The best gear for walking: boots, binoculars, fitness trackers, jackets and more

Laying out the kit you need, so you can take back the time to enjoy it

You’re on the hunt for the right gear to suit the situation and don’t have the time to spend trawling the interwebs. Fear not T3 is here.

This guide will offer you the best of the best, the cream of the crop, so you know what to buy for what you need - no matter what it is.

This week we’re rounding up all the best kit for walking in the great outdoors. This is a great way to get fit, see nature at its best and clear your head all at the same time. If you doubt the benefits, check out what Dr. Andrew Murray had to say. This man is, deep breath, a sports and exercise medicine doctor, GP and researcher with the University of Edinburgh and ambassador for Merrell UK - so he knows his stuff. Then read on to find all the best kit to get you started walking for the win.

People often think they have to run to get fit - is that really necessary?

Regular physical activity is man's best medicine, be that walking, cycling, running, climbing, golf or whatever.  If you go from being a couch potato to a regular exerciser you'll live 7 years longer (on average) and be healthier and happier.  There are additional benefits to doing this in the great outdoors.  Running can bring additional benefits to walking- so why not give both a go?

If you wanted to get fit by walking, what's the best way to get started- any pointers?

Start small and build up.  The first few days are the hardest.  Get through them and you'll be hooked. Any walking is great.  Especially if it gets your heart rate up a bit

If people want to start hiking, what do they need to prepare?

Wearing your shoes in before embarking on a big trek will help prevent blisters - and get a good trusted brand like Merrell.  Also, knowing where you are going, with a map, a compass if needed, adequate food and water, and a mobile phone are important. Your phone is good in an emergency, and can take great pictures. 

Why is a good pair of walking boots essential?

I walk because I enjoy it.  Having comfortable feet, and no blisters is a sure way to improve your mood, while blistered feet can stop you in your tracks.  and a good pair can last you many, many years.  Buy well, and avoid having to buy twice.

What should they look out for when they go and buy a pair of walking boots? 

A good well trusted brand, that fits you well, and serves the purpose you need. There are a range of shoes for walking, hiking, running, and climbing that are all subtly different. Find one that suits you! 

Best walking shoes and boots

Walking shoes and boots come in handy if you're going fastpacking, peak bagging, hiking, or even just, y’know, walking. Clue’s in the name. The perfect walking shoe or boot should be luxuriously comfortable, unstintingly waterproof, heroically breathable, tank-like in its ruggedness, with grip like Spider-Man's socks. 

Best binoculars

Granted, they're not something you'd use that often, but a decent pair of binoculars are de rigeur for wildlife safaris, sporting events, music festivals and bird watching.

Binocular prices vary wildly from sub £25 to over two grand, but there's a valid reason for this. The most expensive glasses are precision-made instruments made from the very finest materials and assembled by skilled engineers wearing pristine white overalls in clinical environments.

There are other factors involved like magnification and objective lens size but, in a nutshell, a top quality pair of binos will almost always produce a crystal clear image with pin sharp detail right to the very edge of the lens. £700 is a good starting point. We know that's a pretty steep starting point though, so in our round up we've got a range of more affordable binoculars. You do get what you pay for with binoculars, but there's still plenty of choice here for all budgets and needs.

The best binoculars

Best waterproof jacket

If you're heading to the hills in spring, summer, autumn or winter in the UK, getting the best waterproof jacket is key (let's face it, it's going to rain), which is why T3 has collected the top lightweight men's coats money can buy.

Purchasing a good hard shell which will stand up to the rigour of a day's worth of rain isn't as straightforward as it might seem.

Best waterproof jackets

Best fitness tracker

Looking to get fit in 2017? A fitness tracker (aka a fitness band, aka "those things you wear that count your steps") is a decent place to start.

With the market extremely well established there really is something for everyone. Prices range from around £20 to £150+, with products that do little more than count steps and 'track sleep', with varying degrees of inaccuracy, all the way up to devices with heart-rate tracking that are more like scaled down running watches.

The best fitness tracker

Best base layers and underwear

Feeling the chill? If you're planning on keeping your healthy regime going throughout these cold and dark winter months then you'll need an awesome base layer. 

There are plenty of ways to keep your core temperature where it should be for all kinds of sports and exercise, or indeed for just popping to the shops to buy brandy.

For the uninitiated, a base layer is exactly what it sounds like. It's the layer you wear first before you put on anything else and one that keeps you warm and soaks up your sweat. 

Choosing a base layer is not very complicated. You've a choice of merino wool, all synthetic or a wool/poly mix. The merino ones tend to be better at keeping you dry as well as warm, and feel nicer against the skin.

Here's our guide to buying the right base layer no matter what activity you're undertaking.

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