Our website uses cookies throughout our system and to help us provide a better service. Continue to use the site as normal if you're happy with this, or click here to change your settings

Get equipped for hiking and walking

Having the right clothing and equipment can quite literally be a life saver if conditions are really bad, but even in less extreme weather it can mean the difference between having an enjoyable or a miserable day out in the hills.

Below is our recommended list of essential items of clothing and equipment for summer hiking and walking in the Scottish hills. Remember that suitable clothing and equipment is essential: conditions in the hills may change rapidly and can be considerably more challenging than at the roadside.

If you're a member of Mountaineering Scotland, remember to check out our exclusive member offers and discounts to help you save money on clothing and equipment.

Get member discounts on kit and clothing

Hillwalker in cloud and heavy rain - properly equipped for conditions

Summer hill-walking doesn't always mean sunshine - you need to be properly equipped

Go hiking with Sofa 2 Summit 

Sofa 2 Summit is a free online program to help you get the most out of hiking in the hills this spring and summer. 

If you want to start hiking in Scotland's hills and mountains, or need a refresher in some key skills after a winter break from hill walking, Sofa 2 Summit will take you through the basics and help you get where you want to go.

Register now to get started and let us help you get from sofa to summit!

Sign up here

  • Rucksack - about 35 litres
  • Boots (with ankle support and soles which will grip on rock, grass and mud)
  • Waterproof jacket (with hood)
  • Waterproof over trousers
  • General trekking trousers (not jeans or cotton material)
  • Thermal top
  • Fleece top
  • Gaiters (not always essential)
  • Warm hat 
  • Gloves or mitts
  • Spare layer e.g. fleece top
  • Compass
  • Map (waterproof or in waterproof case)
  • Watch
  • Torch (preferably a head torch)
  • Food & Drink
  • Emergency survival bag (polythene is OK) and Group Shelter
  • Whistle
  • First Aid Kit (small)
  • Mobile phone
  • A bag to carry home any rubbish

  • Sunhat
  • Sun cream
  • Sunglasses

  • Midge repellent
  • Midge net

Some outdoor clothes and kit use magnetic fastenings as an alternative to Velcro, zips or poppers. However these magnets can and do deflect compass needles, leading to potentially serious errors in navigation. 

This problem is particularly bad where magnets are incorporated into gloves, but jacket fasteners and magnets on rucksacks to secure hydration tubes have also caused problems. Compasses stored next to such items are also prone to suffering reversed polarity.

Mountaineering Scotland advice is to be aware of this problem and to avoid clothes or equipment with non-essential magnets.

Renowned backpacker Chris Townsend has spent a lifetime wandering the Scottish hills, not to mention many ultra-long-distance routes abroad, and knows a thing or two about keeping dry - or at least as dry as possible. Read his advice on backpacking in the cold and wet here.