Equipment for your walking holiday
Having the right kit can make a big difference to your safety and enjoyment. This page gives you an idea of what you need for a walking, trekking or snowshoeing holiday with Alpine Exploratory. It isn't a comprehensive guide, but please ask us if you have any questions about specific items of equipment or about kit in general.
Essential equipment for all holidays
Walking boots: Boots should have good ankle support and tread and should be well worn in.
Walking socks: Wear thick socks to reduce the risk of blisters. Bring enough to always have one dry pair.
Waterproof jacket: A breathable material is needed, e.g. Gore-Tex or a manufacturer's own. A hood is essential.
Waterproof trousers: The more breathable the better, but this is less important than for the jacket.
Fleece or jumper: Any walking holiday in Europe can be cold at times, even in high summer!
T-shirts / base layers: Breathable synthetic materials are recommended instead of cotton.
Walking trousers: Any light trousers are fine; avoid heavy cotton trousers or jeans that will hold water.
Hat and gloves: Fleece or wool, these can be essential even in summer for keeping the extremities warm.
Sun cream: Use a high factor such as 20 or 30 and re-apply regularly through the day.
Sunglasses: To reduce glare from snow and light-coloured rock, these are essential all year round.
Sun hat: Wide brims help keep the sun off your face and neck.
Torch: Headtorches are ideal to keep hands free; consider spare batteries and a spare bulb.
Water bottle: 2 litres - more for very hot days with no chance to top up. Essential in winter as well as summer.
Mobile phone: For emergencies only while on a walk! Phones are also useful for logistics among groups.
Passport: Carry your passports and visas with you throughout your holidays abroad.
First aid kit: Bring basic supplies for yourself including treatment for blisters.
Personal medication: Take all the personal medication you might need for the duration, plus a few days more.
Whistle: To attract attention in emergencies, this is a cheap and simple method.
Rucksack: Typically between 20 and 40 litres for daywalks or around 50 litres for trekking.
Rucksack liner: Use a stong bin liner or other plastic bag inside your rucksack to protect against rain.
Essential equipment for Self-Guided holidays
Map(s): Your self-guided info pack contains all the maps you need for your holiday.
Map case: It can rain! Flexible Ortlieb cases are the only ones that can be recommended.
Compass: Please see the books listed in your info pack for refreshers on how to use a compass.
Essential equipment for snowshoeing holidays
Snowshoes: Snowshoes can be hired on the holiday and will fit your normal walking boots.
Walking poles: Ideally use snow baskets (larger surface area) instead of normal baskets.
Avalanche transceiver: Transceivers (beacons) can be hired on the holiday; for locating you if avalanched.
Ski goggles: For keeping out blowing snow; any type of lens is fine.
Gaiters: Protection for your lower legs and to keep snow out of your boots.
Essential equipment for colder weather - snowshoeing or Spring/Autumn in the UK
Extra fleece or jumper: A duvet jacket, either down or synthetic, would also be fine.
Extra hat or balaclava: For extra protection against the possible cold; fleece or wool.
Extra gloves or mittens: As waterproof and warm as possible, but no need for Gore-Tex here.
Camera: You'll be unlucky not to see some special sights! Bring enough memory or film for your trip.
Shorts: Shorts can be comfortable in summer where local foliage is not too prickly (see each holiday for details).
Walking poles: Poles can reduce load on knees especially in descent and in case of injury. One or two.
Thermos flask: A flask of hot tea, coffee, chocolate or squash can be welcome in colder weather.
Boot wax: It's useful to be able to keep boots water-resistant on longer holidays.
Insect repellent: Experiment to find a type that works for you; read the labels carefully.
Binoculars: These can be useful for spotting wildlife or mountain features a long way off.
GPS: Bring your GPS (Global Positioning System) unit along to complement your map and compass skills.
Reductions on outdoor gear
When stocking up for your trip you might like to use our discount with Cotswold Outdoor, a chain of outdoor shops across the UK, or with our two local outdoor shops Castleberg Outdoors and Cave & Crag in Settle. After booking we send you details of these discounts, which can be used online as well as in the stores.
Guided and Self-Guided Holidays - see them all