I like a good hiking adventure and although it’s pretty cold at the moment, the winter months can be a beautiful time to get up into the mountains. It’s often just a few degrees colder up there, which means at this time of year you’re likely to find a bit of snow lying on the ground. Be that as it may, it’s always a good idea to be well prepared and having the right gear can make the difference between a cold, soggy, miserable day in the mountains and a dry, warm, beautiful day in the mountains.
So I tested two bits of kit from Gelert pretty vital to any walk.
One more thing about the Venture Trousers is that they’re not only good for walking, but climbing, bouldering and mountain biking. I even took them for a run the other day and am still loving how light and comfortable they are!
Gelert has been trading since 1975 and has a strong ethical trading policy. The company works hard to ensure it not only produces high quality and fair priced products, but that everything it uses is ethically sourced.
Jon Clarkson is head of product development at Gelert and offers some handy advice for anyone looking to go hiking in the Brecon Beacons, or any other mountain range, this winter.
What advice can you offer walkers hiking in the Brecon Beacons this winter?
“The Brecon Beacons is a beautiful area of the country for walking, but being prepared for changeable weather conditions is essential whenever hiking in the UK. Taking practical precautions should ensure you enjoy a good day out which is both safe and comfortable.
“Even if you know the area well, weather conditions in the Brecon Beacons can change quickly and it’s important to take a good map and compass, carry plenty of water and food and make sure you’ve told somebody where you are going.
“With exposed conditions on the tops, it’s really important to carry extra layers, waterproof clothing and dress for warmth, even if it feels like overkill when you begin your climb.”
What gear can you recommend and why?
“In winter even experienced walkers can be caught out if they are not wearing suitable clothing. You may want to carry a larger rucksack than you would in summer to make room for extra layers and waterproof trousers. A 35 – 45 litre bag such as our Summit Rucksacks would be ideal.
“A warm base layer will keep you comfortable when exercising in the cold. Our Women’s Flex SS Tech T-Shirt is carefully designed to wick moisture away from your skin, keeping you warm and dry whilst exercising in the cold.
“Getting wet can really put a dampener on a walk and could let in a winter sniffle. Different kit has different ratings and for hill walking in the winter, I’d recommend opting for a hydrostatic head rating of 3000mm, meaning that it will withstand water pressure from a 3000mm column of water. Our Women’s Timor Jacket is designed specifically to keep you thoroughly dry in adverse conditions and was awarded ‘Best Value Waterproof Jacket’ by Trail magazine. With a double storm flap, adjustable hood and cuffs and taped seams the jacket makes sure that you will stay dry as a bone underneath.
“Walking poles are popular with fell walkers as they can act as an extra limb, helping to stabilise you on rough ground, particularly on tricky descents. Our walking poles are designed to make longer hikes more comfortable by reducing pressure on the knees, controlling speed, improving balance and providing support for the shoulders and arms.”
What gear would you recommend for both beginners and more advanced walkers?
“The essential items we’d recommend to anyone wanting to start walking are a decent pair of boots and a warm waterproof jacket. Other items such as waterproof trousers and fleeces can be added in time.
“Gelert supplies a wide range of kit with different specifications, from beginners’ kit for those wishing to enjoy valley walks, to technical hill walking kit, suitable for adverse weather conditions. Advanced walkers will need items such as base layers, first aid kits and small camping stoves for longer walking trips.”
What does Gelert do to encourage and support walkers and the protect the natural environment which is so important to them?
“Gelert also supports a number of outdoor associations including the RNLI and the Ramblers, helping them in their endeavours to promote responsible walking and respect for our environment.
“We also supply our own range of eco-friendly products. With innovative hardware such as the Gelert Wind Up Headtorch and a range of clothing made with Bamboo charcoal yarn, including base layers and warm jumpers.”
- If you’d like more information on how to find a good hiking jacket, GearWeAre.com offers some really helpful advice
- To read more about walking in the Brecon Beacons, you may want to read my December post Exploring the Brecon Beacons this winter