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National 3 Peaks

PACKING LIST – National 3 Peaks


To make sure you have all the right gear for your chosen activities we've put together this handy packing list for you.

Please remember though that anything in Bold is mandatory and you will not be allowed to start your activity if you do not have these items, this is for your safety! (And we will check)



Before we get to the list let's talk about footwear.  There is an age old debate over whether we should wear boots with ankle support or whether sturdy walking trainers will suffice.
The answer to this question is long and complicated, but we will do our best to make it simple...

The key thing is that whatever footwear you choose to bring is fitted well, is comfortable and has a good sturdy sole with lots of tread (grips).  So a good quality walking trainer or trail running shoe can often work.

Ankle protection becomes absolutely vital when you're carrying a lot of weight, such as multi day treks, but less vital if you're out for the day with only a couple of jackets, snack and water.
Ankle protection is also useful if you yourself are on the heavier side. Those of us who are naturally fairly heavy will find that out joints suffer more and that we're more likely to roll our ankles on uneven terrain. A good pair of boots with ankle protection will help mitigate these risks.

If the weather is due to be very wet or very cold then walking trainers and trail shoes won't cut it even if you're not carrying a lot of weight. This is because they are typically less insulated and will let water over the top of the shoe when going through puddles, streams and rivers.

So if you're on a Yorkshire 3 Peaks, a day walk or maybe an N3P then boots aren't a must unless it's cold or very wet.

If you're on a multi day trek, you're carrying camping gear or the weather is looking pretty bad then boots will probably be the better choice.

So look at the forecast, get in touch and ask if you're not sure, and then pick appropriately.
We may stipulate boots and take the choice away from you if we think the weather is going to be particularly bad, or we know that the trails are currently in bad condition, but we'll let you know if this is the case.


How to pack for the National Three Peaks Challenge.

  • You should have one walking kit bag (see 'what to carry' below) for compulsory kit you’ll need with you to tackle each peak, as well as another bag/holdall that keeps all your other items (e.g. toiletries, towel, spare clothes) together for transportation. Space is limited in the vehicle used for transportation between peaks and it is essential that you are organised — disorganisation costs time!  Make sure you do not ‘over pack’ - bring only that which is essential for the challenge.

  • Do a trial run! From testing your equipment and clothing on your training walks, to packing your walking kit bag to make sure everything fits and you’re comfortable carrying it for numerous hours/miles, make sure you plan ahead.


What to Carry

Rucksack / Backpack - To carry your safety items, clothing, food, water and other kit with you when walking. 30-35 litres capacity is a good bet for most people tackling this challenge, but the size of your bag will be determined by the amount you personally need and wish to carry. Visit your local outdoor shop for advice and to try different brands and sizes.


Dry Bags - we recommend a waterproof backpack cover, or use of dry bags to keep your kit dry - these come in different sizes and can be used for everything from cameras to jumpers. If you don't want to buy new waterproof bags (they are well worth  the money though) then don't use bin bags.  These tear very easily and then you've got wet kit.  Go to your local DIY shop and get 'rubble bags'.  These are essentially heavy duty bin bags and will be far more robust!

Waterproof Jacket & Trousers - These can range from very cheap to very expensive and you don't necessarily need to go for the most expensive item. When shopping, make sure you buy items that are ‘waterproof’ rather than ‘water-resistant’ - there’s a big difference in a downpour!  Avoid brands like Regatta and Peter Storm.  Good mid range brands include Simond/Queacha (Decathlon), Craghoppers and Alpkit.

Trekking trousers/leggings come in all sorts of varieties and materials, but make sure they are comfortable (test them out in advance!).  No Jeans, Tracksuit bottoms or anything made of cotton.  Cotton makes you super cold when sweaty or wet.

Walking Boots/Trainers & Socks - A good pair of walking boots which you’ve tested out in advance - ensure they fit you well and are comfortable. Each mountain has short sections of rough, steep or bouldery terrain so its important you have a good quality sole.  See the section on footwear above.

Wicking base layer/T shirt - (no cotton please, this makes you very cold when wet or sweaty)


 Fleece/Jumper - a couple more layers to keep you warm, your best bet is to take both thick and thin options.

Warm Jacket - Not your massive heavy parka that you wear down the shops.  Ideally something that packs down reasonably well. It's important that between your fleeces/jumper and jackets that you have multiple layering options for any temperature. The more layers the better! 

Hat & Gloves (waterproof advised) - You need to keep your head, hands and neck warm - a hat paired with a buff and some waterproof gloves is ideal. These items are still essential in the summer.  If it's hot and sunny bring a cap or a sun hat.

Water - You will need at least 1.5 litres of fluid for each mountain Peak.  This should be primarily water, although electrolyte drinks are important aswell, to restore those essential salts and other minerals that we lose through sweat.  Just remember that drinking too many of these is dangerous.  One 500ml electrolyte drink for every couple of litres of water is more than enough.

On the 24 hour event we stop at service stations between each of the Peaks, where you can refill water and replenish other drinks.  On the 3 day event you will have time on evenings or at service stations to do the same.

WARNING - STAY AWAY FROM ENERGY DRINKS (Red Bull etc).  These cause a sugar and caffeine spike, which means you will inevitably 'come down' from this and you don't want that to be on the mountain.  They also act as a diuretic and dehydrate you in the long run.

Personal First Aid Kit - Whatever personal medication you need, as well as some blister plasters/lip salve/painkillers (hopefully not needed!). All of our walk leaders/guides are first-aid trained.

Head Torch - An essential piece of kit throughout the year and invaluable on this challenge. Please also bring spare batteries or a back-up if rechargeable. This must be a head torch, not the torch on your mobile phone!

Mobile Phone -It’s always good practice to have your mobile phone with you when exploring the outdoors, in case of emergency.  This also means that if for any reason you have had to split from the group, your guide can stay in contact.

Money (mix of card and cash advised) - If for any reason you need to leave the group (e.g. in case of injury or emergency) you may need to arrange a taxi or public transport back to the meeting location/to your accommodation/for onward travel. Plus, you’ll be grateful to have some pennies with you if we pass a tempting pub, tearoom, or souvenir stop! It’s useful to have both cash and a credit/debit card with you.

When packing your kit, remember that conditions higher up can be very different to conditions lower down and can change quickly, so you should always pack for the worst-case scenario. If you are unsure about anything, from kit to the expected fitness level for the experience you have booked, please contact us.

What to have in your spare bag

Wash Bag / Toiletries - The majority of accommodation we stay at does not provide toiletries, so ensure you pack what you need. Don’t forget your toothbrush!

Towel - You’ll need a towel to use at the accommodation. There are lots of great ‘quick dry’ options, which are worth investing a few pounds in.

Spare Walking Clothes - You won’t have the time/facilites to wash and dry your kit each evening (if you're on a 3 day event) and definitely won't if you're on the 24 hour challenge, so ensure you have spare trousers and layers. There’s nothing worse than having to put on soggy/dirty/damaged kit!

Nightwear/Other Clothes - Something comfy to change in to after returning from your walks and for travelling to/from the meeting and finish locations.

Sandals/flip flops/Lightweight comfy trainers - When you're between peaks you're going to need some footwear, but you also don't want to put on your potentially sweaty and wet walking boots/shoes.  Something that is comfy, and ideally allows you to let your feet to breath, is essential for travel between the Peaks.



Entertainment - although your fellow challengers might have great chat and you’ll no doubt swap plenty of great stories throughout this experience, you might want a bit of quiet time when travelling. The drives between the peaks are substantial, so bringing along a book or music/headphones is worth considering.

Ear Plugs - These might be useful for sharing a room and/or if you’re a light sleeper. They're also handy if you want to try and squeeze in a snooze when in the vehicle.

Walking Poles - Many people find these useful for spreading the effort required to go uphill and reducing joint impact going downhill. It’s a good idea to test these out before your Adventure though - some people find they take a bit of getting used to! They can be particularly helpful in descent, poles aid balance and reduce the stress on the ankle, knee and hip joints. Slow progress due to joint pain in descent is a frequent problem on National Three Peaks challenges.

Sun Cream - The Great British weather can be changeable and sunburn can occur even on cloudy days - especially at higher altitudes and on/near the sea.

Midge Spray - A bottle in your rucksack can save a walk from turning into a swat/scratch fest if these wee beasties turn up.

Gaiters - These close the gap between your boots and trousers, help keep your feet dry and keep dirt out of your boots.

Sit Mat - A lightweight, foldable, and waterproof mat that helps you stay dry and comfortable if you need to sit on wet ground for lunch or a break. Not really needed on the 24 hour challenge, we won't be stopping for long enough, but useful for the three day challenge.

Travel/Neck Pillow - We inevitably spend a long time on transport on these challenges.  Anything you can do to make your experience on the busses more comfortable is a plus.

Comfy shoes/sandals/Flip flops

Food - Remember to have a stash of hill snacks in your van bag, that you can refill your hiking bag with after each peak.  But also have a stock of quality 'actual food' that is nutritious aswell. We can't subsist forever on Haribo and Snickers bars.  Nuts, dried fruit and savoury food such as sandwiches are really good.  You'll find that after 3 mountains, if you haven't eaten any fruit or veg your body will be suffering far more than it would if it had the nutrients it needs!


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