For your hiking trip, the following items are essential:
The importance of good boots cannot be stressed too much. All mountains and hills in Ireland are subject to frequent rainfall, and after rain they often become wet and muddy. Good strong ankle high boots are essential to avoid wet uncomfortable feet, and the ankle support also offers invaluable protection on uneven ground.
Leather boots perform best in Ireland, as they can be waxed regularly if necessary to maintain waterproof qualities. Many clients find that fabric boots do not offer sufficient support or water-proofing in bad conditions.
We do not recommend you wear new boots on a walking holiday, as blisters are often a problem if boots are not worn in.
The most common injury on the Irish hills is to the ankle or lower leg, usually resulting from a simple slip or fall. This is less likely to happen if you wear comfortable walking boots with good ankle support and a rugged sole.
If possible – it is a tremendous advantage to have “breathable” waterproofs. “Gore-Tex” was the original and very pricy option in these kinds of waterproofs – but thankfully – there are now a number of less expensive and just as good breathable options. We recommend jackets with a good hood and good neck collar and a zip with cover over it to limit heat leakage. Pockets should be large enough to hold bits and pieces without straining or bulging. An inside pocket that is large enough to hold a map is also a great advantage.
Waist high trousers (perhaps with reinforced backside and/or knees although not essential) should have a zip on the side of the leg to make it easier to get them on quickly over walking boots. If you are caught in heavy rain with good waterproofs, you should remain dry. Unfortunately, many people do not realise that waterproof jackets and trousers deteriorate over time and discover this when it is too late!! Few garments remain waterproof for more than five years; many deteriorate in three years or less. Experience has taught us that rain capes are NOT a good idea for walking in Ireland.
Should be large enough to carry your daily requirements – but not so big you are tempted to carry too much! Padded shoulder straps are essential and a padded hip/waistband gives added comfort and support.
Make sure that straps are all adjustable, so that the weight is evenly distributed and carried on the hips rather than the shoulders.
A mesh panel on the back will avoid a “sticky” or sweaty back. Experience has shown us over the years that 2 or 3 separate pockets or compartments make it easier to divide your contents for quick and easy finding!
The following is our “Check List” for items we recommend you bring: