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Next Meet

"Wild Camping"

1st - 3rd March 2013

Next Social

AGM. Portland D136.
map

Thursday 14th March
8.00 pm

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Ice Climb

Manchester Indoor Ice Wall
Friday 1st December at 8:30am

If you don't want this for a time, please comment it-Fabian !Next Climb

Personal Equipment for Scottish Winter Walking

The club can provide crampons, walking axes, first aid kits, group bothy bags plus maps and compasses for the areas we visit. The rest is ‘up to you’ as the saying goes, hopefully, it is clear in the list below what we would consider the essentials and what are the ‘desirables’. As any gear freak will tell you there is always something that could just be really useful if… regardless we hope the list below is a useful guide:

Walking boots – An essential item, boots should be stiff soled and ideally suitable for use with crampons. If you're only interested in going walking then 'B1' graded boots will suffice but if your keen to get on anything steep (even if only low-graded gullies) then you'll need at least 'B2' graded boots, preferably 'B3'.

Waterproofs – A good waterproof (and breathable) jacket with a decent hood is essential for winter conditions. Waterproof overtrousers should always be carried and it’s worth remembering that lightweight waterproofs can be inadequate under severe winter conditions. [Overtrousers with a full length side zip are not essential but if you don't have them you'll find that you'll have to wear your waterproofs all day.]

Trousers – lightweight fast drying trousers are the best. Thermal ‘longjohns’ or fleecy trousers are good when it gets really cold. Remember cotton and especially denim jeans must not be worn.

Gaiters – These stop snow getting in the top of your boots. They're also useful when using crampons for protecting your trousers. Don't spend too much money on these because they only get covered in mud but you will want them to be made out of some kind of breathable fabric and to fit over your big winter boots.

Thermal top(s) – Under no circumstances should you be wearing cotton in winter: it will soak up your sweat then freeze to you. Wicking tops such as ‘dryflo’ should be worn instead. Remember that a layering approach is the best.

Fleece – A warm fleece or woollen jumper is essential. [Down/feather duvet jackets are very warm but those without a waterproof outershell aren't much use in the wet conditions ‘sometimes’ found in Scotland. Microfibre/hollowfill etc. will tolerate getting wet and stay warm.]

Spare Warm Layer - When the temperature is around freezing it only takes a few minutes to cool down so it is essential that you have another layer to put on. A heavyweight fleece is the cheapest thing to carry whilst modern sythetic duvet jackets are becoming more popular (and cheaper) - they are good because they will keep you much warmer for the same weight.

Hat and Balaclava - A warm hat and a balaclava is essential. Balaclavas are great when the spindrift blows.

Goggles/glacier glasses – Invaluable to protect your eyes against the wind and biting spindrift and even for low the sun. Ski goggles can be found quite cheaply, just make sure they're not too heavily tinted because it won't be that sunny when you need them most!

Gloves or mittens and a spare pair – A pair of warm gloves is essential. Finding truly waterproof gloves is a real challenge. Ideally, spare dry gloves, hat and socks should be carried in the rucksack liner.

Torch plus spare batteries & bulb - Essential in winter with the short days and a head torch is definitely preferable to a hand held torch. It will need to be bright enough to penetrate thick fog as well as the dark: modern LED headtorches such as the Petzl Tikka are not bright enough for this. And don't rely on others to have a brighter torch.

Rucksack & liner – For winter between 30L and 50L is typical depending on how bulky your spare clothing is. You'll want your bag to have somewhere on the outside to strap an ice axe to. Expensive proprietary liners can be bought but a rubble sac bin liner (usually £1/£2 a roll from Wilko’s and the like) works just as well. Don’t be temped to buy the biggest rucksack and then fill it, remember “Speed is Safety”.

Emergency survival bag – An orange bag is truly essential, they are cheap and could save your life [The club has some but not enough for everyone, so it’s best to have your own]. If you've got lots of money then you might want top get a blizzard bad instead.

Whistle - Necessary in an emergency along with knowledge of how to use it.

Emergency 24hr rations – Don’t forget to take extra food over and above your lunch. You'll use a lot of energy on cold winters days and there's a high chance that you'll get back a bit later than planned so you'll be glad of a couple of extra pieces of flapjack!

On a final note, it can get very cold during the night even in huts so a warm sleeping bag is real bonus.

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Page last modified on December 11, 2007, at 11:14 AM