Walking Kit

 

Walking on Dartmoor can be difficult and even dangerous at times. Mist can descend without warning causing disorientation, sunny weather can change to rain, sleet & snow in an instant. On top of that Dartmoor is littered with mires & bogs in which you can find yourself waist deep very quickly.

To minimise these dangers and to stay safe on the Moor, it's essential to have the correct equipment and know how to use it! Below is my personal kit list. I don't take all of my kit out with me every time however I always make sure I take the 'basic' kit when I walk on the Moor. It's important to be prepared when you walk on Dartmoor!

 

My Walking Kit
     
Boots:
Berghaus Explorer Trek GTX
Probably the most important piece of you need. A good set of boots will protect your feet and ankles from the stresses of walking on the moor, at the same time keeping your feet dry and comfortable. These particular boots utilise Gore-Tex to stop moisture build up from the feet.
Boots
Trousers:
Craghopper Classic Kiwi
Trousers are important because they protect your legs from the elements as well as from the flora and fauna of the moor. It's important that they are lightweight and dry quickly while not restricting your movement. In colder weather can be used in conjunction with a thermal base layer.
Trousers
Lightweight Fleece:

 

Berghaus Spectrum Micro IA FZ AWL 100
I always wear or carry this fleece with me. It's light enough to wear on a warm day but thick enough to keep out the chill when a wind comes up. Personally I use it during spring, summer and autumn and sometimes with the TNF Rain jacket over the top. I believe the most essential item I have.

 

Fleece100
Mediumweight Fleece:

 

The North Face TKA 200
This is a standard thickness fleece and again, I always carry it in my pack if I am not wearing it. More substantial than the Berghaus, it's been used on the open ground of Dartmoor right through to the mountains of Scotland. Another piece of clothing I couldn't be without.

 

Fleece200
Waterproof Jacket:

 

The North Face Resolve Jacket
This is a great jacket as it's lightweight and packs down into a very small package. It's normally strapped under my pack where I can get to it easily if needed. Beside it's breathable (HyVent rather than Gore-Tex) waterproof properties it's also a good wind-stopper and works well over either of my two fleeces as proven on a recent climb of Ben Lawers in Scotland.

 

Waterproof
Waterproof Trousers:

 

Trespass Paka Waterproof Trousers
I haven't worn these trousers yet! I carry them just in case. Nothing special about them, they are just cheap waterproof trousers. Hopefully I won't find myself in a position where I need them.

 

WPTrousers
Base Layer:

 

Berghaus Relaxed SS Crew
The great thing about outdoor clothing these days is the use of modern fabrics. This top is made from an Argentium Tech T fabric which is stretchy and close fitting. It has a high wicking factor meaning it removed moisture from the skin and evaporates it so you don't get clammy as you are walking. I wear it on warm days and use it with my micro fleece.

 

Baselayer
Walking Socks:

 

Smartwool Hiking Socks
These are great 4-season socks that are comfortable to wear as well as protecting my feet. Smartwool is just a 'version' of wool that won't itch or shrink. Again it has good wicking properties so the feet remain dry even over the longest of walks.

 

Socks
Gaiters:

 

Berghaus GTX Gaiters
Essential items during wet walking on the moor. Because bogs and mires are so prevalent it's very easy to miss your footing and fill your boots up with some foul smelling liquid. Gaiters, although not stopping it entirely, do help to keep your feet dry inside your boots as well as protecting your legs from the sharp gorse you sometimes have to walk through.

 

Gaiters
Gloves:

 

Berghaus Spectrum Gloves
Obviously mainly used as a winter item although I do carry gloves in my pack at all times as you never know when you will need them. These Berghaus ones are thin enough to allow you to still use your fingers for things without having to remove them, while at the same time thick enough to keep your hands warm in the coldest of winds.

 

Gloves
Hat:

 

Watch Cap
The other item I'm never without. My old watch cap which I've had for well over 25 years and has served me well during my service with the RAF through to walking out on the moor. Again, always in my pack and ready to go if I need it. Even in the warmer weather, you need a hat just to keep your head warm in a strong breeze.

 

Hat
Scarf:

 

Shemagh
A relatively new find for me. Since getting one of these inexpensive scarfs I have found it so useful for keeping my neck warm as well as keeping the sun off my face on occasions.It's multi functional and I think that if I broke an arm I could even use it as a sling. Great piece of kit to have out on the moor.

 

Shemagh
Backpack:

 

The North Face Bigshot 33L Daypack
Probably the second most important piece of equipment. Having a good pack is essential for a comfortable walk. It needs to be able to hold everything you want to take while being as comfortable as possible. This pack also has a special pocket and opening for my hydration pack allowing the tube to sit right where I can get to it.

 

Pack
Backpack Raincover:

 

Lowe Alpine M Cover
Although my pack is waterproof I do carry a pack cover just to ensure the contents remain dry. This cover packs down into the tiniest of packages and weighs a couple of grams. It permanently lives in one of the wide pockets of my pack where I can get to it quickly if needed.

 

Cover
Hydration Pack:

 

Camelbak 2L Bladder + Hydration Gauge
I bought this a couple of years ago and haven't looked back since. It allows me to drink 'on-the-go' while also informing me of how much water I have left by way of a neat little gauge that is in-line with the drinking tube. The 2L version is great for most of my walks however sometimes I do also carry a 58 pattern water bottle that allows me to carry an additional litre of water.

 

Camelbak
Walking Poles:

 

Leki Makalu Teton Antishock Trekking Poles (x2)
More recently I have become a fan of walking with two poles rather than just one. I find it particularly easier when ascending tors and crossing rivers where sometimes you need to stabilise yourself. When it comes to poles there is only one make I would recommend and that's Leki. Their poles are second to none.

 

Poles
Compass:

 

Suunto MC-2
This item is absolutely essential. As previously stated, mist descends quickly and without warning on the moor and it's so easy to get completely lost very quickly. A good map & compass are a must when you venture onto the moor and you need to make sure you know exactly how to use them!

 

Comapss
Survival Bag:

 

Standard MOD Issue + Space Blanket
I carry this as a 'just in case'. I can't ever envisage having to use it, however it's better to plan for every occasion and this item weights a few grams and just packs into the bottom of my pack. I guess if I was ever out on my own on a cold day and managed to break my leg, I may be grateful I took it with me.

 

Bag
Flask:

 

Lifeventure TiV 0.7L
To me this is as important as carrying water. I am an avid tea drinker and even more so when I'm out on the moor. You can beat a good cup of tea out there! Not the lightest of options but a hard wearing and durable flask that you can't break. Slips nicely into the side mesh pocket on my pack.

 

Flask
First Aid:
Lifesystems First Aid Kit
Another essential piece of kit. If you are walking on the moor you must carry a first aid kit as it's easy to trip and injure yourself. A basic kit will contain a variety of plasters & bandages, a sling etc. I also carry heavy duty pain killers and antiseptic cream.
FirstAid
Cooking:

 

Military Crusader Cooking System
Not something I carry with me often. Most of my walks are well under six hours and a pack of sandwiches and stuff normally suffices. This cooking kit is brilliant and utilises a gel fuel that comes in sachets & doesn't smell (unlike the old Hexy stoves!). It's a very quick and easy way to heat things up rather than actually cooking!

 

Crusader
GPS Unit:

 

iPhone running Memory-Map
I am a great believer in map & compass skills however I can see the usefulness in carrying a GPS unit. I didn't particularly want to splash out on a dedicated unit so bought the Memory-Map app for the iPhone (which I carry anyway). The app allows me to upload my routes and works just like any other GPS system. I must admit that since I've been using it I've become rather fond of it!

 

iPhone
     
 

 

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