Everyone has their own preference for what and how much equipment to take on a hillwalk, but there are some items that are absolutely essential for everyone, and you shouldn’t leave home without them.

You will need a strong and sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots, with a good tough sole that has proper grips, and good ankle support. It is a good idea to wear thick woollen socks under these for comfort and protection.

Rather than wearing just one upper body garment, it is advisable to go for several layers – start with a base layer that is thin and thermal, sitting close to the skin – avoid cotton as this will tend to absorb sweat and become cold and uncomfortable. Perhaps a microfleece or similar garment can be put on top, and then a further warm item (preferably woollen) on top in cooler weather. All of this should be under a waterproof and windproof jacket. You can adjust your layers and wear more or less as weather and conditions dictate.

You should take a map (in a waterproof cover) and compass, and be proficient in the use of the compass. A survival bag is a good idea to deal with unexpected emergencies, so is an emergency whistle and headtorch or flashlight. You should also take matches, emergency food rations, and in winter you should consider carrying a sleeping bag, waterproof liner and thick and warm hat and gloves. If the ground is icy or winter conditions are prevailing, you should take extra care and use an ice axe and crampons if necessary – you should be proficient in the use of both of these, preferably having undergone a certified winter mountain training course, before attempting to use them on the hill.

You will need a good, sturdy pair of hiking boots to tackle Ben Lomond.
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