Invaluable, Money Saving Walking & Hiking Gear Tips

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


Recycle webbing straps from old rucsaks

Recycle webbing straps from old rucsaks etc and make belt loops using a hot glue gun and some old split rings. Used by my scouts as a project to hang an assortment of things from their belts using a carabiner or karabiner.

David Miller, Thame


Duck [Duct] Tape

Wrap a couple of layers of duck [duct] tape round your flask or water bottle. Handy for emergency repairs to rucksak, boots etc

Eddie Dougan, Newport On Tay


Large Supermarket Food Bags

Large supermarket food bags make excellent waterproof map cases.

Andrew Fleming, Blandford


Keep items dry in your rucksack

Don't expect your rucksack to keep items dry. Use a heavy duty plastic bag which acts as a liner. Your equipment never gets wet.

James Mcdonald, Newcastle Upon Tyne


Tie a cotton beer towel to your rucksack

In the summer months tie a cotton beer towel to your rucksack - they are great for wiping the sweat from your brow!

Glyn Beech, Dunfermline


Fashion a homemade forearm strap for your GPS

I fashioned a homemade forearm strap for my Garmin Geko 201 GPS using a bit of nylon webbing and velcro. Many of the smaller Garmin units have mounting screws in the back to attach them to cradles for use on mountain bikes etc. I put a hole in the nylon webbing using a heated nail (to seal it) and put the screw through this - then sewed some velcro to the strap so it could be worn on the inside of my forearm.

This kept the unit out in the open to keep a good view of the sky and satellite fix, but mounted to the inside of my forearm it was out of the way and kept my hands free for walking poles, navigating gates or stiles and snapping pictures.

The best part was that with easier access, and with it not being put in a case that it needed to be removed from, I could check it more often and also knew where it was all the time, so less likely to lose it out of a pocket or such.

They aren't cheap to replace and you don't want to lose a navigational aid - especially if you're storing other routes in it as well.

Paul Clement, Rochdale


Keep food/milk cool when camping

Keep food/milk cool by placing it in a washing up bowl/saucepan with a couple of inches of water then drap a damp tea towel over it all with the edges of the towel in the water and leave outside, preferabley in the shade. The energy used to evaporate the water from the towel keeps the food cool underneath it. Remember to top up the water on windy days.

Catherine Mann, Oxford


Take a wind up torch

Always take a wind up torch / lantern - batteries soon run out.

Barry Carr, Skelmersdale


Keep an empty plastic bottle with you in your tent

My original walking and camping tip is . . . have an empty plastic bottle with you in your tent, there's nothing worse than waking up in the night and it's raining . . . . and you need a wee!

David Clack, Halesworth


Carry a couple of old mouse mats

My favourite walking tip is . . . we always carry a couple of old mouse mats - they're soft, light and buttock sized. just what you need for a coffee or lunchbreak on a damp (or dry) fellside.

Barrie Stephenson, York


Just get out there!

My favourite walking tip is . . . to just get out there!

Philip Pye, Liverpool


Carry a Polarshield emergency blanket in your rucksack

Always carry a Polarshield Emergency Blanket in your rucksack. It is very light and could save someones life when out walking. You could be in places where it is difficult for an ambulance or rescue crew to get to, and they could take quite a while. this blanket keeps the injured or incapacitated person warm.

Brian Hamilton, Rudgwick


Get a Shewee

My favourite walking tip is . . . ladies - get a Shewee, practice using it in the house and then go out walking anywhere for as long as you wish, free from the worry of when you will next find a public convenience or some dense shrubbery.

Rosemary Rowley, Macclesfield


Don't forget the Baby Wipes

Baby wipes - always carry them - great for refreshing your face when sweaty, cleaning your plate/ mug out or wiping down the grimey plastic chair in the bothy :-)!

Ian Clayton, Wallasey


Always pack a couple of plastic bags.

Always pack a couple of plastic bags. Use them as: emergency sit mat, carrying rubbish you might find on the route, emergency hat, keeping your map dry, carry dirty kit home, put over your socks if your boots start leaking, stand in flag if you need to attract attention and to carry your shopping in.

Allison Taylor, Neatishead, Norwich


Take a gardening foam mat

Take a gardening foam mat (they are light and thick) for sitting on for a rest and taking in views . . .

Chris Toms, Shrewsbury


Keep your old walking socks

Keep your old walking socks and use them to insulate your flask when you are out on the hills; you will be amazed at the difference this will make to your favourite beverage!

Graham Stainsby, Leeds


Mix orange juice and apple juice with water

Mixing orange juice and apple juice with water is a tasty energy filled treat for your platypus. Just make sure you wash it out well at the end of every walk! Try using baby bottle steriliser on it, as its cheaper that dedicated products and works just as well!

Alistair Cross, York


Planning, equipment review, planning

My favourite walking tip is . . . planning, equipment review, planning

John Balcombe, Saxmundham


Make yourself big if confronted by cows and cattle

If you have to walk through a herd of cows make yourself big by extending your arms - they are more likely to move then.

Nigel Marchant, Hove


Always carry spare socks

Always carry spare socks and put vaseline on feet before setting off and also anti histamine tablet if prone to sweat rash on feet.

Gail Kershaw, Rochdale


Know your limits.

Know your limits. Never try and go to far, too fast, too soon. Build up your stamina with smaller walks . . . you'll enjoy it more.

Euan Vivash, Manchester


Lost Cameras

Hi Mike, There are a lot of cameras listed in the Lost and Found section! If anyone should find a lost camera, how would they be able to trace the owner? A simple idea is to print your name and telephone number in large print on a sheet of paper, photograph it, and keep that photo as the first one on all your memory cards. If the camera is found by someone honest, you can be sure of a telephone call! Cheers, Ron

Ron Linton, Stockport


Waterproofing Walking Boots

Rather than spending a fortune on waterproof sprays try a can of car bumper restorer. This is available from lots of places including Poundland who do a 500ml can for £1 (Surprise!). Another advantage of this is that it dries almost instantly so a quick squirt from a can in the car boot before a walk is ideal. If you don't believe me try it on an old pair of boots and spray with water - magic!

Peter McFadden, Redditch


Climbing over Barbed and/or Electric Fences

Take a short 6-9ins (150mm - 225mm) length of old cycle tye, cut down its length and keep in your Rucsac. This is very useful if you have to get over a barbed wire fence and also in exceptional circumstances over an electric fence. It will protect your vital bits!

Martin Somerville, Cardiff


Washing Walking Overtrousers

Wash overtrousers in car wash and wax shampoo. This puts a coating on the trousers helping to keep [them] waterproof.

Peter Crowther, Ossett


Waterproof Spray

When spraying walking & hiking boots put them inside a plastic carrier bag. This stops the spray blowing all over the place and concentrates it on the boots.

Peter Crowther, Ossett


Keep you bum dry with Bubble-wrap

I keep a reasonable sized bit of bubble-wrap in my rucksack - you can wrap it round your sandwiches or water bottle. It's brilliant for keeping your bum warm and dry when you sit down and it weighs almost nothing.

Joyce Harkin, Glasgow


Waterproofing Matches

How many times have you gone to strike a soggy match, only to have the head drop off! Avoid this predicament by first covering the head of Non-Safety matches with melted candle wax. They can then be struck on any surface and your match will light.

Mac & Pauline Smith, Barry


How to keep your water bladder clean and fresh

When you've finished with your water bladder, empty the water and put in the freezer. it'll stay clean and mould free and have no dodgy after taste when you come to reuse it.

Wayne Qualter, Newent


Consider Shorts or Breeches instead of Walking Trousers

During April to October, I wear shorts for walking with long socks rolled down for hotter conditions and rolled up if it cools down. For Winter, I've gone back to wearing knee-length breeches with long woollen socks for the same heat management principles. Plus, they're more comfortable than trousers to walk in (less 'pull' on knees), easier to wear under waterproof leggings and with gaiters. Why did we ever abandon them?

Jeremy Dent, Stockport


How to clean a Water Bladder Drinking Tube

Secure a garden wire to a pipe cleaner, long enough to reach the end and pass through a few times, spray with anti-bacterial stuff. You can still get pipe cleaners from craft shops or traditional tobacconists

Derek Craig, Liverpool


Keep Your Water Bladder Clean

Use diluted Milton (baby bottle cleaner) and rinse well

L Ashman, Gwent


Protect the grass with a silver foil pie dish

Silver foil can be really useful. It weighs practically nothing and is a good way of making sure your Trangia camping stove doesn't scorch or burn the grass it's sat on. It'll also do as a plate if you have a mate along with you.

Steve Woodward, London


Putting On Waterproof Trousers

When packing your waterproof trousers, pack a supermarket bag as well. When you need to put on the waterproof trousers, put your foot in the bag and then your leg will glide effortously through the waterproof trouser leg. Repeat for the second leg. This also has the advantage of not getting mud on the inside of your waterproofs which would transfer onto your walking gear. Simple but effective.

Colin McCourt, East Cowes, Isle Of Wight


A Poncho is useful for all sorts of things . . .

My husband and I purchased two army ponchos for about £15 each which have proved very valuable. They roll up into a small ball and don't weigh much. They make great blankets to sit on and eat our lunch. We could use them as shelter if we become stranded. We can wear them over our clothes if it rains. We can also get changed under them and best of all if I need a 'wee' I can crouch down with it over my head and no-one can see. I can now drink as much water as I want without the worry.

Mandy Mahon, Warrington


Cheaply Fix Rips and Tears in Expensive Breathable Waterpoofs

If you have micro porous tape in your first aid kit it can also save the day when you rip a hole in your expensive breathable jacket. Use the tape on the inside of the jacket and it will seal the tear and keep everything breathable for a fraction of the cost of a professional patch.

Andy Gilbert, Fetcham


Two-way Radios

A safety tool we carry is a little PMR446 two-way radio each (readily available and not expensive) just in case we get split up . . .

Harry King, Bexleyheath


Wind-up Flashlights do not need Batteries

I always have a 'wind-up' LED flashlight in my rucksack, which I bought in Robert Dyas for about a fiver. You get loads of very bright white light for the sake of a few turns of the handle, with no batteries to run out. I was surprised at just how good it is was when I tested it in some caves. As far as I'm concerned, it's a must-have for being out and about in the dark.

Harry King, Bexleyheath


Keep you Mobile Phone Dry

Always carry a mobile phone when out walking. Keep it switched off to avoid a flat battery and annoying other walkers, and wrap it in a freezer bag to keep it dry. It could save your life!

Neil Becousse, Telford


Comfortable Lunch Stop Sit Mat

Buy a kneeling mat from your local garden centre. It is much more comfortable as a sit mat than an old scrap of Karrimat.

Brian Hunter-Rowe, Dorking


Water Bladder Tip For Hot Weather

Put a two-litre bottle of water in the fridge the night before you are going walking. When you put the water in the bladder add two trays of ice-cubes and a small amount of Robertson's Barley water. This not only ensures that you have a cold drink for longer, but when the water does become warm, it has a more pleasant taste than just warm water. Enjoy.

Colin McCourt, East Cowes, isle Of Wight


Mould Free Water Bladder

If you haven't got a water bladder cleaner (which aren't that good anyway) give it a wash out with warm water then throw it in the freezer till the morning before you next need it. Hey presto - no more mould.

Ben Appleton, Liverpool


Distance Counting or Pacing

Get an old boot lace and tie one end to your backpack shoulder straps. Then put ten draw cord toggles on it and tie up the end. Work out how many steps (average) it takes you to walk 100m. Mine is 67 - so every 67 steps I move one of the toggles down and so on, when I get all 10 I have another set up on the other side to count the kilometers. Works wonders when walking up steep hills instead of just watching your feet.

Ben Appleton, Liverpool


Set Realistic Walking Targets

When doing a long or tricky walk, set yourself interim targets based on your map. e.g when I get to the end of that straight bit I'll st down and have a break. It helps a lot with motivation. Its the only way I got up Ben Nevis (yes, I'm a wimp!).

Sharon Lockwood, Tamworth


Handy Waterproof Storage

For handy waterproof storage or a cheap sit mat, B&Q have heavy duty, clear plastic bags for putting burst bags of sand / cement into. They're usually more than happy to give you a few if you ask nicely.

Conor O'Hare, Belfast


Good Use For Cling Film!

Cling film can be used for multiple things on your trip particularly regarding first aid. It can be used to strap a sprained ankle, wrap around a burn or used to strap up a broken limb. How else could you get 40 metres of bandage in your ruck sack?

Mark Taylor, Northampton


Dry Your Socks & Walking Boots

After a day walking and finishing with your feet wet. When you are having a BBQ or fire throw in a couple of round polished stones to heat up. After the main extreme heat goes from them pop them into your socks and walking boots and leave over night. I have done this for years when camping and have had no problems at all. Happy hiking . . .

Iain Macdonald, Kilncadzow


Athlete's Foot

OK this may gross you out but I guarantee you it works . . . and yes I've tried it. When I was camping around Australia I received a tip, without demonstration I'd like to add, that if you have Athlete's Foot and you have no dog to your disposal to lick your feet (nice tip by the way), try urinating on your feet next time you shower. Yes I know . . . but it works! I think it's something to do with the acid in your urine. Now the guys may be a bit more successful at this than the ladies . . . but if need be, use a cup to gather the urine first and then apply to your twinkles! Gosh, Did I really just write that? - Cheers.

Eddie Haselden, Plymouth


Drying Out Your Boots

Remember after a wet walk to place scruppled up newspaper into your wet boots and then turn them upside down. This ensures that any water trapped inside or in the sole is drained out.

Stephen Whiteside, Manchester


Plastic bags can stop your trousers getting muddy . . .

My Top Tip for putting on waterproof trousers without getting them muddy from your boots is to take a plastic bag with you from a shop or supermarket - put it over boot - pull on trouser leg - repeat with other boot - hey presto, mud goes on inside of bag and not of trousers.

Tim Nobes, Kendal, Cumbria


Use WD40 to tighten gaiters

If you have the type of gaiter fitted with heavy rubber stirrups you may have experienced a problem tightening them up, give them a spray of WD40, works wonders and gets them clean to boot. (pun intended).

Hew Thomas, Ammanford


Don't burn loo paper in hill country - bury it!

Don't burn loo paper in hill country. In the dry season, it takes only the briefest touch of a flame for heather to catch light. Putting it out again is a big deal, and it takes only seconds for the situation to be beyond control by one person. Bury it!

Jonathan Reynolds, Wiltshire


Don't forget the Haribo!

Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo! A bag of Tangfastics will perk up your group to walk that last one, five or ten kilometres!

Michael Nolan, Ormskirk


Handy Net Bag for your Bits and Bats

Need a small, closable net bag to keep all your 'bits & bats' in? Washing tablets have one in each pack, 'Lift"' one when the missus isn't looking.

Alan Lever, Barnsley


Use plastic bags to waterproof your gear

Waterproof your gear no matter the day. Buy inner liners, waterproof individual garment or items with seal tight bags. Wear a thermal vest in winter, you can strip to t-shirt when out. Take toilet roll-never know! Little survival kit-cheap.

Firoz Pate, Lancaster


Make sure you have something dry to change into

Remember having a pair of clean and dry warm clothes waiting in your car to change after long walk.

Wei Lin, Leicester


Make sure you Back Pack fits

If you suffer from back problems that are made worse when walking with a rucsac (and to not have one would mean going without food and water for the day!) - always use a properly fitting one that has a good padded waist band.

Melanie del-Manso, Lilleshall, Newport


Turkey-sized roasting bags

Turkey-sized roasting bags, available from supermarkets, are light and much, much, tougher than ordinary plastic bags. They are good for keeping gear dry in your rucksack and make very good map-cases.

David Coates, Solihull


Don't forget the Surgical Spirit

Keep a 35mm film canister full of surgical spirit in your first aid kit, along with a needle threaded with cotton (not nylon). If you get a really good blister, soak the needle and thread in the Surgical Spirit, then pass them through the blister and squeeze

Mick Furey, Rotherham


Use Bonjela gel on blisters

Newly formed unbroken blisters can be treated by applying Bonjela mouth ulcer gel to the blister. It works better if appiied overnight and left to dry. The blister will not have disappeared but will have dried out significantly and can be dressed.

Colin Glen, Enfield


Dogged by Athlete's Foot?

Sounds awful (perhaps any medics can tell us why it works) but for athlete's foot - let the dog lick your feet! There must be something in their saliva - yuk; but it works!

Chris Higgs, Ipsley


Don't for some Cable Ties

Always carry a couple of cable ties in your rucsack, they are ideal for temporary repairs on walking boots (sole comes away) and on rucsack straps.

William Dowell, Sunderland


Drapolene

I always pack Drapolene when going on a walking holiday! Designed to soothe babies' nappy rash it also provides immediate and long-lasting relief to chafing of private bits(!) caused by sweaty underwear!

Jean Shepherd, Godalming


Give your feet a break as well

When you stop for a 'sit down break' - take your boots off, even socks in nice weather. I've done this for 30 years and even if your feet get a little cold, they'll soon heat up again when you get going. The comfort of fresh air around the toes.

Chris Higgs, Redditch


Look after your feet at the end of your walk

I always keep a foot cooling spray (with peppermint) and a spare pair of dry socks in the car. As soon as I get to the car after a long walk I take off my sweaty walking socks, spray my feet with cooling spray, let my feet 'breathe' until dry.

Shara Higgins, Ely


Supermarket freezer bags with strip seals

Use supermarket freezer bags with strip seals as a map case, mobile phone protector, storing keys, money, first aid kit, mess tins, and any other hiking bric-a-brac. Keeps things bone dry, even in your pockets.

Trevor Hill, Taunton


Disposable cigarette lighters are better than matches

Use a disposable cigarette lighter for gas stoves. More reliable than matches and lights with one click in wet weather. Lasts for years.

Trevor Hill, Taunton


Avoid Lost Keys

To avoid lost keys take some time to find a hiding place on your car (not the top of the tyre or in the moulding of the bumper) and leave a spare key safely secured there. If you're unlucky enough to lose your keys you won't be stranded.

David Bald, Thirsk


Freezing a Bottle of Water

Reference the tip about freezing a bottle of water, remember not to fill it to the top. Leave the neck of the bottle empty approx 1/5th to allow for expansion during the freezing process and avoid embarrassment and wet gear.

David Bald, Thirsk


Plastic is lighter than Glass

Simple tip that a lot of people overlook. Never take heavy glass bottles if you can help it. Plastic is much lighter. Oh and those clockwork battery chargers for your mobile phone could just get you out of a scrape or two.

Roger Edwards, Wolverhampton


Keep you camera ready

Always carry a camera and have it ready at short notice. When assisting other people with blisters etc, ensure you take a picture of their face when applying the tincture of benzine or other stinging antiseptic.

John Turner, Dunfermline


Don't forget a walking stick

Take a walking stick when walking up hills. It helps you mentally because you feel its helping you but all its doing is balancing you. Also walk with smaller strides up hills.

A Non,


Vaseline helps prevent blisters

To help prevent 'hot-spots' and blisters, rub Vaseline into the feet and heels before setting out. It can also be used in other places to prevent chafing.

Paul Brown, Leeds


Don't Lean Forward

Don't be tempted to lean forwards when walking up hills, it is much easier if you keep upright.

Aaron Sharpe, Bradford


Zinc Oxide Tape helps prevent blisters

To prevent blisters and a good way to stop them hurting when you do get them is to put 1-2 layers of zinc oxide tape over likely places. This is cheaper than the proper blister plasters but works just as well.

Daniel Mallandaine, Torquay


After the Walk

After a hard days walking on the hill I always have a dry tee-shirt waiting in the car to put on.

Mike Cooper, Rochdale


Wear Inner Socks Inside Out

Use your thin inner sock inside out i.e. with the seams on the outside. The seams in contact with the foot can be the start of foot problems. A bonus is that they feel more comfortable.

Bob Ollerenshaw, Newthorpe


Vaseline can help stop Blisters

If you suffer from blisters on your feet it is a good tip to rub Vaseline on your feet before you put on your socks as this will help prevent blisters. I have been doing it for years and it has worked for me.

Louise Finlay, Londonderry


Got Flat Feet or Feet with very High Arches?

If you have flat feet or feet with very high arches you may develope painful arthritis in the toes and mid-foot joints. This can be prvented by wearing orthoses which will guard again strain and offer extra stability.

Ana Rodrigo, London


Practice, Practice, Practice . . .

If its misty, set yourself a navigation challenge. Use your compass and map on a part of the UK you know well and see how it looks in bad weather. Count your paces and try time estimating, in case one day you need it for real

Graham Taylor, Poynton


Take care of your feet

Always wash your feet after each day's walk and then let them breath with nothing on them. Then massage to stop stiffness.

Vicky Campbell, Cowdenbeath


Don't forget the Flapjacks!

Flapjacks are ideal snacks for walkers. They are high in calories and are a source of slow release energy (low GI). They taste nice too!

Kaye Mann, Rotherham


Swing those arms . . .

A 90 degree bend in your arm makes your arms a shorter pendulum, so they can swing faster as your step speeds up. At normal speed allow your arms to swing freely and rhythmically, remembering that your arm speed controls your leg speed.

Sheraz Chowdry, Streatham


Two pairs of socks are better than one!

Always wear two pairs of socks, that way the rubbing is between the layers of socks, and not your feet! Its very effective!

Nichola Gabriel, Hereford


Extra socks might keep you feet warm but . . . .

Never wear more than 2 pairs of socks inside your walking boots or you will get blisters- no matter how cold your toes are!

Olivia Taylor, Whitchurch


Bad Weather?

There's no such thing as bad weather: just different weather! Get out and enjoy!

David Whitworth, Bradford


Blister Care . . .

If you get a blister, thread a piece of cotton through it and leave the cotton in sticking out both ends. The cotton soaks up the blister but keeps the skin whole so the blister doesn't rub. Sounds disgusting but it really works!

Alison Holloway, Stourbridge


Man's (& Woman's) Best Friend . . .

Take a strong and curious Labrador. I seem to complete my walks in half the time since I got one!

Rita Swift, Dunstable


Always carry a small First Aid Kit

Even when walking with a group, always carry a small first aid kit containing stuff to treat your feet during or at the end of a walking day. You are far more likely to sort out your feet in private and in good time than use a communal first aid kit.

Ralph Wilson, Ulverston


Dry feet are happy feet!

Use antiperspirant on your feet, dry feet are happy feet. Feet should be washed daily to allow them time to breathe in between applications of antiperspirant.

Daphne Rowbotham, Bradford


Walking Boot Lacing is important too . . . .

When walking make sure your laces are tied up so that the lace goes straight across from one hole to the next without any diagonal lace up. This protects your feet the most helping you to walk for longer and more comfortably.

Laura Mcnair, Cumbernauld


Don't forget the suncream . . .

Make sure you have suncream with you - even on cloudy days you can get painfully sun burnt!

Martin Lindley, Bolton


Fleece lined slippers can be BLISS!

I always pack a pair of fleece lined slippers (with waterproof soles) for the end of the walking day. As soon as I finish walking, I take off my boots and socks, wash and talcum my feet and then slip them into my lovely soft, roomy slippers - BLISS.

Sally Watts, Milton Keynes


Keep your backpack light . . .

Save your old T-shirts, socks and undercrackers for when doing a long distance walk. Then wear and throw away as you go so your pack gets lighter the more tired you get!

Alexandra Cavendish-Howard, Leeds


Cold refreshing water all day . . .

Fill a used plastic bottle with water and freeze overnight. The next day as it melts while you're walking you always have cold water to drink.

Jeanette Baldini, Bradford


Tiny plastic bottles of various sizes are useful for . . .

Do you use those tiny plastic bottles of various sizes provided in well-known camp kitchen sets? If you prefer milk for your hilltop brew or use exotic trekking luxuries like shampoo, washing up liquid, olive oil or tomato ketchup - they're brilliant.

Trevor Morgan, Linlithgow


Stop things freezing on cold days . . .

On very cold peak assaults - lay out your silver emergency blanket, put all your day pack kit in the middle, gather up the edges and place the whole lot in the day pack. Your water won't freeze even at the top of Kilimanjaro.

Elizabeth Gould, Bath


Don't forget the Duck Tape . . .

Wrap Duck Tape around water bottle(s) for miscellaneous use. Also, very good for blisters when applied early on . . .

Larry Hicks, Old Fort, North Carolina, USA


Talcum powder is better than deodorant . . .

Rub your feet with talcum powder before putting on socks and hiking boots. It's kinder to your feet than a foot deodorant and keeps you cool for longer too.

Tina Higgins, Dudley


Vaseline can soften leather

Try rubbing vaseline to the inside of heels on new walking boots. It can soften the leather.

Catherine Cutting, Basildon


Break in New Walking Boots

Don't go for a long walk in new boots. Make sure you break them in beforehand.

M Radden, Redruth


Dry out damp walking boots

After cleaning your boots and especially if they are damp inside, stuff them with crumpled up newspaper - this will help them dry out and keep their shape.

Catriona Mitchell, Ealing


Blu-Tac your Safety Pins . . .

Have you opened your First Aid container only to find that the safety pins (or other small metal items) are missing or buried in the dressings etc? Stick them together with a piece of Blu-Tac and they will stay together.

Alan Lever, Barnsley


Resealable supermarket bread bags can keep your clothing dry

Use resealable supermarket bread bags to keep your clothing dry in the rucksack. They are clear - so you can see whats inside them. There are two different sizes (for loaves & baps etc.) and they are free (assuming that you eat bread)

Alan Lever, Barnsley


Always carry a walking stick

Always carry a walking stick for those big leaps we have to do across leats (water channels) and streams! I use mine for a variety of things plus it helps you to keep your balance when venturing onto those rocky Dartmoor clitters!

Paul Hopkinson, Brixham


Count on walking up hill with ease . . .

When walking uphill count to 12 every four steps. You will soon find yourself in a good pattern and will soon be at the top of the hill.

Tim Aldridge, Mattersey


A walking stick is really handy . . .

A walking stick will support you as well as warn of hidden ravines or gutters.

Gops Bharat, Ipswich


Dried Fruit gives extra energy . . .

Take a small packet of dried fruit with you on a walk. A quick and easy way to get some extra energy.

Amanda Husband, Droitwich


Face the traffic . . .

Always walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

Ken Walsh, Wallasey


A hat can keep your feet warm

You lose heat through your head so if you want to keep your feet warm, wear a hat!

Andrew Canham, Sutton Bridge


Build up your stamina . . .

Always challenge yourself. Every time you go for a walk, go 300 metres further than last time until your stamina increases.

Kate McCullough, Kiama


Lace your walking boots properly . . .

When lacing your boots up instead of tying a knot at the top as is usual with shoes, back lace a few hooks down before tying. This will prevent the top of the boot pinching and make for a more comfortable fit.

Shaun Wilson, Oxford


Don't forget the water . . .

Sounds obvious but . . . always take water with you on your walks.

Sarah Wardle, Deeping St James


Keep you backpack contents nice and dry . . .

Make sure your rucksack is packed evenly, and everything is inside a plastic bag. That way if it rains your things wont get wet.

Lauren Harper, Bletchley


Harden your feet . . .

To harden up your feet soak them in hot water and surgical spirit.

Margaret Donaldson, Kennoway


Limber up before you start walking . . .

Always stretch before and after walking.

Samantha Boff, Mapperley


Avoid wet, damp feet ruining your day . . .

Always carry two plastic bags and an extra pair of socks, should your feet get wet, put on the dry socks and the bags over the socks, this will keep your feet dry and help them to stay warm.

Deb Gittins, Serlby


Carry Anticeptic Cream for insect bites & grazes

Always carry a small tube of anticeptic cream and a couple of plasters for any insect bites or grazes that may occur when walking, plus a spare pair of socks.

Christine Hulme, Romiley


How to clean muddy walking boots . . .

To clean muddy soles of boots use a toothbrush. The bristles are small enough and soft enough to remove the dirt.

Charlotte Kelly, Pendlebury


Rotate your socks and protect your feet . . .

I've spent weeks walking in the Drakensberg (Natal) in new boots without a blister by daily rotating my socks (by which I mean wearing two pairs at all times but changing inside-out and outside-in) and by letting my steaming pinkies breath free.

Graham Nurse, Luton


Keep your trousers dry when you sit on the grass . . .

Always take a carrier bag with you on walks, so you always have something to sit on, rather than getting trousers wet and uncomfortable

Rebecca Townsend, Beccles


Set realistic targets

Sounds obvious but . . . Set realistic targets

Mark Pickering, Stoke-on-trent


Keep any medications dry . . .

Take a couple of of sealed, ziplock bags in which you should keep any medication. This stops the (emergency) medication getting wet.

Sanjay Baijal, Hounslow


Sample pots are ideal size for . . .

I ask in beauty shops/counters for sample pots. These are ideal size for holding creams/potions for your first aid kit, and save you carrying whole tubes/bottles.

Rose Widdecombe, Ashbourne


Regulate your temperature with layers . . .

Always wear lots of layers so you can add and remove to regulate your temperature.

Andrew Hubbard, Woking


Baby wipes are useful . . .

I've found baby wipes useful, but make sure you take your dirty ones home with you. Also a small bag of dried fruit, raisins, apricots etc. Nice when you have nothing left to drink.

Penny Lambert, Nottingham


Get good walking boots and socks - not cheap ones . . .

Never skimp on the cost when buying walking boots and socks!

David Crichton, Coatbridge


Take home all your rubbish . . .

Always remember a carrier bag to take away your rubbish when out and about and don't forget to take a whistle with you.

Cheryl Robley, Carlisle


Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda in your walking boots . . .

Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda in your walking boots and odour will not occur!!

Julie Smith, Warwick


Tell someone where you are going . . .

Sounds obvious but . . . Always remember to tell someone where you are going and when you are expecting to be back, just in case something goes wrong.

Louise Baker, Ledbury


Camera film holders . . .

If you want small containers for sugar, salt or something similar, simply use the plastic capsule that your camera film comes in. They are small so won't get in the way and they are watertight.

Ciaran Mc Cann, Newry


Take it easy at first . . .

Make sure you don't over-do it when you are starting out. Gradually build up your walking distance over time and ensure you have broken in your boots well before a long walk.

Tom Greenfield, Plymouth


Don't forget the treats . . .

Sound obvious but - always take something to eat with you which will keep your energy levels high, such as a bar of chocolate.

Eleanor Robertson, Paisley


Don't forget spare laces . . .

Next time you are in the walking shop, buy a spare pair of laces for your boots and keep them in the car. Then if you go out and your laces snap, you have a handy replacement close by! (Better still - take them with you in you rucksack!)

Mark Calpin, Glasgow


Keep your car clean from muddy walking boots . . .

On damp and wet days always take along a carrier bag with you if you are traveling to your walk in the car. This way when you return to the car you can put your muddy, wet boots in the bag and keep the inside of your car clean.

Nik Aynsworth, Tibshelf


Always take a map . . .

Always take a map and check the weather before you go! Sounds obvious but . . . .

Lance Hart, Moulton


Dry sweaty/damp walking boots . . .

To help dry sweaty/damp walking boots, stuff them with scrunched up dry newspaper overnight.

John Burst, Christchurch


Cold drinking water . . .

Cold drink on a hot day! Freeze water in a drinks bottle overnight till it freezes solid. Then when you're walking it will melt slowly during the day and you will have lovely chilled water to drink.

Alexandra Cavendish-Howard, Leeds


Dry wet clothes in your sleeping bag . . .

When backpacking if your clothes get wet sleep with them at the bottom of your sleeping bag and your natural body heat will warm and dry them during the night. Also, flip socks inside out the speed dry the inside of the sock.

Melissa Tuttle, Haywards Heath


Waterproof Containers for Free

For small items, like matches that you want to keep dry, use a camera film container. Also useful for things like washing up liquid.

Stuart Charters, West Cornforth, Ferryhill


Double bag and keep them dry . . .

To stop the key fob getting wet and in-operative, wrap tightly in a plastic bag, and then do the same in a second plastic bag before putting in rucsac pocket. This will ensure that when you get back to your car you can get in!

Iain Mckelvie, Leyland


Chemical hand warmers can dry your walking boots . . .

Overnight stay and nowhere to dry your wet boots? Simply activate a chemical hand warmer (available at most walking gear shops for a few pounds) and insert into each boot. These can be reactivated several times in compete safety. Warm dry boots in the morning!

Paul Brown, Leeds


Wet Boots - Dry Feet . . .

Carry two plastic bags. If you cannot dry out your walking boots then wear the bags over your dry socks inside your boots until you can dry your boots. i have used this idea several times and it is also good for keeping your feet warm.

Kenneth Carden, Ipswich


Trim those toe nails . . .

On big long routes that involve a lot of downhill over rock, ensure toe nails have been cut to prevent bruising and holes in socks!

Denise Hillman, Manchester


Pee in private!

Ladies - Take a large golfing umbrella with you when you go walking on treeless moorland. It will act as temporary 'bushes' if you need the call of nature!

Bill Dawson, Altrincham


Bar Towels can keep your hands dry . . .

Always have one of those bar towels hanging from your rucksack by a safety pin. When one end is wet, just unclip it and turn it round. Result? One dry end! Also, hanging there it tends to dry in the breeze. BTW, try to get a real ale one - it's more 'au fait'.

Les Singleton, Derbyshire


Used a wine box silver bag as a water carrier

The best water carrier I've used is the silver bag inside a wine box container. Just heat the neck of the stopper with a hair drier for a few mins to take out. Wash and fill and use as normal. With them being silver it helps to keep water cool. You can also use it as a pillow if half filled with air or a floating aid for play or crossing lakes/rivers. PS. If you've ever been in your tent/sleeping bag - all cosy and warm when it's raining at 3 am - busting for a pee .... take a spare one. PPS. Don't get them mixed up!

Peter V,


Carry a small flashing red light on your rucksack . . .

My idea of being seen in low light while walking on roads is to have a small flashing red light (available from cycle shops) on the rear of my rucksack and on the front I have an orange one.

Tony Savage, Tattershall Thorpe, Lincolnshire


Reflective armbands can keep you safe

Many newer back packs have reflective material sewn into them to improve visibility on busy roads. But if you have an older version, tie a cyclist's (or horse's) reflective arm (leg) band to your back pack using the loop designed to hold an ice-axe. Driver's approaching from behind will easily see you (and hopefully give you a bit more room!)

Nick Workman, New Mills, Derbyshire







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