7 tips for your next Lake District hike

Hiking in the Lake District is one of our favourite things to do. It gets us out in the fresh air, enjoying exercise, and taking in some of the best views in the UK. We’re also aware, however, that planning and packing for these hikes can get tiresome. 

Ann descending Catbells

Every good walk starts with a good planning session. This doesn’t need to take long, but it’s so important to ensure you stay safe on your adventures.

Planning will also ensure your walks go exactly as you’d like them to – you don’t want to take a wrong turn, spend hours looking for parking, or end up heading home in the dark, for example.

Try these tips on your next hike for a fun and stress-free adventure in the Lake District.

1. Download a route

Regardless of how easy a walk might seem on paper, it’s always a good idea to download the route onto your mobile before setting off.

While we love an old-fashioned map, apps like Viewranger make it so much easier to see where you are and where you’re heading next. Simply search your destination into the app the night before, and find a route you’d like to take on. Most Lake District walks are rated on a difficulty scale, so keep an eye out for that, too.

You might need to pay to download your route, but this is relatively cheap and will ensure you stay safe and on the right path as you walk.

Alternatively, try mapping out your route using Google Maps. This will take you a little longer, but is completely free. You can even download the map for offline access, as we all know signal in the Lakes can get a little dodgy at times!

2. Check for parking

If you’re anything like my other half, finding somewhere to park takes up 80% of the pre-walk stress.

Conducting a quick Google search the night before your walks will help you to find parking in the area. Depending on the time of year you’re visiting the Lake District, you might find parking more difficult than others.

During the summer months, it’s important to find a backup car park or two. You should also bear in mind that areas like Cockermouth run on a parking disc basis – you’ll need to pick up a disc from a local shop or cafe to park in some places.

3. Pack extra socks

The secret to a comfortable and blister-free walk is an extra pair of socks. 

CEP Sports Merino socks in orange

A good rule of thumb is to pack an extra pair for every 5 miles you’re planning to walk, then change along your route. This might be a little cold in the process, but your feet will definitely thank you for it!

Your walking socks don’t need to be expensive – just pick thick, sweat-wicking pairs. We’ve been loving the CEP Sports Merino socks we were recently gifted- these provide a good amount of cushioning and work well to keep your feet cool and dry.

Alternatively, if the weather is looking good on your hike, you could even take your socks off over lunch to dry them out a little. The main aim is to keep your feet as dry as possible.

4. Have a first aid kit handy

Packing a first aid kit into your backpack is regularly overlooked. You might carry it around 100 times and only need it once- but it’s that one time when it really matters.

Heimplanet Motion Ellipse 25L Backpack Front Pocket

A good first aid kit should contain the following items:

  • Compress dressings
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Cloth tape
  • Aspirin
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Eye dressings
  • Safety pins
  • Disposable gloves
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Sticky tape
  • Thermometer
  • Eye wash + eye bath
  • Painkillers

Make sure to keep your kit in the front pocket of your bag where it’s easy to access at all times.

5. Layer up

The Lake District can get surprisingly cold, especially at the top of fells. This is why you should always aim to layer up before any walk.

Start with a good sweat-wicking base layer – this should be made of merino wool to keep you warm and dry. Both top and bottom base layers are recommended.

You can then layer up with a t-shirt, walking trousers, a jumper, fleece, and coat. Always remember to pack a hat, too – if you’re ever feeling chilly, putting a warm hat on is always a good move.

The important thing to remember is that you can always take these layers off as you walk, so make sure to carry a backpack big enough to put these in. We recommend the Osprey Quasar for mid-length walks. It’s also important to pre-empt feeling cold – as you approach the summit of a fell, you should always put a fleece on, no matter how warm you’re feeling on the ascent.

6. Plan for things to go wrong

It’s pretty likely your Lake District walk will take longer than expected, you’ll struggle to find parking, or you’ll forget your sandwiches.

ROARK 55L 5-Day Mule Opening Up

Always plan for things to go wrong on your walks – especially when looking at timings. If you expect a walk to take 4 hours, for example, it’s a good idea to clear 5 hours just in case. This means you’ll make sure to have enough food and water, and more importantly daylight, to get you home safely.

This is where your first aid kit, warm layers, and extra socks also come into play – being overprepared for a walk is always better than arriving underprepared.

7. Charge your tech

It’s all well and good having a map downloaded onto your phone, but if your phone dies, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. 

Make sure your tech is fully charged before setting off on any walk. This means you’ll always have access to your route, and you’ll be able to make emergency calls if you ever need to.

We also recommend taking a battery pack on every walk so you always have a backup. We recommend the Power Bank from Anker – you’ll be able to charge an iPhone up to 5 times with just one of these.

Top tips for your next Lake District hike

It’s important to be prepared for every Lake District hike – whether that means downloading a route, packing extra water, or checking ahead for parking. Implementing these tips ensures a safe and fun adventure you’ll be talking about for months to come.

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