/ Noob - Wanting some recommendations

L Mabbsy - on 16 Sep 2016

Hi,

I'm a noob to walking and really, I'm just after some kit recommendations. I'll only be walking...not climbing.

I'm due to spend a long weekend in and around Snowdonia at the end of October. I'm not really sure what kit I need to take. I'm thinking baselayer, fleece and water proof....but no clue which brands/models to go for.

If anyone is willing to point me in the right direction, it would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Post edited at 12:08
fromsinkingships on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

I have some craghoppers gear (thermal jacket, fleece, waterproof jacket) and I think for the price it performs really well.
SenzuBean - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

It would help if you could give some specifics of what you plan to do when you get to Snowdonia, and whether you're looking to get into walking as a hobby, or just for the one trip to do something nice.

There is a world of difference in requirements between say going for a 2 hour stroll around Llyn Idwal in fair weather, and an 8 hour traverse of the Carneddau in poor weather. Obviously if you buy really good quality kit, it'll be fine for easy stuff - but if you're only planning easy stuff in fair weather, then you don't need to spend lots of money.
buxtoncoffeelover - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

Hi Mabbsy
Decathlon own brand kit (Quechua) is a good place to start. Layering is the idea as you already seem to know. Extra/spare warm layer for rest stops (eg synthetic jacket can be had cheaply). Hat (or a headband keeps ears & forehead warm on uphill stretch whilst reducing overheating), gloves (& spare pairs), neck warmer/buff/scarf. A golf-type visor hat helps keep rain off glasses & improves shape/fit of cheap waterproof hoods. A cheap softshell (Regatta, Gelert, Quechua) works well as a midlayer option. Good socks (maybe liner & thicker pair combined) & maybe gaiters if wandering through boggy valleys rather than rocky ridges. May be necessary to increase sizing of successive layers - best to try them all on together in shop!!
L Mabbsy - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to SenzuBean:

Thanks for your response. I see I didn't really post enough info!

I've been walking a lot over the summer and I've really enjoyed it. So much so that I'm looking to carry it on into the winter, and look to go further a field from my base in the cotswolds. My trip to Snowdon is with some more experienced people, so I'd say we'd be looking at 6-8 hours hikes for 4 days.

Ideally I'd like to get something of reasonable quality to last me a few winters.
GrahamD - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

My advice would be to concentrate on your feet and get something that fits. The difference between fitting and non fitting footwear is way more significant tthan the difference between a regatta fleece and a top of the range 'shell'
SenzuBean - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

> Thanks for your response. I see I didn't really post enough info!

> I've been walking a lot over the summer and I've really enjoyed it. So much so that I'm looking to carry it on into the winter, and look to go further a field from my base in the cotswolds. My trip to Snowdon is with some more experienced people, so I'd say we'd be looking at 6-8 hours hikes for 4 days.

> Ideally I'd like to get something of reasonable quality to last me a few winters.

Sounds good

My advice:
- Decent waterproof jacket. Goretex Pro is very hard wearing, and will last you a few years at least. Brands don't matter too much, as long as the jacket fits well, and is well made (that's usually why people buy expensive brands, to get a better chance of having these). The technology hasn't changed in a few years, so nothing wrong with getting slightly older stuff as long as it's well made. You want a jacket that's big enough to not be tight with a fleece on, but also not so big the sleeves get in the way. A bit of material covering your arse is a very nice feature when the rain is wind driven, or you sit down on it. Some people hate pit zips, some swear by them. I love pit zips, because I can sweat a lot if I'm moving quickly, and I find that no breathable fabric comes close to the ventilation of pit zips. If you sweat a lot, I recommend a jacket with pit zips.
- Decent waterproof trousers. Those crinkly paclite ones are okay for emergency use, but if you want to walk in winter - they're terrible. A common thing to do in winter (or very rainy weather) is to not use trousers at all, and simply wear your waterproof trousers over top of your underpants, or over a pair of thermals. So I'd get a pair that has straps, or the option to fit straps. At the moment you can get a really good deal on Montane Astro ascent ones, which fulfill these requirements.
- Fleece with full front zip. I'd recommend one with few seams, as the fancy stitched ones pull apart at the seams exposing the heat underneath. This I'd use as your midlayer, as the insulation when wet is still very high (unlike most other mid-layers).
- Boots. There is no one "boot to rule them all", that's the only rule. In nice weather, I'd recommend trail runners (they breathe easily, and stop your feet from swelling and blistering). Then as weather gets colder and wetter, flexible waterproof boots (if you want to walk in October, this is what you'll want unless we have the Indian summer of the century). Then only when you're planning to walk up hard snow and ice, would I recommend harder winter boots (they will be sold as B1/B2/B3 boots - no need for them now IMO).

Hope there's at least some useful info in there.
zimpara - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

Get a good pair of boots and a nice daysack. Oh and some walking poles!
The Lemming - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to SenzuBean:
All the boxes have been ticked there.

maybe also think about what sort of rucsac you will need to carry all your kit in winter.

This is a huge minefield and one where people will argue over till the cows come home.

My personal preference would be to get a sac with a climber's design. This is not because you may want to take up climbing in the future, but rather more so because these sacs have no external pockets to snag onto while on the hill. You don't want to look like a stereotypical walker with all sorts of stuff hanging from your sac.

Also, when you do progress to walking on the white stuff, these sacs will have placements for axes and crampons. You may not intend to do winter walking for a while but if you invest in a good sac then you have options.

Top tip, buy cheap and pay twice.

So buy the best that you can afford when it comes to stuff like sacs, boots and waterproof jackets. The initial outlay will seem high but when you average out their cost to years of faithful service then you will be glad of the wise investment.

I still use sacs and boots bought as far back as the 90's
Post edited at 15:06
ChrisH89 - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

If you intend to do mountain walking in winter it's probably best to have more insulation available than a single fleece as this will not keep you warm on an extended stop, which could be forced if you were injured or came across someone else in need of help. Belay jackets, group shelters and blizzard bags all work well for this. As someone else mentioned you may need ice axe/crampons for winter mountain walking but I'm guessing that's outside the scope of your question.
Scarab9 - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

some much more gear nerdy people than me on here so I won't do much on that other than to say I've done some serious adventures in all weather and seasons in 2nd hand off this site and decathlon gear. Clever layering and good fit overcomes the need for expensive gear.

I am however also pretty hardy and able to put up with discomfort. I don't get cold easy and will be the knob head still running around the hills in shorts when it's snowing for example, and would rather wear light trail shoes and have wet feet that dry fast than have good waterproof boots that weight more.

My point is that it's good to do some research now, but don't feel you need to know all this straight off, you'll get to know what you need physically and mentally as you go. If you're with experienced people then it will come easier.

So for prep for this first few colder/higher walks I'd suggest having some redundancy in your kit. Your mates might laugh at you having a much bigger bag than them, but it's better to have a spare pair of socks, waterproof trousers on a sunny day, too many upperbody layers, and a 3 course meal in your bag than be at the furthest point from camp soaked, freezing and hungry. Slim down later.
And if your mates laugh, that's what rocks and sheep skulls are for! (putting in their bags when they're not looking)

ps. fit is the big thing. You might have the most technical gear in the world, but if it doesn't fit well the wind and rain will get in and it will chafe and rub you like mad.
L Mabbsy - on 19 Sep 2016
Wow....thanks everyone. I really appreciate you all taking the time to reply with your knowledge and wisdom.

I'm definitely feeling like I have much more of an idea about what I need for my trip and also longer term.

I think a trip to go outdoors is on the cards for an idea of fit and form...then I'll probably scour the internet for the best prices in the items I decide on.

Thanks again everyone!!!!!
GrahamD - on 19 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

If you go to Go Outdoors, they price match (possibly even beat) on line prices anyway so if you find something you like, just do a web search there and then and show them the result.
ads.ukclimbing.com
marsbar - on 19 Sep 2016
In reply to Mabbsy:

I would suggest soft shell trousers.