Equipment Considerations for Challenge Events
As our guides will be carrying all the safety / 1st aid equipment, you only have to think about what you are personally wearing – which is quite enough on its own!
Base Layer: This is an easy one – anything apart from cotton! – Ideally a synthetic ‘high wicking’ fabric. This will transport sweat away from your body, and allow it to evaporate, whilst keeping your skin dry.
Mid [Thermal] Layer: Again this should allow sweat to pass through, and ideally remain warm whilst wet. Fleece has been around for a number of years and fits all these criteria, although it does tend to be quite bulky. A newer alternative would be something like the Montane POLARTEC, although this does cost more.
Waterproof Jacket and Trousers: These should be made of some breathable material, of which there are now many types. Gore-Tex is still the best known, but faces competition from Event fabric and Dri-lite by Mountain Equipment. The lighter (and thinner) the garment, the better it will breath [and the less sweaty you will get!] but at the expense of durability.
Footwear / Socks: Together these are the most important piece of equipment you will buy. PLEASE DON’T purchase them the day before the event, they will rapidly kill your feet, and you will not complete the challenge!
For walking challenges, there is nothing wrong with ‘old fashioned’ leather boots, and they more than likely will last far longer than the newer fabric boots, but they do generally require more looking after and certainly need breaking in for longer when you first buy them. Fabric boots should have some sort of breathable liner, to keep your feet dry and sweat free, and will require re-proofing regularly to maintain their best performance. They are generally warmer than leather boots, so if you get hot feet, they may not be your best choice! Whichever type you are looking for, we strongly suggest you go to a large, professional outdoor shop with a wide range of models and manufactures, as sizing does vary between the brands. Please also go with an open mind, and let the fitter guide you to the best pair, rather than the pair in your favourite colour!
Finally the socks you wear in them are equally important. The idea of wearing two thin pairs of socks has really gone out with the arc – you are better off with one thick sock, as this is less likely to wrinkle up and cause pressure points. Please get several pairs of socks, so that you can rotate them between mountains.
Bridgedale socks are simply the best!
Hats / Gloves: Although we hope for warm weather(!), we are in the great outdoors, so please bring these too! They don’t need to be waterproof, but please ensure that they are made out of fleece of similar – wool or cotton is a waste of space, as it simply cools you down when it gets wet – not what you generally need in the UK!
Any of Mobile Adventures groups are entitled to a 15% discount at ANY Cotswold Outdoor Shop in the UK, or their on-line service.