Walking in the Moorland terrain of South West England doesn’t have to be strenuous but it does have to be considered. The list at first seems daunting but when ‘considered’ against the might of the Moors and the times that you will get from one healthy investment at the start, or better still a tidy through the garage. Then you will certainly find that 90% of the equipment will reward in its’ own way after no more than three or four walks. The other 10% (Emergency bivouac, whistle, first aid kit, torch) become self explanatory the first time the weather on the Moors closes down on you.

Moorland Walking Kit List (Checklist)

Rucksack Rucksack A good size rucksack for all the essentials listed below is about 65 litres, if overnight camping or on expedition then allow up to 80 litres.
Bothy Emergency Bivouac or Storm Shelter (Bothy) A bothy is an excellent choice for all emergencies. Small, compact, warm and dry, add this to your list as soon as possible. Make sure it is brightly coloured, this will ensure that if in an emergency situation then the rescue team will have something to look for.
Waterproof jacket Waterproof Jacket Waterproof Jackets are many and varied. Good materials are Goretex and Isotex, taped seems are always a good indicator of a waterproof jacket.
Waterproof Trousers Waterproof Trousers Waterproof Trousers can be purchased as a good quality lined trouser or alternatively an ‘Over-trouser’ which can come out of your rucksack when needed.
Gaiters Gaiters Gait ors are great at keeping the bottom of your trousers dry and especially your boots and socks. Dry feet are a real asset on any walk or camp.
Map Map (Ordnance Survey 1:25000 ) The ordnance survey produce a series of maps called the Explorer Series. These are especially recommended in their laminated form. The Dartmoor map is the Explorer OL28. Remember to pack a spare especially if your are a leader.
Compass A good compass is not expensive and will help you find your way to some of the finer-features on your explorer map. Silva are a recommended manufacturer. Remember to pack a spare if you are a leader.
Handheld Torch Handheld Torch Handheld torches tend to have a longer range than the standard head torches. Halogen bulbs are exceptionally bright.
Head Torch Head Torch A head torch with LED technology for longer lasting battery consumption is recommended. Great for reading your map on the move and scrambling (hands-free!).
Spare batteries Spare Batteries & Spare Bulbs Although often forgotten, spare batteries and bulbs for your torch become a life-saver on any expedition. Buy them when you buy your torch, put them in your tool kit and pat yourself on the back when you need them.
Walking Boots Walking Boots Looking after your feet begins with a good pair of boots. Ensure they are waterproof and that they provide protection over the ankle but most of all make sure they are comfortable. Look after them after your walk and they should provide you several years of good walking.
Socks Socks Good walking socks will keep those blisters away, keep your feet warm, even if wet. Wool tends to be the best material if you are not allergic. There are even waterproof ‘sealskin’ socks if you are feeling that your walk is going to be a bit wet under foot.
Flask & Drinks Containers Flask and Drinks Container A good hot drink whilst on your walk is both pleasant and can even be a life-saver if things turn for the worst. Regardless of this we all need to drink fluids of some kind and a good sized container or a ‘Platypus’ is worth investing in.
Packed Lunch Lunch Calorie expenditure increases with every step. It is meant to be a pleasurable experience to go walking and so ensure that you keep your fuel levels up throughout the day with a good lunch and plenty of quick snacks. Click for a more detailed guide to food on the move.
Emergency Whistle Whistle A whistle is part of your essential walking kit. Use it only for emergencies but carry one at all times. The international signal for SOS is: (· · · — — — · · ·). However six long blasts every minute is accepted as an emergency call.
Wooly Hat Warm Hat, Scarf and/or Buff A warm wooly hat and a scarf (or buff) stuffed in your rucksack can really be quite useful when the weather changes for the worse.
Gloves Gloves or Mittens Gloves or Mittens provide should provide good thermal protection even when wet, be choosy about your purchase. Pack a spare pair if you are leading a group.
Fleece (Spare Layers) Spare Warm Layer (fleece/wool tp) x 1 Spare clothes are always an essential item especially if you are leading a group of inexperienced walkers. Those new to walking on Dartmoor or in any remote region rarely appreciate the necessity for adequate clothing, help them out.
Packed Lunch Spare Food x 1 Spare food tucked away in your rucksack in case of emergency is a great idea. A big pack of jelly babies or chocolate is all you need carry, you don’t have to eat them!
First Aid Personal First Aid Kit and Sanitary supplies First aid or emergency care kits are another essential item. To take care of yourself, your group or someone else you come across. Back this up with an emergency care course as soon as you can.
Watch Watch Watches have there most obvious use, however a stop-watch function is exceptionally helpful in navigation. Enabling you to accurately monitor distances through ‘pacing‘.

This list is by no means exhaustive. You can pack just about anything to cover any number of emergencies however, just how big a bag are you going to take with you? One factor to consider is the weather forecast before you set out. If it says rain and 10 degrees then take everything, if it says sun and 30 degrees think again.

Remember if you are a leader of a group you will need to think of others along with yourself but a good brief is a lot easier than packing for everyone. People like to be responsible for themselves, give them the opportunity.

Here are a few additional items you may want to consider.

Optional (Particularly for leaders)

  • Gaiters (not required for hot and dry conditions)
  • Sun Glasses and Sun Cream (study your sun index)
  • Warm Drink or Stove
  • Penknife for Repairs
  • Spare Socks
  • Small Repair Kit
  • Rope (Activity-based)
  • Mobile Phone (optional, but for emergency use only