Beginners Hiking Kit and Equipment List for a Challenge Walk

Beginners Essential Kit and Equipment List for a Challenge Walk 

Why you Need Good Kit for Hiking

You need to be comfortable and safe to do any challenge walk. No doubt the challenge will be hard enough without having badly performing kit.

We are not saying you need to spend a fortune but trust us- spending a little extra on some trousers that don’t chafe or shoes that don’t cause blisters will be the difference between you completing the challenge or not and actually enjoying it.

Best Essential kit list for successful challenge walks

Below is a list of products that we have either used ourselves for our adventures or friends who recommend them. They are a mid range level of clothing that will last but not cost the earth. In the future we will also compile similar kit lists for long distance trekking, overnight wild camping and scrambling- watch this space (or subscribe to our updates!) 


 Hiking Clothes kit list

1. Hiking boots

We recommend a good brand like Solomon or Berghaus. A personal favourite of mine are Berghaus Expeditor boots which I used to complete the National and Yorkshire 3 peaks in and also the Lake District 24 peaks.

Berghaus Expeditor walking best boots for challenge hiking

Berghaus Expeditor walking boots (mens)

Berghaus Expeditor Walking Boots (womens)


 2. Walking socks

Bridgedale make very good socks. For a challenge walk we recommend a mid weight sock that has plenty of support. The following are a good all rounder:

Bridgedale midweight hiking best socks for challenge hiking

Bridgedale midweight hiking sock (mens)

Bridgedale midweight hiking sock (womens)

3. Waterproof jacket with hood

It’s hard not to be a snob about waterproof jackets as generally the better, more expensive the make, the longer it will last and better it will perform.

Regatta make more affordable jackets which perform well for challenge walks. I have used this jacket in the past which was a great starter jacket when I first started hiking:

Regatta Oklahoma waterproof jacket best for challenge hiking

Regatta Oklahoma Waterproof Jacket (womens)

Regatta Oklahoma Waterproof jacket (mens)

Mountain Equipment- we both now use mountain equipment jackets for our mountain adventures (including long distance treks, high altitude climbing and skiing) and they perform really well. If you think you will be doing a lot more hiking then it would be worth considering the following jacket:

Mountain Equipment women quarrel jacket best jacket for challenge hiking

Mountain Equipment Women’s Quarrel Jacket (womens)

Mountain Equipment Men’s Quarrel Jacket (mens)

4. Waterproof trousers

This is nice and easy- Berghaus make the following excellent waterproof trousers that easily undo and slip over boots and trousers and perform really well:

Berghaus deluge waterproof trousers best for challenge hiking

Berghaus Deluge Waterproof Overtrousers (womens)

Berghaus Deluge Waterproof Overtrousers (mens)

5. Walking Trousers

There are 2 types of walking trousers that we would recommend depending on how much hiking you intend on doing.

Craghoppers make the following trousers which are affordable and are very comfortable:

 Craghoppers kiwi trousers best for challenge hiking

Craghoppers Kiwi trousers (mens)

Craghoppers Kiwi trousers (womens)

We use the following Montane trousers all year round for hiking and skiing and they last and perform so well. They are a great trouser for anyone thinking of doing lots of hiking in the future:

Montane Terra pants best for challenge hiking

Montane Terra Hiking Pants (Womens)

Montane Terra Hiking Pants (Mens)

6. Fleece mid layer

Craghoppers & Trespass make affordable fleeces that are great for chucking on and off as you need them throughout the day:

Trespass women saskia zip best fleece for challenge hiking

Tresspass womens Saskia Ultralight Microfleece (womens)

Craghoppers Men’s Corey Half Zip Fleece (mens)

7. Walking T Shirt

A good quality T Shirt is essential to keep you dry and comfortable. I use Montane T-shirts for everyday hiking as they are a good fit and don’t get smelly!

Montane Dart Best T-Shirt for challenge hiking

Montane Dart T-Shirt (mens)

Montane Dart T-Shirt (womens)

8. Insulating Jacket (optional)

We never go out on a mountain day without a insulating jacket because the weather can turn at any point and you can get really cold. However- they are not cheap (hence us saying optional). We both use RAB Microlite jackets which are excellent and worth every penny. They also look nice casually too so end up wearing them all the time.

RAB Microlight alpine jacket best for challenge hiking

RAB Microlight Jacket (womens)

RAB Microlight Jacket (mens)

9. Beanie Hat

To stop you getting a cold head and also to cover up wild mountain hair! I use RAB beanies and always have them in my pack. I prefer these to bobble hats as they go under helmets easier (skiing and climbing)

RAB Beanie best hat for hiking

Rab Logo Beanie Hat

10. Buff

Great for keeping your neck warm and you can also use them on hot days to keep hair out of your eyes instead of a hat (which you would probably be too warm in.

Buff best headwear for hiking

Buff Original- one size/unisex

11. Gloves

Mountain Equipment make the following mountain glove which is lightweight, warm but still give you dexterity.

Mountain Equipment touch screen best hiking gloves

Mountain Equipment Touch Screen Gloves

Walking Equipment Kit List

1. Walking Poles

We can recommend the 2 following types (having used them both)

Black Diamond trail best trekking poles for challenge hiking

Black Diamond Trail Trekking PolesThese are a great mid range pole which are comfortable and have decent clips for making them smaller (cheaper poles tend to have clips that break really easily)

Black Diamond Alpine FLZ trekking poles best for challenge hikes

Black Diamond Alpine FLZ Trekking Poles- These are more expensive but fold up completely and are really light and have a lovely comfy grip.

2. Rucksack

 We use osprey as they are super comfy and lightweight. We have tried using others but they have been nowhere near as comfy. Go for a 20 – 30 litre pack.  We use the following:

Osprey tempest rucksack best for challenge hiking

Osprey Tempest 20 (womens)

Osprey Tempest 30 (womens)

osprey talon best mens hiking rucksack for challenge walks

Osprey Talon 22 (mens)

Osprey Talon 33 (mens)

3. Dry bag stuff sack

Essential for keeping your kit in your rucksack dry and tidy. I use 3- 1 x 12 litre for waterproof gear, 1 x 12 litre for jackets/tops and 1 6 litre for safety gear. Osprey offer a good variety of sizes and colours that perform well:

Osprey ultralight dry sack best stuff sack for challenge hiking

Osprey Ultralight DrySack

4. Water containers

I use 2 x 500ml containers that sit in either side of my rucksack for easy access. Personally I’m not a fan of water bladders as have known lots of people who have leaked meaning everything in their rucksack got soaked and they had no water left.

500ml water bottle for challenge hiking

500ml Sports water bottle

 5. Head Torch

We tend to use Petzl headtorches (and have many!) The following Tikkina is a good starter headtorch:

Headtorch tikkina for challenge hiking

Petzl Tikkina Head Torch

 6. Sunglasses with 100% UV Protection

Sunglasses are very much a personal choice thin- just make sure you get comfy ones that stay on your head! There is nothing more annoying than having to push your glasses up every 5 minutes! The following look like a good lightweight option:

Sunglasses best for challenge hiking kit list

OMORC Polarized sport sunglasses

 7. Sun lotion

 This should be a minimum SPF 30- Make sure you get a small bottle that doesn’t weigh your pack down. We tend to use NIVEA:

Best sun lotion for challenge hiking kit list

NIVEA SPF 30 200ml

 8. Lip Balm with SPF

Again, we use Nivea lip balm with SPF protection:

Nivea best lip balm for challenge hiking kit list

Nivea sun protect lip balm

9. Power pack for mobile phone

Virtually everyone now takes a mobile phone onto the mountains with them. Some use it for mapping and the majority use it for taking photos. The most important reason you need your phone to be charged is in case of emergency- it’s your way of contacting Mountain Rescue if you or anybody else requires assistance. A small lightweight charger is best to keep weight down.

Best mobile power bank charger for challenge hiking

Portable Power Bank Charger


Safety Equipment Kit List 

 1. First Aid Kit

Essential in case of any falls or accidents. Just a small, lightweight kit with essentials is fine:

Lifesystems first aid kit best for challenge hiking kit list

Lifesystems Pocket First Aid Kit

 2. Emergency shelter

These are used in case the weather turns bad or somebody has accident. They can be the difference between life and death as they will prevent hypothermia. The size you need will depend on your party size but we would recommend going as light as possible (heavy rucksacks will slow you down). The following are excellent lightweight shelters:


Lifestystems Survival Shelter (2 person)

 3. Emergency blanket

If you decide not to have an emergency shelter then as a minimum have one of these (ideally have both). Again, they will keep you warm if something goes wrong:

Emergency survival blanket for hiking kit list

Emergency Hi-Vis Survival Bag

4. Blister plasters

These should live in your rucksack at all times! We find Compeed to be the best plasters and form a second skin over any rubbed areas:

Compeed best plasters for challenge hiking kit list

Compeed Blister Plaster Mix Pack

 5. Pain killers

Have some Ibuprofen and Paracetamol in your first aid kit to help with any aches or pains.


Any Hiking Gear Questions?

There we have it- a complete hiking gear list for anybody who wants to do a challenge walk or who is getting into hiking. If you think we have missed something or would like advice on hiking gear please do contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

If you are interested in seeing some challenge walks we have completed why not start off by reading our Scrambling Three Peaks Challenge blog

Trail magazine subscription

This most contains affiliate links which allow us to earn a little bit of commission at no extra cost to you - so thank you if you have supported us. 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.