This country isn’t blessed with predictable weather, especially when you’re out walking in the hills and mountains when you can experience four seasons in one day. However, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.
When it’s cold, the temptation may be to wrap up warm with a big warm coat or jumper, but this doesn’t work when you are active.
It’s all about layering walking clothes. Making sure you stay not only warm but dry and that you won’t feel damp when you stop to have a break and cool down. You can regulate your temperature by adding layers and taking them off, depending on the weather and the activity.
You should start off with a breathable base layer, which is designed to wick away moisture as you warm up and start to sweat. This allows any moisture to evaporate through your walking clothes and keep you dry. It also wicks moisture away from any other layers you may have on, providing they are breathable as well.
For a base layer you want something like a synthetic fabric, such as Thermolactyl, which was invented by Damart, or a natural fabric such as merino wool.
Depending on the temperature your base layer can work as a thermal which keeps you warm or one which keeps you cool.
If it’s cool, you then want to think about a middle layer which gives you some insulation. It needs to be light but warm, a good-quality fleece would work well. Again this can be a synthetic fabric, such as Thermolactyl; or a natural fabric, such as merino wool, just as long as it is breathable to help with the wicking. You may also want to consider a top with zips, as this can help to regulate your heat to some extent.
If you have the other two layers, the top layer should be light – perfect for packing away in your bag. Ideally you want something that is both rainproof and windproof which will keep you both dry and warm. Shower proof won’t protect you if you encounter a real downpour, but fine if you’re simply going for a short stroll.
Again you want this outer layer to be breathable. There are a variety of technical jackets to choose from, depending on how extreme your walking may get. Remember when you are trying it on to consider what you’ll be wearing underneath, as you don’t want it to be too tight.
For walking at times of the year or places where you know you are going to be open to the elements, you may also want to consider over-trousers – waterproof trousers. You can get various different versions of these, such as full trousers which have poppers on so you can put them on quickly in case of a sudden downpour or a ones that are designed to keep your lower legs dry and clip to your boots – ideal for walking through long wet grass and water.
Combined with your jacket, these trousers will ensure you keep completely warm and dry whatever the weather throws at you.
Top it all off
If you’re walking in cool weather, you should also consider a good quality hat and gloves that will not only insulate you, but also keep you dry. They should be both warm and waterproof, and there are plenty of options to choose from. You can lose up to 45% of your body heat through your head, so investing in a good hat will pay dividends when the temperature drops and the wind howls.
If you’re walking in the sunshine, think about a hat that will keep the sun off your head and face. One with an all round brim will work best, and again look for a specialist hat which uses technical fabric to keep you cool. Also, don’t forget the sun cream!
Whatever the weather, walking is a fabulous way of seeing the countryside and keeping fit and with the right walking clothes it will always be a pleasure.