Hiker Bio Age: 26 Fitness Level: Moderate Hiking experience: None Location: Kinder Scout, The Peak District Trail: Jacobs Ladder Ok, so first of all I am not a Hiker! Neither have I really ever walked anywhere consecutively for a long period of time. So when the task of creating a new Simply Hike video on top of the highest point in The Peak District came up, naturally I was a bit apprehensive. With that in mind, and as a complete beginner I felt it only best to do some research into what kind of equipment I would need to make my first experience easier, though after browsing through the internet for a while I found that I couldn't really relate to any of the articles people had shared, so I have decided to share my very own experience as a first time hiker and talk about some of the obstacles faced as a woman to hopefully give some good advice to other first timers. First of all, you really need a good pair of hiking boots. Praise the heavens that I was lucky enough to have purchased some AMAZING Meindl Walking boots beforehand which kept my ankles well supported and comfortable. I really can’t even imagine walking the 8-mile long uneven trails with a simple pair of trainers - without causing some serious damage to my ankles. The reason for this is simply due to the steep inclines and from my own experience I found that at times, especially on the rocky uneven trails, my feet were all over the place! Especially around the ankle. I could feel my lower leg forcefully moving left to right and had it not been for the high ankle support, my ankles would definitely have given way numerous times. Also if you’re thinking of investing in some boots then look out for a Gore-Tex lining/membrane as it really made my feet more comfortable. Gore-Tex is a technology incorporated into the material of the boots that makes them waterproof and breathable – so no sweaty feet after a long days trek. Hurray!
One word of advice from a first time walking boot owner – wear them in before you go anywhere! I made the classic mistake of only wearing them for a couple of hours a day before the hike, so when I got to the final decent my toes were beginning to squish against the front of the boot which made the journey down the peak very uncomfortable. My own fault to be fair, as I was warned by some of my colleagues at Simply Hike, but my own stubbornness got the better of me. Other than that though, the walking boots were incredible and are definitely something worth investing in as a beginner! The next big thing - take a Shewee! let me explain… Ok so the biggest and probably the hardest obstacle faced was definitely the toilet situation! Being a woman, there are certain needs that just cannot be fulfilled by simply squatting in a field full of cows and sheep surrounded by thousands of midges lingering at the first chance to bite you on the bottom (dramatic pause) Well girls… bitten bums no more! There is just one item which will completely change your outdoor toilet experience…The Shewee! The Shewee is a funnel shaped portable urinal device, which gives you the joy of being able to stand and do the deed discretely. So this means no bums on show because all you need to do is pull your flies down, place the Shewee and away you go! It is also so much more hygienic and the main thing is you haven’t got the worry of someone just casually spotting you – which was my main concern hiking with two male colleagues! The Shewee is, in my personal opinion, the most essential thing to have in your beginner kit; it made my life so much easier! Especially on the top of the peaks where there is little foliage and just flat ground, as you can imagine... The next thing I found that really helped me was the walking poles. Now I hear what you might be (as a beginner) thinking… walking poles are for old people! I am 26 years old and can honestly say that without those poles I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make the steep inclines. They offered me support and stability when I needed it the most, and particularly came in handy when I went off-track and was scrambling up steep rocky terrain. If you’re a newbie to hiking, no matter what level of fitness you are I really recommend you use them just as a starter to give you that extra support on the uneven terrains, of course its not an essential piece of kit but definitely one I personally will be using again.
Now for the getting your hair wet fiasco... I was really lucky to have been given one of our more techy waterproof Mammut jackets for the purpose of our new Hike advert, so was very pleased when I saw dark clouds shifting over the high hills of the Peak District because I though 'great! I can test this bad boy out!' The brilliant thing about this particular jacket is its peaked hood and adjusters. I’m not really one for getting my hair drenched to the point where I look like a drowned rat so the peaked hood did a really good job of keeping a) my hair dry and b) the rain out of my face. Also when you get to high areas, the weather tends to turn and become very windy, so the adjusters did a great job at keeping my hood up - I just made sure they were tight enough around the collar and hood to hug around my face comfortably. The jacket itself is completely waterproof and highly breathable which are two really important factors to key-in if you’re planning a long journey. Not only will it keep you dry but it wont make your sweat as badly as if you were wearing a lower end jacket – I personally really appreciated that. It also helps that the jacket is super lightweight because it makes it easy to pack into your backpack when the weather is nice. I would definitely recommend a beginner to invest in a good waterproof jacket especially if you’re like me and don’t like getting too wet! If you’re an outdoors enthusiast though who enjoys the extreme elements then something like a Craghopper will suit you fine. Anyway I hope this has been of some help, I have noted at the bottom the exact kit that I wore so you can take a look. My experience overall was incredible, all the climbing, ‘sheweeing’ and rain was all worth it when I reached the very top where the views were breath taking! As someone who has never hiked, or even really thought about doing so, the experience has completely changed my judgement and I can honestly say that I have know found a new life hobby.
Kit Taken: Meindl Womens Air Revolution Lady Ultra Hiking Boot Mammut Keiko Jacket Montane Womens Terra Ridge Pants Berghaus Womens Freeflow II 40 Rucksack The North Face Womens Thermoball Full Zip Jacket Shewee Extreme Black Diamond Ultra Mountain FL Walking Poles