Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
You do not need any special clothes or gear to walk. However the one really important item of walking gear is a good pair of walking shoes or boots that fit comfortably, has a flexible sole and plenty of toe room. Do not skimp on footwear. You will get 500km of walking out of them and you will be rewarded with safe and comfortable walks.
Conditions will change as you walk. Sometimes you will be hot, sometimes feeling chilly. The way to deal with these changing conditions while you walk is to dress in layers. If you layer your clothing you can adjust to your body’s changing temperature by removing and putting on items as the need arises.
Wear three layers of clothing. The base layer will be next to your body and should be of lightweight wicking fabric. This will draw the moisture away from your body keeping you fresh and dry. The will dry quickly ensuring that you are not walking in damp clothing. Look for Coolmax fabrics or similar. When you wear several thin layers air gets trapped between the layers providing insulation which keeps you war.
The middle layer is the insulating layer. It can be a fleece, wool jumper or sweatshirt and trousers. Some full length trousers can be unzipped at the knee to create shorts. The material in this layer should also be lightweight and quick drying. This middle layer is designed to protect you from cold. Remember a couple of thinner layers are better than one heavy layer.
Make sure that the items are easy to put on and take off. Front zipped items are easier to remove than over the head items. In addition you can adjust the zip opening if you are too hot without taking off the fleece.
The outer layer is the layer which protects you from the weather. A good exterior jacket should be waterproof not just shower-proof. It should be lightweight and breathable. This means it should be capable of allowing the sweat which will accumulate to evaporate and keep you dry inside. A hood on the jacket is a must as it will keep your hat dry and protect from wind. Too many pockets in a jacket can be a nuisance. Decide on the essentials you wish to carry and check if there is a suitable pocket for that item.
Choose lightweight socks of wicking fabric which will draw the moisture away from your feet keeping them dry and blister free. I find two pairs of socks better than one heavy pair but that is a matter of personal preference.
Start you walk with all your layers on. As you get warmer remove a layer. Do the reverse if you are feeling chilly. A useful item of gear is a small backpack which will carry the removed clothing leaving your hands free.
Wear a hat in sunny weather to protect from sun stroke and on cold days to conserve body heat as we lose 70% of our body heat through our heads. A warm scarf and gloves are essential for cold weather
Finally a high visibility jacket is a must if you walk on country roads or walk in the dark.
You must be seen for safety
Here are some wicking base layer tee-shirts you might be interested in
Enjoy your walking and keep comfortable!