What to wear
   Base layers
   Cold weather
   Wet weather
What to take
On the hill
About the team
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What to wear

The main task - apart from making you look good -  of the clothing you wear to is to protect you from the elements. In the British hills that is very often rain and wind, sometimes snow, and just occasionally the sun.

Good protection from the wet and from the wind is important, especially as the higher you go the colder and the windier it tends to get. The 'wind chill' effect is very real; you feel considerably colder than the recorded temperature when the wind is blowing. All this means that what seems to be a warm balmy day down in the valley can turn into something completely different when you reach the tops.

Of course as you walk along, and particularly if you are climbing, you generate heat and you sweat. Clearly you need to replace that heat energy with fuel - food - and the sweat with liquid. You also need to be able to regulate your temperature; for instance by putting on an extra layer when you stop at the summit for lunch.

You also need to be ready to react to changes in the weather. If it starts to rain it is vital to stay dry, as wet clothing makes you cold very quickly. This is one reason why jeans are not good for hillwalking; they absorb water easily and only evaporate it off by taking huge amounts of heat from your body. They act pretty much like a refrigerator.

The most effective means of regulating temperature and staying dry is to have a series of layers which you can take off and put on (or perhaps just zip and unzip) as you require. Most people, except in the most extreme conditions, find that three good layers do the job - a base layer next to the skin, an insulating layer to keep warmth in, and an outer layer to protect against wind and the rain. On your legs this can be reduced to two layers; perhaps some hiking trousers and waterproof over-trousers in case it rains. Hats and gloves finish off the basic clothing kit list.

We cover these clothing layers and the other vital element in the equation - footwear - in more detail in the pages on the left.

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