What I Wear To Go Walking

My parents have always tried to pass on their love of walking, but for years this lazy lump would moan all the way. At least half of my complaints would boil down to discomfort from my clothing, which is my own fault because I refused to wear proper gear, deeming it too unfashionable. Rich coming from a girl who once owned a mint green velour tracksuit.

While I won't be on any catwalks in my waterproofs, I have come to find the outdoor clothing that works for me and makes me feel confident and comfortable. I get too hot very quickly and hate feeling trapped by my clothes, so I've learned to sometimes bend the 'rules' and wear what feels best. Having said that, it's important to note that I stick to footpaths and don't hike large hills or mountains. If you're into more serious walking then please protect yourself and get properly kitted out.

For me, it starts with good base layers. Onions have layers, ogres have layers, Lyd has layers- name that film. I want whatever's closest to my skin to be as pyjama-like as possible, so my go-to is a good pair of leggings and a soft top. I wouldn't recommend jeans for walking because they just don't give you the same flexible range of movement, and if you get caught in the rain/fall in a stream they'll take an age to dry. My running tights are a firm favourite, with mesh panels behind the knees to cool me down, an inside zip pocket at the back for my phone, and drawstrings at the waist so I'm not constantly pulling them up. I'll wear them with an ordinary soft T-shirt, or in really chilly weather I choose to pair my purple thermal top with thermal leggings and a Primark pair over them.

Top tip for base layers: check for any tags inside the clothes and remove them if you have sensitive skin. It's blooming horrible when they rub at your skin with every step!

Over that I usually put my coat straight on, and this is where little fashionista Lyd would be pleased: I have grey, red, pink, and even bright yellow waterproofs to choose from! My best advice when choosing a coat is to size up to allow for layering, and check that the zips and pockets are comfy. You'll thank me when your hands are snug in the sides rather than awkwardly tucked into front-facing pockets. Official advice tells me I should have another layer, but 10 minutes into a walk and you can already roast a chicken down my top so I swerve this unless it's seriously cold, or compromise and wear my 2-in-1. It has a fleece layer and a light waterproof shell which is no trouble to whip off and carry or shove in my bag.

Speaking of bags, this is the one area I do need to figure out. I usually wear a backpack to keep my arms free and shoulders happy, but it does trap heat in at my back, and I shove so many 'essentials' in there that it usually becomes quite heavy. By 'essentials' I mean lip balm, snacks, camera, mini first aid kit, phone, the kitchen sink and so on. One thing I would class as a real essential, and suggest you wear or pop in your bag, is a hat in case you do get chilly or your ears ache when it's windy. I'm lucky to have a mum who practically knits me one a week, but you can grab one anywhere.

Finally we come to the feet, arguably the most important part of walking. The wrong shoes will turn any hill into Hell if they give you blisters or don't support your foot properly. However, what may be seen as the 'right' shoe might not always be the one for you. Over the years I've had a whole army's worth of walking boots, and always hated how stiff and heavy they felt. Nowadays I wear a pair of Nike running trainers and they make all the difference, my foot is protected from water and rough terrain, yet my sole and ankles can still flex, and the shock absorbers keep aches at bay. However, I wouldn't wear them on slippy or loose surfaces where you need grip and stronger ankle support.

When it comes to shopping for all this gear, it can get really expensive, especially when shops are using jargon and inventing fancy new techniques and fabrics. Unless you're going to extremes, don't worry too much about that, but try to invest in your coat and footwear, you don't want cheap ones springing a leak halfway up a hill! My favourite shop is Mountain Warehouse because their sales are great and their designs are as pretty as waterproofs can be, but I've also found discovered some good bits at Sports Direct, and bought basics from Decathlon.

Do you have any tips to add?



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