You don’t need much for a good Stumble – just a backpack really. Here are some tips for things we’ve found useful.
A cheap 25l Tesco’s day pack is all you need. Plenty big enough to carry your essentials, even for the occasional Stumblers’ Awayday.
Don’t bother with fancy hydration bladders – they’re only useful when you’re trail hiking with a full pack. Just stuff the pack’s side pockets with 75cl bottles of water and Lucozade.
This is also the place to keep your spare bootlaces!
Look like toys for posers until you actually try them, then you begin to appreciate them!
Make a big difference on uncertain ground, especially downhill on mud or loose stones. In pairs, make uphill much easier – like 4-wheel drive. They spread the load to the upper body, which makes for easier walking and healthier exercise. Most now have spring shock-absorbers. Some brands are preposterously expensive – avoid them.
Again, not essential, but once you’ve started using them, you wouldn’t be without them. They keep mud and water out of your laces and off your trousers, avoid getting your trousers snagged on brambles, and are a defence against ticks.
But… DON’T buy cheap ones. Gaiters must breathe, so look for Gore-tex on the label, or something similar. Good ones will last for years; check that you can replace the stirrup strap.
Ladies may prefer half-length ones.