
But for me, ruggedness trumps all else, and I’ve owned this MountainTop bag for four years, and it’s still going strong.
40 litres is the perfect size for me but I like extra space for my camera, small tripod, lots of water and a spare item of clothing.
Update 2023: I’m now using a Mutant 38 Bag. See on Amazon (#ad)
Tops and Trousers
I never wear cotton or denim as it’s terrible when wet; all my tops are made from synthetic wicking material that keeps me dry. Also, I prefer lots of thinner layers in winter rather than one thick jumper as the air pockets between each layer act as an insulator.
I’m not a fan of waterproof trousers and only wear them in winter; otherwise, I wear shorts. However, if the weather forecast is for rain, I usually take a pair of packable ultra-lightweight trousers; these are enough to keep the rain out and offer some protection from the wind but are small enough to fit into a pocket within my backpack.
First Aid Kit, Winter Shelter and Whistle
A whistle is cheap, lightweight and a great way to request assistance should you slip, fall or otherwise injure yourself.
There are also plenty of compact first aid kits that fit snugly into backpacks yet contain enough bandages and plasters for cuts and minor injuries.
In winter, I always take my Vango 200 Storm Shelter; it’s cheap, lightweight, windproof, waterproof and once the drawstring is tightened, the temperature inside increases by about 10 degrees.
The best map for North Snowdonia is OS-17 which is at 1:25,000 scale – perfect for hiking and route finding with 4cm representing 1k on the map.
A compass is always handy but only if you know how to use it.
I *always* take a battery powerbank (#ad) and a cable for my phone when I go hiking or scrambling.
I’ve read incident reports where it took hours for the rescue team to reach the patient and running out of battery power could be a disaster for me as I often go scrambling alone.
Helmets are a personal choice and I wear one in the winter when I’m more likely to slip and when I’m going up a gully where there’s a risk of parties ahead of me knocking rocks or stones down onto me.
Finally, I have the What3Words app just in case I need to give the location to Mountain Rescue – I have witnessed two helicopter rescues and three on-foot rescues in the last decade so this app makes sense, and it’s free. The OS Locate app is very poor on Android phones and currently the grid references only pinpoint to within 100 metres of the actual location.
My Favourite Scrambling Book:
I sometimes take this book with me; it’s the best scrambling book for Snowdonia with over 80 routes listed and is compact, and has a plastic waterproof cover.
Scrambles in Snowdonia by Steve Ashton (#ad)
About Daniel Woodley
Thanks for reading my kit list.
I usually go as lightweight as I can in the summer but I always take a qikpac jacket, battery powerbank, map, compass, whistle and first aid bag.
In the winter, I take extra layers and the Vango shelter which is really lightweight, just in case the weather changes.
Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler