Don’t take a gamble on your ramble

Cotswold Outdoor’s advice on how to stay safe while out in the countryside.

If you’re going out for a walk in the countryside or exploring somewhere new, it’s important to stay safe.

Knowing how to handle a change in elements or a wrong turn is essential, which is why the experts at Cotswold Outdoor are sharing their tips and advice on what to pack and how to prepare.

Mark Skelton, in-store expert at Cotswold Outdoor, said: “Exploring the outdoors and setting off on an adventure is incredibly exciting, but it’s important that we all know how to stay safe when roads – and other people – are few and far between.

“It is essential that you know your route and have the correct kit including first aid, just in case there are any stumbles. Plus making sure your backpack and walking shoes fit correctly can make your walk more comfortable and enjoyable.

“At Cotswold Outdoor, we offer a free outdoor footwear and rucksack fitting service so you can ensure your equipment is right for you. Our in-store experts are on hand to offer advice on whatever you might need for your adventure. Getting the right kit is vital and ensuring it’s of high quality and suited to you means it will last you for adventures for many years to come.”

Here, Mark shares his preparation advice to help you stay safe while out exploring:

Have the correct kit

Waterproofs – A waterproof jacket and over-trousers are essential for exploring the outdoors – particularly if heading into the mountains where the weather can be unpredictable. Our in-store experts can help you find the best waterproof for your needs, which doesn’t always need to be the most expensive!

Appropriate footwear – It’s really important to have the right footwear for your adventure. A lightweight walking shoe might be a good choice for a low-level walk on grassy terrain, but if you’re heading up rocky paths to higher ground, you’ll need greater support and should consider a walking boot.

Rucksack – A good quality and well-fitting rucksack is essential to a great day outdoors. You need a pack that’s the right size for your adventure, so you can carry what you need for the day. It also needs to be the right fit for you, to avoid potential back pain or rubbing.

Spare layer – Depending on where and when you’re walking, it’s a good idea to take a spare insulating layer. In the height of summer, you may only need a spare microfleece to fend off a late-afternoon breeze, but consider a lightweight insulated jacket if you might be exposed to wind at the summit of any mountains you’re climbing. In winter, packing a lightweight down or synthetic insulating layer to provide warmth and weather protection is essential.

Hat, gloves and buffs – The right accessories can help you adapt to changing weather conditions. Gloves are great at protecting hands when the wind picks up and, depending on its thickness, a buff can help protect you from the sun or keep you cosy in the cold.

Food and drink – Just as important as having the right kit with you is taking enough water and food supplies to keep your body fuelled. Slow-release carbs can help keep energy levels topped up and carrying around 2 litres of water (or more if you’re going out for a long time) is a good place to start in making sure you stay hydrated during your adventure.

Sun protection – Sunscreen and sunglasses are a good idea to help protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays all year round. Sunglasses also help to protect your eyes from any glare from snow or the sun too.

Know your route

If you’re exploring somewhere new, make sure to familiarise yourself with the route before you set off. Taking a compass and map is helpful for any wrong turns too, so don’t forget to pop them in your backpack as you don’t want to end up stranded. Map reading is a great skill to practise and have in your back pocket as you might not always be in a position to rely on GPS navigation.

Tell someone where you’re going

Informing someone of where you’re going and what time you’re likely to be back is a good idea, no matter if you’re exploring somewhere new or visiting a regular haunt. If it’s been a while since your estimated arrival time, they will be able to raise the alarm for you in case you have got into any difficulty.

Take a mobile – and battery pack

Just like informing someone of your plans, a mobile is also a great safety tool. It could help with GPS tracking if you get lost, and allow you to call for help if you need it, although beware you might go through patches with no signal. When spending time in the mountains, you could try putting your smartphone into ‘airplane’ mode, or simply turn it off, as many phones drain their batteries trying to find a signal. If you’re going to be out for a while, we’d recommend taking a battery charging pack with you too, just in case.

Don’t forget first aid

A first aid kit is essential for any hill walker but if you’re buying a kit straight off the shelf, it’s important to spend some time working out how to use everything in it before you set off. If you do decide to build your own kit, make sure you take multiple situations into consideration as well as how many people you’re going with. A whistle and torch are also a good idea to ensure you’re able to attract attention and see in case you’re still out when it gets dark.

Cotswold Outdoor is passionate about ensuring everyone can make the right choice and find the right kit for lasting adventures. For more information and expert advice or to find out where your nearest Cotswold Outdoor store is, visit

Learn more about Cotswold Outdoor

For almost 50 years, Cotswold Outdoor have been helping people discover the outdoors by offering quality clothing, equipment and accessories from the very best outdoor brands. Operating 68 stores across the UK, their passionate and knowledgeable staff, in-store appointments and free outdoor footwear and rucksack fitting services, have cemented their reputation as unrivalled providers of advice and expertise that’s born from experience. That’s matched by a genuine commitment to sustainability, built around an approach that sets out to minimise their environmental impact by helping and encouraging people to buy quality kit that lasts, championing sustainable brands, and Repair & Care and Recycle My Gear services that keeps kit performing longer and out of landfill. Working together with Snow+Rock and Runners Need to help everyone feel happier outside, combining all their passion, knowledge and expertise, there’s no moment of outdoor adventure they can’t help you make the most of.

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