Basic equipment for mountain hiking

Walking is becoming increasingly popular. You don’t need very special equipment to take a walk in the Netherlands, but you do if you plan to go walking in the mountains. In the mountains you will have to deal with many more natural phenomena and unexpected circumstances that you should always be prepared for. Taking a mountain walk is something completely different from a walk in the Netherlands. For a mountain walk you need more equipment than for a walk in the Netherlands. Of course, you should never go out without equipment in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a fairly flat country. We don’t have any really big height differences here. Walking in the Netherlands is therefore suitable for almost everyone. The Netherlands is a fully built-up country and you will not easily get lost. You always end up in a village and otherwise you will meet someone along the way. However, for a simple walk you should never go without equipment, unless you are taking a detour. If you are going for a long walk in the Netherlands, think of 20 kilometers, you will need a number of equipment. Remember good walking shoes, water, food, snacks and a mobile phone. And in case of rain, good, breathable rainwear. A (walking) map can also come in handy.

To put away

For a mountain hike you need much larger equipment. This equipment also depends a bit on the type of hike you are going to take. A walk in a valley is not nearly as intensive as a walk to the top. In this last type of walking you quickly have to take into account a long day trip that can take up to 7 hours. Peaks of around 2,000 meters often require a climb of 3 to 4 hours. The paths can sometimes be partly washed away, which can cause dangerous situations. You may also unexpectedly encounter a snow field. And don’t forget that the weather in the mountains can change very quickly. All circumstances to take into account, since you are not just down there.
The real basic equipment consists of:

  • Good mountain hiking boots, which have a good grip on (loose) rock.
  • Hiking socks
  • A backpack
  • Plenty of water, food and snacks. Good snacks are fruit and granola bars. In any case, something that provides energy. Dextrose tablets can also be useful
  • Hiking map or GPS
  • A mobile phone and possibly a spare battery or power bank
  • First aid kit, this seems nonsensical, but a fall is easy and there are plenty of sharp rocks
  • A warm, windproof, but breathable jacket in cold temperatures
  • A (fleece) vest, always take a vest with you in your backpack, even when it is hot in summer. It is often much colder on top of a mountain and the weather can change very quickly
  • Raincoat and rain pants, the weather can change very quickly, even if nice weather is forecast
  • Sunglasses when there is a lot of sun
  • Sunburn if there is a lot of sun
  • Mountain sticks, if you are going to walk on difficult paths, mountain sticks can be a solution. They provide extra support, making it easier for you to find your way.
  • Snow spikes, if you go hiking early in the hiking season there is a good chance that you will have to cross snow fields high in the mountains. These snow fields are often treacherously slippery. Good mountain boots can get you a long way, but snow spikes give you that little bit of extra grip.

All in all, the basic equipment has become quite a packing list. What exactly you take with you also depends entirely on the weather, the season and the area. If you are really going to climb or via ferrata, you will need a lot more equipment. Think of a climbing harness, safety hooks, ropes, helmet and much more that comes with climbing equipment.

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