Stumbling is pretty undemanding in this respect; if the weather’s horrible, don’t go! But you only need to be caught out in the rain on the Yorkshire Moors once to appreciate the words of the Blessed St Wainwright: ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong kit.’
Forget jeans. They are heavy, chafe, get absolutely saturated in the rain and are well-nigh impossible to dry.
Choose a pair of lightweight, quick-drying outdoor trousers such as Craghoppers, or similar. Look for zip pockets, so you don’t lose your car keys or mobile when clambering over a stile. Some types have zip-off lower legs, so they double up as shorts in the summer.
Any coat you choose should be water-repellent and breathable.
For winter wear, look for a good-quality product with a detachable inner fleecy, integral hood (in the collar), a stormproof zip cover and adjustable cuffs. If anything, get one a bit too big, so you can add layers underneath it.
For summer wear, light weight is desirable. Look for one you can roll up into your backpack ready for use if the weather changes.
Tee-shirts can be fine for balmy summer days, but for keeping warm in winter, nothing beats a Base Layer. It’s just a stretch-fit synthetic long-sleeved vest. Very thin and light, but incredibly warm. It also wicks sweat away very efficiently.
You can also get long-johns in the same material, but a discarded pair of tights with the feet cut off works just as well for the odd occasion when you might need the extra warmth.
Keeping your head – or, strictly, the brain inside it – at the right temperature is more than just a matter of comfort.
Sunstroke is dangerous and can catch you out very quickly. So almost any kind of sunhat will do, but our advice is to go for one with a wide brim, to keep the sun off your neck and out of your eyes.
Contrary to the stereotypical image of the rambler, knitted wool bobble hats are virtually useless in cold weather; the icy wind just whistles straight through and freezes your brain. Much better are purpose-designed fleecy beanies; they are wind proof but let perspiration through. We recommend you choose one that covers your ears!
Apart from their obvious purpose, sunglasses protect your eyes from the drying effect of the wind, from dust and insects, and from being poked by low-hanging twigs!