Equipment

Some hikers like to show all the cool equipment they have, and that’s just fine and dandy. I’m not really a hiker though, so I don’t have a lot of equipment. What I do have, and what I think is good and would recommend to other people walking around the coast of Britain, is shown here. There are other things like ruck-sacks that I’ve got, but they were only cheap and not particularly special so I’ll not bother mentioning them. Click on the pic to find more details and where to buy one.

A Battery backup device. My iPhone battery only lasts a few hours when the GPS is on. The first two walks it ran out before the end and I almost lost my car! I bought one of these sharpish. Mine’s an older model than this, but is pretty cool. Mostly I keep my phone permanently plugged into it during the walks. It cost around £13.

A sun hat. You really need a sun hat. I bought this one, but I wouldn’t recommend it to be honest. The brim is so wide it blows off with just a low breeze, and I got a sunburnt head on one walk even though I had it on all day! Pretty shit really.

I want one of those bucket hats really, which should be easy to get in Manchester but they were expensive last year. I’ll try to get one this year. [Just got one off Amazon]

This one’s rubbish
…so I got this one

Fold-up bike. Now I bought this last year, when public transport was banned due to the pandemic so I could get from my car at the end of the walk to the start of the walk. I thought it’d be useful in sections where there isn’t any public transport too. And it was. The problem is I really don’t like cycling, and by the time I’d got to the start of the walk I was knackered.

This one cost me about £270 I think, and is quite good, but you can get better…

I just bought one of these electric foldable bikes in January 2021. Now this is the business! Perfect for people like me who don’t like cycling. I did quite a bit of research, and this one, the Fiido D2S, came out best in my value-for-money list. It was about £540. It’s certainly not top of the range, and is quite heavy, but it’s got 6 gears which is good if the battery runs out on a ride. Many e-bikes don’t have gears.

I haven’t received it yet so I can’t review it, but there are great reviews for it on Youtube here and here.

A camera with a good zoom lens. I don’t know the first thing about cameras or photography. On my first few walks I just used my iPhone 6 camera. It’s OK, but anything more than 20 metres away, like birds, just become little black dots in the centre of the picture. So if you want to take nice pictures on your walk, you need something with a good zoom. This one, a Panasonic DMC-FZ72, has a x60 zoom which is very good, and I do like it. It cost me about £100 second hand on eBay.

Get a lens cap too because otherwise salt spray will make your pictures all fuzzy by the end of your walk. And a lens cleaner cloth ‘cos spit and tissue doesn’t work that well.

Walking boots. I bought a pair of these walking shoes from Decathlon the morning of my first walk for about £50, and I’m very happy with them. I don’t know much about walking boots to be honest, so I don’t know if more expensive pairs are really any better. These are waterproof (to an extent) and very comfortable.

I never bothered with proper walking socks to begin with, and the socks I wore would roll up inside, and the hems would rub and irritate me, so I bought these inexpensive walking socks from Amazon. 3 pairs for £16, and I really like them.

I’d definitely recommend walking socks.

Walking trousers. Some people like them, but I don’t. I bought this pair which I’ve hardly ever worn, so I’m not in a position to recommend them really. I don’t like the way they go swish-swish-swish as you walk, but I guess that’s pretty personal!

These were about £15. Mostly I walk in my jeans, which I know winds a lot of people up 🙂

You can pay hundreds of pounds for a coat. I paid £35 for this from Decathlon, and it’s lovely and warm.

In the summer that black coat is way too thick and heavy, so I bought this which can be rolled up and put in my rucksack. I think it was about £35 too. You can spend hundreds of pounds on thin summer coats too. Glad I didn’t, this one’s fine.

Not in many hiker’s equipment lists, but I like my yellow umbrella. It’s really light and sits in one of the side pockets of my rucksack for instant access. I’ve passed several other hikers in the rain and smiled at them while they grimaced through the raindrops! £12… a bargain.

I wear a scarf in winter too, only £525 a year for an adult, and they throw in 19 free games of football. Available from Manchester City Football Club.

OK, perhaps this one’s a bit strange… I also take one of these little bags, and hang it from my rucksack from a carabina, to put shells and bits of driftwood and things in. It’s my collecting bag.

My girlfriend collects shells, which she arranges all over the bathroom (which is very nice), and a friend asked me to collect bits of driftwood that she makes into beautiful artworks. Having the bag hanging from the rucksack makes it much easier to collect things.

That’s not all I take of course. I also normally have a first aid kit, towels, spare camera battery, spare SD card for the camera, bank card, gloves, bobble hat, pen, sunscreen, tiny towels (actually microfibre cleaning cloths, which are very useful… defo get some), a whistle, a small compass, a pen-knife, spare glasses, a facemask (Coronavirus), and loads of snack bars, but you can get that sort of stuff anywhere.

In addition, I have a few good apps on my iPhone…

Phone apps

Komoot

I use this on my laptop to plan the route, then on my phone to guide me when I’m walking it, and for showing the maps on my blog afterwards as well. It’s free for a basic version, or £60 a year for premium (which I don’t bother with)

It is pretty good… but the guy’s voice on it gets on my nerves a little I have to admit, maybe a soft Irish female voice would be nicer….. Hmmm.

Outdoors GPS

I’d been using this for a few months because it has OS maps on it, and occasionally I’d refer to them. Then I found out the other day it’d been charging me for using them so I turned it off. Bugger. You can still get OS maps for free on Bing Maps though, so may be that’d be a better choice for me.

My Tide Times

On a coastal walk it’s often useful to know the state of the tide. Several sections are only accessible at low tide. This app gives the tide times for the official location nearest to wherever you are that has records. The tide can change over just a few hundred metres due to local conditions, but generally this will tell you the best time to go. It’s free.

British Red Cross First Aid

Luckily I’ve never had to use this app, but it’s definitely worth having it on your phone. It tells you what to do in a variety of circumstances.

It’s free.

What3Words

This app generates three words for whatever location you are in, to a resolution of 3m x 3m squares, anywhere on Earth. It’s used by the emergency services, and is a much easier way of telling them your location than grid references. It’s free as well.

Compass

I actually use the compass app quite a lot, along with Google maps or OutdoorGPS, so I can point at some land in the distance, see what direction it is, then reference the map to see what it is.

There must be a better way of doing this though…