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A change in the weather

Choose the correct clothing for your hike, but watch out for the changing weather conditions.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Winter hiking gear (including thermals, fleeces, woolly hats, woolly gloves and winter overcoats)
  • Summer hiking gear (including sun hat, shorts, T-shirts and sun cream)
  • All-weather hiking and camping gear (including waterproofs, hiking boots, gaiters, survival bag, rucksack, tent, sleeping bag, roll mat, hiking poles, water bottle, flask, first aid kit, whistle, torch, map and compass)
  • An old pair of jeans and a pair of walking trousers

Before you begin

  • Spread out all of the clothing and equipment in the centre of the meeting hall.
  • Create a list of scenarios or weather events that might be experienced during a hike or expedition.
    • Scenarios could include: A sunny day in the Peak District, winter walking in the Cairngorms, a night hike in spring in Devon or a walk from Brighton to Lewes.
    • Weather conditions could include: sun, rain, wind, snow and hailstones. Think about including different lengths of hike, with anything between a couple of hours and a two-day expedition.
  • Tailor the scenarios to the stage that is being completed:
    • Stage three, everyone needs some understanding of what equipment to take and why.
    • Stage four, everyone should know more detail about the uses of each piece of equipment, such as what’s essential and non-essential, and discuss this with their peers.
    • Stage five, everyone should have detailed knowledge of all of the equipment you’d bring on an expedition, including personal medical equipment, emergency equipment and group equipment, and everyone should also be able to explain why each piece of equipment is needed and what they’d do if something got lost, broken or was left behind.
  • If you get a moment and have some old jeans lying around, soak these in water at the start of the session. Do the same to some outdoor walking trousers. Hang the pairs of trousers up to dry during the session, and come back to them at the end.

Choose the clothes

  1. Split everyone into four groups and have each one move to a different part of the activity area.
  2. Explain that everyone will be given a scenario, and that two people from each group should run to the centre of the activity area to collect the equipment that they feel is suitable for use in that scenario. This should then be returned to that group, where it should be laid out on the floor as it would be worn on a person.
  3. Give everyone their first scenario. Groups have two minutes to collect their equipment and dress/equip their imaginary person.
  1. When the two minutes is up, go among the groups and have them explain their choices.
  2. Put everything back into the middle of the room and give them the next scenario and repeat the process. Each group should now send two different people to collect the gear from the centre of the activity area, and should continue to swap roles for each subsequent scenario so everyone gets a go.
  3. At the end of the session, check on the wet trousers and jeans, if you prepared some earlier. Demonstrate how the hiking trousers have dried out over the course of the session, whereas the jeans will still be sodden, cold and very uncomfortable! See if anyone can explain why.


Understanding how to dress appropriately for a hike or expedition helps you stay safe and comfortable when you’re out walking. The weather can change at any time and bringing along the necessary equipment will keep you prepared. It might be frustrating sometimes to have to carry more than you feel you’ll need, but you can never guarantee what’ll happen when you’re outdoors. What should you do if you lose a piece of essential equipment on a hike? How about a piece of non-essential equipment?

You had to discuss and work together to decide on the correct items for each scenario. How did your group agree upon the best equipment? Sometimes the most suitable equipment isn’t available. How did you work around issues like this to help your imaginary hiker cope with the scenario?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.