I’m not really a serious hiker, so I don’t have a lot of stuff. I only take a day-bag rucksack and a few things that in my experience I’ve found useful. Some of what I do have which I would recommend to others, is shown below. Click on the pic to find more details and where to buy one.

Battery backup device

My iPhone battery only lasts a few hours when the GPS is on. On my first two walks it ran out before I reached the end, and I almost lost my car, so I bought one of these. There are loads of different models with different capacities. Mine is 26,000mAh and cost about £30.

Sun hat

This one’s rubbish…
…so I got this one

You really need a sun hat. I started with one like this (top), but I wouldn’t recommend it. The brim is so wide it blows off with just a low breeze.

So I got this Fresian bucket hat from Amazon. I reckon it’ll camouflage me enough to sneak through fields of potentially troublesome cows?

Fold-up bike

Useful for when there’s no public transport to get to the start of the walk. The problem is I really don’t like cycling, and by the time I get to the start of the walk I’m knackered!

This one cost about £300, is quite good, and very light, but you can get better…

Electric fold-up bike

This is perfect for people like me who don’t like cycling.

I liked the look of the Fiido D2S at £533, but you couldn’t buy it in the UK at the time because of Brexit, I don’t know if they’ve decided to ship to the UK now. The new Fiido D11 (£726) looks very good too.

I ended up going for this Ancheer 20″ city bike instead. It was about £720 which is quite expensive, but it’s got 7 gears, and is more rugged than the Fiido. The range is advertised as “15 – 30 miles”, but realistically only manages about 8, which is a bit short.

More modern models seem to have better quoted ranges, although you’ll never achieve the quoted figures in practice. The specs that I would recommend are:

  • Foldable of course
  • Weight less that 25kg (so you can lift it into the back of the car, or on a bus)
  • Fairly chunky tyres, as some of the routes are off-road
  • Gears. Otherwise once the battery runs out you’re really going to struggle!
  • Mudguards (you might as well start the walk clean)
  • Minimum 16″ wheels (for the off-road bits)
  • Range – as much as you can get
  • Ideally, a carrier / bag
  • Ideally gas strut suspension
  • Ideally hackable so you can increase the top speed (15mph is so frustrating)!

There aren’t many that meet all those requirements, surprisingly, but this ‘Hyuhome’ one looks ideal, and at £700 isn’t a bad price.


A camera with a good zoom lens is essential to illustrate this blog. I started off using my iPhone 6 camera, but anything a little far away, like birds, just became tiny black dots.

So if you want to take nice pictures on your walks, you need something with a good zoom lens. This one (Panasonic DMC-FZ72) has a huge 60× zoom, but you don’t really need that much. There are thousands of good second-hand cameras on eBay – this one cost me £100.

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 too ‘cos spit and tissue ain’t that great!

Waterproof camera

I also wanted a camera that didn’t mind getting wet for those really rainy days, and river crossings. The Olympus TG6 has very good reviews, but is stupidly expensive at £389, so I bought this one, a Praktica PRA099.

It’s not as tough as the Olympus and I guess not as good quality (although it has 20 Megapixels compared with the Olympus’ 12Mp) but it’s much more sensibly priced at around £90. It’s got 4× optical zoom, which isn’t really enough, but no worse than the Olympus.

Walking socks

I never bothered with proper walking socks to begin with, and my socks would roll up inside my boots, and the hems would rub and irritate, so I bought these for about £16 from Amazon. I really like them. You can pay a lot more, but I’m not sure if they get much better.

Walking shoes

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 so I don’t know if more expensive pairs are really much better, or if boots are better than shoes. These are waterproof (to an extent) and very comfortable.

Winter coat

You can pay hundreds of pounds for a coat. So could I, but I didn’t. This was £35 from Decathlon, and it’s lovely and warm.

The “outside” pocket is very useful for putting my phone in, so you can access it frequently without undoing the main zip.

It’s good for non-invisible people too.

Summer coat

In the summer the black coat is way too thick and heavy, so I bought this blue Regatta one, which can be rolled up and put in my rucksack. I think it was about £35.

You can spend hundreds of pounds on thin summer coats too. Glad I didn’t, this one’s fine.


I already had a penknife, but bent it badly out of shape when trying to free the chain on my folding bike when it got stuck down behind the gear cassette. It seemed like a good idea at the time! So I’ve just bought a posh Victorinox one, at around £33.

I cut down a big bush with it between Bootle and Ravenglass to make a staff for wading through the Esk, the only time it’s been used so far!


I don’t normally listen to music or the radio when I’m walking, but occasionally a bit of musical relief is welcome – for really boring bits along main roads for example.

Wires and strings round my neck really get on my nerves though, I get tangled up in them, so I bought Bluetooth ones.


Not in many hiker’s equipment lists, but I really 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!


I wear a scarf in winter too. This one was only £525, and they threw in 19 free football matches.

Available from Manchester City Football Club.

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, bobble hat, gloves (I’ve found cheap Thinsulate ones are fine, it’s only Britain after all), pen, sunscreen, tiny towels (actually microfibre cleaning cloths, which are very useful… defo get some), a whistle, a small compass, spare glasses, and loads of snack bars, but you can get that sort of stuff anywhere.

Phone apps

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


I use this on my laptop to plan the route, then on my phone to guide me when I’m walking, 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). The default posh guy’s voice on it got on my nerves, but I found how to change it to a soft Irish female voice.


This app is pretty cool, and free. It shows radar images of the clouds above where you are and predictions for the next hour. Useful for deciding whether to continue or stay in the cafe for another cuppa.

My Tide Times

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.

Tides can also be seen in much more detail on this website here. It even shows the shape of the flow and ebb, which surprisingly (to me at least) isn’t always sinusoidal.

OS Maps

The OS maps app is £35 per year, but that does give you 5 accounts so you can share it with other people.

I prefer this to paper maps personally, as they are just too bulky to carry, awkward to open and fold up, and get damaged in the rain. You do get a wider view of what is around you on paper maps, but I do all my planning at home so don’t really need that.

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.


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.


I actually use the compass app quite a lot, so I can point at some landmark in the distance, find out what direction it is in, then refer to Google Maps to see what it is.

Things I’d like to have

Up in the highlands of Scotland it gets pretty remote, and some of my planned routes are over moorland with no paths, no people, and no mobile phone coverage. There are even stories of people who have died. You need some serious equipment up there. Like this Garmin Montana 700i.

This rather expensive beastie combines a GPS trekking tool, and satellite communicator. You can send and receive text messages from anywhere on earth (probably not underground though), and contact the emergency services with the SOS button.

OS Maps cost extra – you can get the Great Britain 1:50 from £125, but the 1:25 is £330. That’s quite a sting!

The 700i is £640 from Garmin (although you can get it cheaper elsewhere), plus £15 a month for when you want to use the satellite comms. Quite a lot of money. I really fancied this at one point, but the satellite communicator below, alongside the OS Maps app is much much cheaper.

The similar 750i includes a 8Mp camera as well, but costs even more. Given I have a camera on my phone and one round my neck, this is no use to me.

Alternatively, this little beastie, the Zoleo Two-way Satellite Communicator, will allow you to text from your phone through the satellite network, with SOS access too.

At £199 from Amazon it’s a lot cheaper than the Garmin, and the subscription to the satellite service is only £3.50 per month after the first three months. This and the OS Maps app is a much cheaper combo.