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What gear do you need to take on the National 3 Peaks Challenge?



Unsure what to buy or what to bring on your 24 hour challenge? We've made a few lists of things you need to bring and optional extras, separated by what to wear, what to carry and what to leave in your team vehicle. (Note, if you aren't taking on the 24 hour challenge, the basics still apply).


We break down the kit list into a mix of essential and recommended as it becomes easy to over pack and become too heavy to achieve a decent time, but also extremely easy to under pack and get caught out in bad weather. Ultimately, use common sense.


Prepare for bad weather, hope for good.


Firstly, it doesn't matter what month you take on the challenge, every peak counts as being on the 'western seaboard' meaning weather can change quickly and often. The higher you go the more you are at risk to weather changing quickly as well, so climbers high up Ben Nevis for example can often find themselves caught out without any notice. (Ben Nevis is often surrounded in mist for most of the year too).


In reality, remember this is the United Kingdom. Expect rain even when not forecasted.


Its all in the footwear


First and foremost before you read any further, go and get yourself some good walking boots, fitted to you. Not trainers or trail shoes, proper walking boots. There are a number of stores who will do free fittings, we recommend Cotswold Outdoor.


Make sure you break them in in the months coming up to the challenge (which you will be doing of course when following your training programme).



Essential kit list (to wear)


- Good hiking boots (fitted, and broken in)

- A small rucksack (18-28 litres capacity is fine)

- Hiking socks (wear a single pair, don't double up)

- Lightweight walking trousers (maybe ones that zip to shorts it if gets hot?)

- A base layer (any t-shirt that isn't cotton is fine)

- An 'outer shell' (fleece, soft shell jacket etc)

- A windproof, waterproof jacket


Essential kit list (to carry)


- A warm hat and gloves

- A map of each mountain (use our OS Mapfinder tool to get yours)

- Compass

- Water (2 litres per person)

- Torch and head torch (do not forget these as you will walk in darkness at times)

- First aid kit (you can buy a personal pack at any good outdoors shop)

- Survival blanket (better to have and not need...)

- Mobile (obviously - with the numbers for mountain rescue saved)

- Snacks!


Essential kit list (for the car)


- An additional 2-3 litres water per person

- Extra food (sandwiches, snacks, etc)

- A spare base layer and spare socks

- Trainers (no one wants to be in boots all the time)

- A blanket to sleep under


Recommended kit items (weather dependant)


- Waterproof over trousers

- Sunglasses, suncream

- Waterproof rucksack cover (most good ones come with one built-in)


Optional kit


- Walking poles (depending on your fitness and personal requirements)

- Spare trousers for the car (if weather is truly awful)

- GPS system



Final hints & tips


1 - Bring multiple pairs of hiking socks and potentially base layers. Nothing refreshes you like a change of socks between mountains!


2 - Try and find a rucksack with a hydration bladder system to avoid having to stop and remove your pack to take a drink. Osprey Packs are absolutely fantastic and their pack finder is a good place to start your research.


If you want a recommendation the Hikelite 26 or Stratos 26 is a perfect place to start for men and women, combining bladder system, rain cover and comfortable fit. (We have a Manta AG 28 and Hikelite 26 from Osprey between us, we love them).


3 - Do not wear jeans, period.


4 - Do the challenge with at least one other person, and get your team a designated driver. Do not try and drive yourselves, it is a long drive and you will be exceptionally tired (more on that in a future post).



We don't have any specific recommendations for other bits of kit at this stage as each can be down to personal preference and budget. However we will be listing our own gear in a future post with recommendations for where to get some to help give you a better idea of what we use.


Good luck!

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