Mountaineering Tutorial

Kit List

This page is designed to help you out if you’re interested in coming along to a mountaineering meet but have absolutely no idea what you need to bring with you. We’ll break down exactly what you need (and don’t) as well as what to expect from a weekend trip. We’ll start with the basics of what is absolutely essential, and then fill in the details of what you could purchase if you are considering taking mountaineering more and more seriously. More specific kit requirements will be sent along via email a day or two before each trip.

For a day trip:

It is commonly agreed in the club that the only absolutely essential items needed for you to come on a trip are:

  • A sturdy pair of walking boots
  • A waterproof jacket and trousers
  • A backpack
  • A compass
  • A headtorch

Everything else, while useful, is not necessarily essential.

As for keeping you warm: Scotland gets cold; especially in winter. It is probably a very good idea to have the following:

  • A fleece top
  • A warm hat
  • Gloves
  • A scarf or buff
  • Thermal underwear
  • Gaiters
  • A big warm jacket.
  • Snacks to eat as you move
  • A dry liner for your rucksack

Again, none of these are completely essential, but they’re all rather useful things to have on a cold day out in the hills. The more you have, the better.

Also: DO NOT bring hoodies. They get wet very easily and are not a pleasant thing to carry around. Trust us.

For a weekend trip:

On weekend trips, we stay overnight normally in a hut or bothy we have rented. These huts normally have the rudimentary basics of a kitchen, although some of them are much nicer and some have very little. Check with other members of the club on what is likely to be available. The cuisine can be quite fancy and people often share meals.

While the club does have sleeping bags and mats, they are limited and it is recommended you get your own if you plan on being comfortable.

As a rough guide: In a hut in winter conditions, a 2 season bag will be ok if a little on the chilly side, a 3 season bag will keep you warm and 4 season bag will keep you very toasty.

So, things to take on a weekend trip:

  • Enough clothing for multiple changes of clothes
  • Food for all the time you will be there.
  • A sleeping bag
  • A sleeping mat
  • A wee nip of something strong, preferably in a hipflask.
  • A Headtorch

Again, if you don’t have something or are unsure about the quality of your own kit, you can likely ask around and we can arrange for you to borrow something.

Clothing

For those who are less sure of what to wear and want a few pieces of advice, this list of clothing is a good goto guide. We’d like to stress, you do NOT need everything on this list. But following the list might make your weekend away a little warmer and more enjoyable.  And Scotland can get rather cold. Especially at 3000ft on top of a windy ridge.

 Base Layer

To wick moisture away from your skin

  • Breathable base layer t-shirt (long or short sleeved)
  • Longjohns (thermal leggings) – only needed in the depths of winter

Mid Layer

  • Insulating layer which may additionally have wind-proofing properties:
  • Fleece or similar warm top
  • Trousers (no denim!)

Outer Layer

Waterproof and windproof layer.

  • Strong walking boots with a good, deep tread sole, the stiffer the better especially if you’re going to be using crampons
  • Waterproof jacket (ideally breathable)
  • Waterpoof trouser (ideally with side zips to put on over boots)
  • Hat or balaclava
  • Buff
  • Gloves (+ at least one spare pair)
  • Socks, one pair for each day (with liners)
  • Goggles

Food

At all times on the hill keep an emergency ration. This needs to be high energy food, fruit will not do. A couple of Mars Bars or Lion Bars might be ideal; clearly these aren’t part of your pack lunch and are to be eaten in the event of an emergency. For lunch bring bread and filling for a sandwich, plenty of fruit, chocolate bars, pork pies, hot soup and cakes etc. Remember you will have to carry this so think of the weight of the food you are going to bring.

For overnight trips (i.e. camping or bothying) some suggestions might be:

  • Breakfast: Cereal with milk, cereal bars or fruit.
  • Supper: Pasta, pre cooked casserole or curry are always popular choices.

Drink

Whenever you are on the hill always try and take a hot drink in addition to your bottle(s) of water; this becomes very welcoming if the weather turns dire. For overnight trips there will generally be a supply of fresh water available. When taking water from a stream you should boil it for three minutes before using to kill bacteria and germs or use purification tablets. In practice we generally don’t.

A warm drink of a strong spirit is also recommended for the evenings. Although of course, not essential. It keeps you nice and warm, as well as putting you in a great mood to enjoy the evening.

Additional items required in Winter

If you want to start taking mountaineering a little more seriously, you’ve got the jacket and want to head up the snowy verges of the Scottish Munros, you will need a few extra safety features. The club can supply all of these if you let the committee know you will need them:

  • Helmet
  • Crampons
  • Ice axes

Additional items required for Climbing

Climbing is a big part of the club, and many people are spurred into giving it a go upon joining the mountaineering club. Your most important purchase as a climber will be a pair of shoes. While the club does have spares, if you’re going to be climbing regularly it is highly recommended you buy your own. Ask around at a club social about the best places to buy gear. You may also want to purchase, in a general order of importance:

  • A harness
  • A belay plate
  • A helmet
  • A rope
  • Quickdraws
  • Slings
  • A prussik loop (this can be made from almost any piece of 4mm or 6mm cord)
  • Nuts
  • Cams
  • Hexes

If at this point, you still feel the need for a bit of guidance on what you need to buy, you probably have too much cash and not enough sense.