What gear should I buy?
Shops & discounts
- Cotswold Outdoors, The Core Shopping Centre, Leeds (15% LUUHC discount)
The North Face, King Edward Street, Leeds (15% LUUHC discount in the Leeds store, ask a committee member for the discount code and where it can be used)
Blacks, Thorntons Arcade, Leeds (10% student discount)
Chevin Trek, 34 Gay Lane, Otley (an extra 10 % off on their website, ask a member of the committee for the discount code). Ex-members of LUUHC so they definitely know their stuff!
Go Outdoors, New Street, Bradford Road, Pudsey
Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports, Xscape Centre, Castleford
Trespass, Online (10% discount, ask a member of committee for the code). Exclusive discount online directly through the brand.
Silverfox Travel & Outdoors, Online (10% LUUHC discount, ask a committee member for the online discount code)
Outdoor World Direct, Online and in their store: Outdoor World, Unit 33/34 Piazza Centre, Huddersfield (10 % LUUHC discount, ask a committee member for the unique code)
Waterproofs have a massive price range, however it is not necessary for you to buy the most expensive waterproof on the market for you to stay dry. You may be intimidated by the sheer extent of waterproof coats in outdoor shops, don't be, it's not as complicated as it seems, although there is still a lot of choice.
The first key factor, fairly obviously, is that coat is waterproof. Make sure of this. The second factor is breathability. This is essentially the coats ability to let your sweat out; often really cheap waterproofs aren't breathable so although they keep the rain out, they keep the sweat in so you get wet anyway. At least some level of breathability will be desirable for your comfort, how much will depend on your price range.
Essentially: Make sure it's waterproof and make sure it's at least slightly breathable
Secondly: Make sure it fits, it has the features you require, and you at least slightly like it.
You will be inundated with information about different fabrics when looking at waterproofs, however remember that an ill-fitting jacket will never be comfortable and no one wants to pay for features they don't need, or for a jacket that is missing important elements. How many pockets do you want? Do you need a snowskirt? Do you need a helmet-compatible hood? What are the cuffs like? These are arguably more important questions than
Which fabric is the best?
Manufacturers know that jackets made from Gore-Tex, eVent, NeoShell and all the other well-known fabrics can be sold at a premium cost. Thus, manufacturers make their best-designed jackets from these fabrics and they sell well. It is uncommon to see flagship designs from the major manufacturers made from their own cheaper fabrics, even though the differences in performance are small. Basically, go to the shop, try some coats on, make sure you buy one that fits, that you like and that is waterproof and we will all be happy bunnys. Don't be afraid to ask for help in the shop.
For more in depth detail read Matt's full article 'Waterproof Breathable Fabric - explained'.
You don't need to buy the fanciest or most expensive rucksack for any of our trips. Find one that is comfortable, has the features you want (specific pockets etc) and is within your price range. It is definitely beneficial to buy a bag with a waist belt as this makes it much easier to distribute the weight more evenly between your shoulders and hips resulting in a much more comfortable day. For Sunday and weekend trips 25-35 litres will be a perfectly suitable size. If you plan on coming on the winter trips then ice axe loops will be essential and 30-40 litres will be adequate to accommodate the extra kit (crampons and a helmet). Your rucksack basically needs to accommodate all your gear easily with a bit of room to spare.
Waterproof rucksack liner
You really want one of these as the last thing you want is to open you bag to find wet gear! This can be as simple as a thick bin liner or you can invest in a stronger fully waterproof bag with good options available from both Alpkit and Exped (sold at Cotswold among other places). You can even get them in different colours and sizes making them really useful for organising your gear.
Make sure all electronics and the like are in a waterproof bag! This can be as simple as a freezer bag, just make it watertight.
Jeans are not suitable for hiking as they absorb a lot of water becoming cold and heavy along with taking years to dry. Any sort of quick drying trouser will be fine, though you can get specialist ones from outdoor shops from £15+. Tracksuit bottoms also generally do a pretty good job.
This is the layer worn closest to your skin. Often people wear cotton t-shirts, however this is one of the worst things you can wear as when you sweat they become cold and clammy as well as taking a long time to dry. A good base layer will lead to a more comfortable and dryer day. There are a few good options; anything labeled 'base layer ' or 'technical t-shirt' will do a perfectly good job and with the cheapest ones coming in at £10 (recently checked at blacks) they won't break the bank either. Merino wool tops are pricier but do a great job and smell a lot less than most clothing. Base layers are one of the first things you should invest in for comfort, not as important as boots, a waterproof coat and having trousers that aren't jeans but probably next in priority. Essentially any synethetic material works well as a baselayer, just make sure your t-shirt isn't cotton if you want a comfortable day.
A headtorch is very useful on weekend trips and is an absolute necessity on winter trips when it can easily start to get dark before we get back to the hut. Looking online, a headtorch can appear to cost a small fortune, but this doesn't have to be the case. A good option at a reasonable price is the Gamma headtorch from Alpkit. It currently costs £15 as is more than adequate with different lighting modes and a reasonable battery life. For other fancier headtorches with a superior battery life, any headtorch made by Petzl or Silva will serve you well ranging in price roughly from £20-£80.