What to Wear
The best way to plan your clothing is the ‘three layer system’. This consists of a base layer to carry moisture away from your skin, a middle layer to provide warmth and an outer layer to protect you from wind and rain. Ideally, all layers should be able to breathe and to transport moisture.
Base Layer - Outdoor clothing companies produce synthetic shirts and t-shirts described as “wicking”. These are designed to carry moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry. This will keep you cool in hot weather and warm if the weather turns cold.
Middle Layer – Wicking type garments are available to wear over the base layer. This will continue transportation of moisture away from the skin. From May to September a medium weight fleece or micro-fleece should suffice but in colder seasons extra layers may be needed.
Outer Layer – The final layer must be able to protect you from wind and rain. A good quality waterproof jacket is essential, regardless of the time of year. The best type of jacket is one made from breathable fabric, such as Gortex.
Trousers – You should choose material that is light, windproof and quick drying-Jeans are not recommended.
Underwear – Wicking undergarments which will add to your comfort as they act as a base layer in the moisture control system described above.
Other clothing – a warm hat and gloves, preferably at least shower proof, should be carried at all times. In summer, carry a sun-hat, preferably one with some means of protecting the back of your neck from sunburn. During the summer, midges can be a nuisance so buy a head net designed to keep them at bay.
Boots – Your boots are the most important item of equipment as far as comfort is concerned. Many parts of the Way are rugged and good quality walking boots are essential. Make sure that they fit and break them in thoroughly before starting the walk, as new boots can become very uncomfortable and may cause blisters. In summer, you might get away with a pair of light trail shoes on less rugged parts of the Way but these do not provide ankle support and are not likely to be waterproof so expect to get cold, wet feet if it rains.
Socks – There are many good quality socks designed specifically for walkers and these are highly recommended. The high natural fibre content makes them very comfortable to wear. Some people prefer to wear a thinner lining sock, preferably silk, under their walking socks. These have the advantage of being easy to wash and dry quickly so you can change them more often.
Extra Footwear – When not actually on the Way, you may wish to change into trainers or sports sandals in order to give you feet a rest.