Invaluable, Money Saving Walking Gear Tips - Page 1

 


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Lighting

At this time of year a lot of my walks seem to finish in darkness; good lighting is essential for my old eyes to see. There are a lot of options on the market & some help choosing might be useful. As a solo walker I like to carry a spare light, currently a cheap hand-held wind-up LED torch. It gives just enough light to walk & never suffers flat batteries (use it on easy path sometimes to check functionality, they do fail eventually). The big money is spent on main light, so that is the one to get right. Go for a specialist 'Outdoor' brand, reliability in rain/snow is essential. Specialist bulbs might still give greater range than LEDs, but power consumption is greater so generally only used for bulky 'security' torches- most of us will find an LED preferable. Head torches leave your hands free, useful if you have walking stick in one hand and dog lead in the other! There is a performance vs comfort trade-off to consider, it helps if battery pack can be worn on back of head or carried in pocket. Rechargeable vs disposable batteries is a more difficult choice. Disposable batteries have greater capacity & are easily changed- but less green. At home recharging is easy, in a car less so & on a trek............ It is claimed that Li-ion has best cold weather performance, but I would like to see lab data. It sure is compact for the capacity though. My choice was Petzl and my usual dog walking light is a Li-ion Nao headtorch. It gives 3+ hours of good light under most conditions. The one proviso there is that head torches generally have issues in fog or heavy rain, it confuses the energy saver mode and switching to full power mode you get dazzled by reflected light. I take it off my head & use hand-held to reduce dazzle. For 'guest' use and holidays I bought a Myo, which is cheaper + disposable batteries. Probably the better option overall.

Pete Walker, Wsm


Clean Water supply

While I was stopping at Hawes YHA recently another walker showed me a new water bottle he'd just bought off ebay. It was fitted with a Water purification system in the lid. This filtration device will remove all bacteria & impurities in water, so if you are out walking & run out of water a clean supply isn't needed & any supply will do - canals, ponds, drains, cattle troughs etc.

I've tried mine from various supply's over the last month & it works fine.

They cost around £35.00 new & mine will filter up to 1600 Lts before a new filter cap is needed.

We gear tested something similar to this a few months back - see Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System for details - Ed)

Steven Gill, Leeds


how long is a piece of string?

when plotting new ideas for routes from map, I use a piece of string. with knots measured off the scale at bottom of sheet. first at end , then at 1 mile ,then a 2miles ,then a 3 miles , then a 4 miles., total 10 miles. [which is what our group usually does]. i have 1 for 1-25 maps,& 1 for 1-50 maps,in different colours. you can wriggle it around paths on the map & if your plan is too long/short , see where to change it. my "patent strings" live on my ruck-sac strap , [much to friends amusement], & have often been proved to compete with g.p.s.

Edwina Freeman, Bolton


I carry a 65-10 & quite a lot of equipment when I'm walking which is quite heavy, so gave it some thought as to how I could lose a bit of weight. I usually carry a 2 litre water bladder in the bag too, which certainly adds to it, so I've now got rid of that in favour of using water purification tablets instead. They are military issue and are available on ebay for just a few quid a pack. Just add a single tablet to a litre of river or stream water and leave for about 15mins. This then makes the water clean for both washing and drinking

Steven Gill, Leeds


How to check if an electric fence is live

If you're not sure if an electric fence is live, take a longish piece of grass, hold it at one end & touch the fence with the other end - if its live, you'll feel a slight 'pulse' - grass is a poor conductor & so reduces the charge along its length.

Chris Machin, Newcastle Under Lyme


Shop around for bargains

As I said about the new boots recently, never just go rushing into the nearest outdoor shop you come to & pay their price - bargains can be found. I required a decent new compass recently. A new Recta would cost £25.00, so decided to have a look around - later bought an identical one in "As new" condition off ebay for £5.00. Also needed some new walking trousers & eventually decided on a pair of Montana's. Go Outdoors were offering them for £68.00, but after hunting around on the net I found some for £58.00. They guarantee to match that less -10% so had to do it, giving a new price of £52.20 inc free postage.

Steven Gill, Leeds


I used to suffer from soreness under the balls of my big toes until I discovered a foot file. i used it to grind off the hard skin that caused the problem. I bought mine in Boots, made by Scholl, but I'm sure there are others.

Tom Gardner, Gauldry


Shop around for walking gear and kit

I decided to buy myself a new pair of walking boots for this season as the soles were getting a bit worn on my old one's. My old ones are a pair of Meindl Vakuum's which are really superb & when I bought them they cost me £175.00, which was supposed to be unbeatable at Go Outdoors. but my tip is to really shop around as it's amazing what you can find. I eventually managed to find a pair of the same boots on the net at a shop in Plymouth for £129.00 inc free delivery - Bit of difference!!!

Steven Gill, Leeds


Use a titanium kettle and cosy . . .

A lot of people use dried packet food which requires simmering for (say) 10 minutes. Also, during the simmering, the stove and food needs to be watched for boiling, tipping over, setting fire to tent/vegetation etc.. I use a titanium 'kettle' and have made a 'cosy' for it out of two layers of radiator reflector/foam and 'duct' tape, with a separate similarly insulated lid. When cooking, I bring the water to a boil, add the dried food, and bring it back to a boil. When it's reboiled, I turn off the stove, put the lid on the kettle, place it in the cosy, and set it to one side. It will continue to cook and can be left for at least half and hour when it will remain hot, while you carry out other camp tasks. Keep the cosy on when eating the food to prevent burned fingers. Jim

Jim Ford, Watford


Don't waste money on Hydration Systems . . .

"Hydration Systems" - a posh pseudo technical name for a water bladder are just fashion accessories. The water invariably becomes tainted with a chemical taste from the plastics used in its manufacture, and the 'dead' section of water in the tube gets tepid which is unpalatable and emphasises any taint. You also can't easily fill a bladder from a burn. Just use a SIG bottle, or best of all, a wide mouthed polycarbonate one.

Jim Ford, Watford


Take ear plugs when YHA-ing

My tip is always take some decent ear plugs with you when your away & intending to stop in a YHA hostel somewhere. Because you can guarantee there'll be someone in your room who'll snore like a donkey & drive you crackers!!!!

Steven Gill, Guiseley


Don't forget the bivi bag

Although I've got a superb Vango Ultralite 200 tent which i still use from time to time, I've now bought an ex army bivi bag too. It's certainly a great piece of equipment. It's fully waterproof, hooped & can be fully erected in approx 2 min's - also packed away in approx the same time. It is very compact, very light & gives me the ability to pitch up just about anywhere i want. Good Ex-army issue one's can be bought for a very reasonable price if you shop around

Steven Gill, Leeds


Small plastic food boxes keep things dry

The small plastic food boxes, which cost several for a pound, are good to protect things like camera, phone, GPS, etc. Totally waterproof when you fall in a river, or spend days in rain. Also provide shock protection when you tumble down a rocky slope, or have to throw your pack over an obstacle. I've managed to do all these!

Keith Eyles, Stroud


Carrying a spare bootlace

If you want to carry your compass around your neck and the string supplied with it is too short, use a bootlace. That way the compass is always to hand and so is a spare bootlace if needed.

David H Leicestershire


Put a plastic bag over your muddy boots

Put a plastic bag over your muddy boot when slipping on overtrousers and your boot will slip through easily and without getting the inside of the overtrousers muddy.

Pat Needham, Bacup


Take a Jar of Sudocreme with you

My original walking and camping tip is . . . take a jar of Sudocreme with you - it's great for cooling sore feet,sweat rashes in intimate places etc . . .

Adrian Price, Wigan


Use a Sprayable Air Freshener

Always bring an sprayable air freshener to spray inside wet smelly boots so your tent doesn't smell after wet hikes.

Beth Baker, Chepstow


Leave your partner at home

If you've had a row with your partner make sure you leave them at home or they will spoil the experience!!!

Rosemary Janes, Monmouth


My original walking and camping tip is . . . take marmite!

My original walking and camping tip is . . . take marmite! While it may seem a strange idea, think of all the foods you take camping... packing light doesn't have to mean taking plain and tasteless foods! Marmite is in a small tub and you only have to use a little because it is just so full of flavour - yummy!

Lauren Fenner, Dronfield


My original walking and camping tip is . . . use a fleece blanket inside your sleeping bag

My original walking and camping tip is . . . on a cold night use a fleece blanket inside your sleeping bag - that way your bag is cosy when you get in and you stay warm all night.

Carole Devine, Macclesfield


Black bin liners are always useful

Black bin liners are always useful as water proofing ruck sack, as a bouncy [buoyancy] aid crossing water, storing your bits from the elements or animals and of course to bin your trash.

Paul Davis, Irlam


Make use of cyalume lightsticks

My original walking and camping tip is . . . make more use of cyalume lightsticks, they can be used to check your map when walking in the dark (not red ones). They can also be used to mark your tent in a busy campsite so you can find it at night, or mark your tent-pegs or guy-lines so you don't trip over them. They are light and last a long time so can be used by walkers and campers for many purposes.

John Turner, Dunfermline


Don't eat the green snow

My original walking and camping tip is . . . don't eat the green snow!

Ronnie Smith, Glagsow


Never try pitching your tent on a Welsh hillside in a thunderstorm

My original walking and camping tip is . . . never try pitching your tent on a Welsh hillside in a thunderstorm. It doesn't work well.

Deborah Prior, Nottingham


Always take a second pair of socks

My original walking and camping tip is . . . always take a second pair of socks on a walk, on a hot day, change half way through the walk (changing out of damp socks reduces blisters and is great on the feet); in wet weather there is nothing worse than having to walk miles in wet socks!

Michael Wright, Reading


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