Equipment and Accessories


Leki Makalou Walking Poles

For some reason I only started using walking poles five years into my walking career by which time I'd started to notice a dull ache coming from my right hip when on long drives and I didn't quite realise what was causing it. I later learned that by not using walking poles I was putting extra pressure on my leading hip which was causing my discomfort. Weeks later I'd purchased my first walking pole which came in the form of the Leki Makalou and hey presto the dull ache disappeared and from that day I wouldn't leave the house for the fells without a set of walking poles in my boot.


Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles.

Since the beginning of 2014 I started to walk using two poles from leaving the car park to returning to it sometime later, I hadn’t really quite grasped just how much using two poles can help not just with steep descents but steep ascents too (stands to sense really) The Black Diamond Trail Poles were this time bought as a pair, the upper grip is a narrow shaft of foam which isn’t as comfortable as the Leki Makalou but when held as a pair after a short time walking it's hard to tell the difference. A key feature to the Black Diamond Trail Poles are that they are handed with a handy L & R on each wrist loop, this is because the wrist loop drops neatly into each hand without twisting or leaving your thumbs feeling uncomfortable.

Leki Softlite Walking Poles
The newest addition to my collection of walking these are the poles that I'm currently using in 2019. I must admit I do prefer clamp adjustment which seem to be a thing of the past rather than the telescopic extendable type. The Softlite are a sturdy tungsten tip pole complete with soft feel handles. The straps are adjusted, as are most Leki poles by lifting the head of the handle with the excess strap which then allows easy adjustment.


Black Diamond Trail Pro Trek Walking Poles

I'm a huge fan of Black Diamond walking poles so after my Leki Softlite's were starting to show quite a bit of wear and tear and I thought I would treat myself to a new pair of poles. The Pro Trek came with great reviews so I ordered a pair and used them on my next walk. The poles have a two part locking system the upper lock is the flick lock type which is quick and precise however the lower lock is a twist lock which even when locked has a slight tolerance of play. This tolerance can be quite annoying when walking over soft ground where if the tip of the pole sinks into the ground once retrieved this tolerance snaps back which to some maybe minimal but I found quite annoying. Its such a shame that after just a few walks I couldn't put up with the poles any longer and found myself searching for a new pair. This hasn't put me off Black Diamond walking poles but it certainly has put me off the Trail Pro's,


Rubens Ambleside C66 Walking Poles (pair)
I've only been using the Ambleside C66 walking poles for a few week and so far I'm very impressed. The poles are fully carbon and therefore extra light and sturdy and the flick locks work effortlessly and feel sturdy once locked into place. The lower pole doesn't have any height marks which is a bit of a let down but this can be easily solved be offering the pole up to height and either marking the correct height using a permanent marker.


Leki Makalu Walking Poles

I can't fault the Leki brand, which is, above all else, my favourite brand of walking poles. I purchased the Softlites around spring 2015 and used them weekend in and weekend out until January 2024, when the grips finally gave out. Thats an incredible 9 years of use without failure. It goes without saying that my next set of poles, the Makalu's, were a no-brainer. The lock system's are identical to the Softlites, sturdy and reliable and Im a huge fan of the wider head of the grip which increase stability during decent, however the nylon handles are non-handed but that doesnt mean you can just slip your hand in and be on your way, youve really got to make sure that when you do your thumbs fold flat on the handle which can take a couple of annoying attempts, adding to this is the nylon handle sticks to sweaty skin and instead of twisiting around your wrist during usage the nylon grips against your skin meaning your constantly ajusting the handle, considering the nylong handle is the only flaw its not enough to stop me purchasing another pair in another 10 years time.


Grivel Explorer Microspikes
Two years after purchasing the these microspikes Im still yet to wear them in anger, trust me its not through want of trying!


Grivel Monte Rosa New Classic Crampon.
Imperative for safe climbs over snow and hard ice the Grivel Crampon is the leader amongst expeditions the world over.


Mountain Equipment Alpine Gaiter
The Mountain Equipment Alpine Gaiter was given to as a gift back in 2014 and I've used them every Winter all the way through to 2018 with only the odd repair required. The recommended time to use gaiters is when hiking in snow or during wet conditions or as extra leg protection when using crampons as the gaiter not only keeps the lower leg free from snow but also protects trousers from cuts and tears that crampons can cause. Constructed from a three membrane layer the Alpine is tough, robust and waterproof leg gaiter, a must for all serious fell walkers.


Rab Hispar Gaiter
Awaiting review.


Grivel Mont Blanc S.A
The Nepal S.A. is a non-technical ice axe ideal for trekking and classic snow climbs. The carbon-steel head features a classically inclined pick with teeth along half its length. The body and pick have been drop forged into one piece before the stamped shovel is welded to it. The Ergal shaft surpasses UIAA norms for strength and durability. It is coated with red, epoxy-based paint.


Camelbak 2ltr Hydration System

The 2ltr Camalbak hydration bladder pack is possibly the best hydration pack on the market, expect to pay £20.00 plus, yes they are expensive but you do get great value and a life long warranty, described as indestructible I have had my Camelbak for two years without a problem from the bladder itself although I have replaced the bite valve once and added a stop valve to avoid leakage.

Osprey Hydraulics 3ltr Reservoir Blue
Due to spending longer times on the hill during the Summer months I needed a larger bladder pack and the Osprey 3ltr works fits perfectly with my Osprey Stratos 36ltr pack fitting snuggly into the bladder pocket. Comes with a neat clip and magnet for your packs chest strap to keep the valve close at all times.

Gelert Survival Bottle
This handy bottle was purchased as a novice fell walker and I've upgraded many items inside, luckily however, I've never had to use it and I hope I never have too!

Gelert Double Lightweight Survival Bag
This essential survival bag has been with me from the start of my walking career and it tends to just get swapped from pack to pack whenever I need to, thankfully, as above, I've never had to use.

Silva Field Compass
Oddly I only learned how to use a compass well into my walking career by which time I was comfortable with walking the Lakeland fells in all weathers, due to lack of use I tend to give myself brush up lessons at home ready for if ever I need to use it in the field. An essential piece of kit every fell walker should learn how to use when out fell walking.

Petzl Tactikka Head Torch
The Petzl Tactikka is one of my original items of kit I've had from the very start. I suspect with advancing technology the more modern head torch will shine much brighter than the single L.E.D that the Tactikka boasts but it does the job and the batteries seem to last forever. Another essential item of kit no fell walker should leave the house without.

Petzl Actik Head Torch and Core mini USB rechargeable battery
There was nothing wrong with my 6 year Petzl Tactikka Head Torch when I decided to upgrade it. With technology moving on and with more wild camps in the pipeline I thought I'd make the upgrade to the Actik. With several brightness levels maxing at 350 lumens I purchased the Actik during Winter and tested it on night dog walks in woodland where it was fair to say I was impressed. At the maximum setting the 350 lumens pierces through dense woodland with ease and after testing it for up to 3 hours during a wild camp there was no need to top up the battery.

Snow Goggles by SINNER

Purchasing snow goggles was never something that had occurred to me, it was as simple as keep your head down and walk the spin drift out. I had the opportunity to purchase a pair of snow ogggles from my local Go outdoor store without wanting to pay through the nose I settled for a pair of entry level goggles which cost just £20.00

It was only did I encounter fierce winds and spin drift during December 2014 while on Helvellyn did I realise just how well my new snow goggles helped me as winds approached 65mph across the summit tops, it was here did I realise that my £20.00 purchase was possibly the best money I'd spent on gear for a long time as the protection they offered was second to none with increased visibility which also aided with reading a map or GPS


Bloc Billy Sunglasses.
I would be lost without my Billy’s during the Summer and indeed during the Winter months when the sun is low. I’m currently on my third pair now after leaving the previous two on St Sunday Crag’s summit back in 2010 and the other pair I left behind after a mammoth hike over the Scafells back in 2011

SINNER Cat 3 Cayo Mens Sunglasses
With the Bloc Billy's a distant memory I upgraded my eyewear to a pair of light and durable Sinner Cayo sunglasses. Two lenses are available with either red or orange, I opted for orange which I feel suit everyday use.

Lifesystems Sterile First Aid Kit
A must for any fell walker keeping your first aid kit updated is as important as keeping the kit itself. Check the kit every few weeks and make sure it's nice and dry inside, plasters and bandages tend to have a long shelf life but once damp/wet it's best to replace straight away. An essential piece of kit for anyone hitting the fells.