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The Route to Scafell Pike via Mickldore

The Route to Scafell Pike via Mickldore

Recently I wrote about doing a hike and scramble up Scafell Pike in the Lake District. What outdoor gear should be taken on a day walk up the highest mountain in England? This would obviously depend upon the time of year and the expected weather conditions. Below is a list of the outdoor gear that I took with me on my hike, indicating what gear I used and did not use.

The Walking Gear I Took Up Scafell Pike

The hike took place in mid June, not far off the longest day of the year. The weather forecast was for glorious, uninterrupted sunshine all week.

The Outdoor Gear I Used

  • Stout Karrimor Walking Boots – essential for hiking and scrambling on a mountain!
  • Thin and Thick Terra Nova Walking Socks – essential for foot comfort and keeping away blisters.
  • The North Face Shorts and a Lowe Alpine Dry Flow T-Shirt.
  • Freeflow 2 Layer Gore-Tex Waterproof Jacket – It was a little chilly on the summit whilst eating lunch!
  • Leki Makalu Classic Walking Poles – these help give your legs a boost on the ascent and really save your knees on the descent.
  • Lowe Alpine 46 Litre Rucksack – the more space you have, the more stuff you take!
  • 1.6 Litre Platypus Hydration Pack – I ran out of water just before finishing the hike.
  • Cheese salad rolls, cereal bars and crisps.
  • Camera – to take lots of photos of mountains to go on the blog!
  • Sun Lotion and Sun Glasses – UV protection is essential on a hot sunny day!
  • Laminated Ordnance Survey Explorer OL6 Map (The English Lakes South Western Area) – essential for navigation! After all, the government is trying to prevent walkers from getting lost 😉

Nothing wrong with that lot, except that my rucksack was a bit larger than required.

The Outdoor Gear I Did Not Use

  • Long Sleeved Mid-Weight Sprayway Micro-Fleece Top
  • Berghaus Gore-Tex Paclite Waterproof Trousers
  • Survival Bag
  • Terra Nova Four Man Bothy Bag
  • First Aid Kit
  • Emergency Whistle
  • Spare Boot Laces
  • Silva Compass
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Cigarette Lighter

Whatever category you might come under in our “Are you a lightweight?” quiz, by now you will surely be thinking that I am not a lightweight when it comes to outdoor gear! How can I possibly justify carrying all that outdoor equipment that I did not use?

Whilst I did not use the Sprayway Fleece, …

taking one layer more than you think you’ll need

…is a good rule of thumb for deciding upon what outdoor clothing to take. Of course, you could argue that the waterproof jacket was the one more layer.

The Berghaus Gore-Tex Paclite Waterproof Trousers were purchased following a hike in the Peak District one summers day. The day started out dry but after about an hour or so it began to drizzle. The rain continued all day. My old pair of waterproof trousers failed after 15 minutes, making the rest of the hike quite unpleasant. The Berghaus Gore-Tex Paclite Waterproof Trousers have performed well in the rain and are very lightweight, so I have no issues with packing them even if no rain is expected.

As for the rest of the emergency equipment, if things had gone wrong it may well have been needed. Had the weather been bad, with poor visibility, the compass would have been used. If there were less daylight hours I would also have carried a Petzl headtorch. With the weather forecast being so good the Bothy Bag was definitely overkill!

Great Gable as seen from Scafell Pike

Great Gable as seen from Scafell Pike

Outdoor Gear for Winter Conditions

In the extreme opposite conditions from the nice hot summer, the emergency equipment and extra fleece are easy to justify. If you have an accident and stop moving you will become cold very quickly. The extra protection of a survival bag really could mean the difference between life and death.

The 2 layer waterproof jacket would need to be used in conjunction with a heavy weight Windbloc Fleece or replaced with a more substantial 3 layer waterproof jacket. Additional waterproofs would also be needed: waterproof over-trousers, gloves and of course, the ubiquitous Lowe Alpine Mountain Cap!

Obviously the shorts would be replaced by walking trousers and an additional mid-weight fleece would be worn.

If there is snow and ice in the Lake District then it is a good idea to take crampons, especially if you will be scrambling or mountaineering. However I have seen many people managing perfectly well without crampons on the main footpaths in the Lakes when there has been snow. To use crampons you will require crampon compatible boots.

Emergency Food Rations

Chocolate is an obvious popular choice, but it melts in the summer and freezes in the winter. Kendal Mint Cake is another good choice, as long as you don’t tell your dentist!

Don’t Forget the Kitchen Sink!

What outdoor gear do you take when you go for a day hike in the Lake District or elsewhere? Let us know by clicking the “comments” link below!

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  • Adam

    I have done a lot of hiking expeditions and mountain walking and would just like to say even though on your trip you didn’t use some of those things they are the things that can save your life in a life or death situation and are an absolute essential, it may be hard to be found if you’re lost on the side of a mountain

  • Em

    Just to clear something up, You would not need to replace a 2 layer jacket with a 3 layer jacket in winter they are just as effective as one another. Wearing a windbloc or gore windstopper fleece under a 2 layer or 3 layer Gore-tex jacket would seriously inhibit the breathability of the garment and may result in you becomeing colder as the garments can’t work effectivly together. It is also incredibly important when venturing into the mountains in winter conditions to take an ice axe as well as crampons, crampon compatible boots and the knowledge of how to use such equipment.
    Regards
    Em

  • http://www.cheaptents.com Daniel

    Thanks for your comments Em.

    The advantage of 3 layer jackets is that they are tougher and more hard wearing than 2 layer jackets, for this reason they are more suitable for climbing and mountaineering. The advantage of 2 layer jackets is that they have a softer drape and are more breathable, so they tend to be better for 3 and 4 season walking / trekking.

    It is worth mentioning that for both 2 and 3 layer waterproofs, the breathability of the fabric will benefit if Nikwax TX Direct has been applied. This helps to stop the fabric from becoming saturated with water when it is raining.

    With regards to wearing a windproof fleece underneath a waterproof, manufacturers do claim that windproof fleece fabric is breathable enough to be worn underneath breathable waterproofs. However, we have been debating this here and we are of divided opinion on the subject.

    During the winter months there is no guarantee that there will be snow and ice in the Lake District, and if there is, there is not usually that much of it. Therefore during the winter months in the Lake District an ice axe or crampons are not normally required. In true “winter conditions” with continuous freezing temperatures and prolonged heavy snowfall, an ice axe, crampons, crampon compatible boots and the knowledge of how to use such equipment would be essential in the Lake District.

  • Margo

    This has been the most useful post; thanks, from an inexperienced walker

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