What clothing and equipment to bring on a New Forest Navigation map reading course

New Forest map reading coyrses will take place on forest tracks, paths, rides and sometimes across open countryside and other public rights of way some of which may be muddy, slippery and rough underfoot. Unless the weather is very windy navigation courses will still take place in the wind and rain!

Courses outdie of the New Forest take place on rights of way. Some of which may have slppery, steep and loose sections and may have nataural trail hazrds such as roots, steps and unexpected ruts and holes.

You must wear appropriate footwear, bring waterproof outerwear and sufficient warm layers even in the summer. During the day you can expect to walk around 6-8miles in total with periods of time spent stopping to look at the map so extra warm layers are essential even in the summer months. Due to the risk of ticks and having to pass through areas of rough heathland or dense undergrowth you are advised to wear long trousers and a long sleeved top or shirt (see Ticks and Lyme Disease' information)

Suggested clothing and equipment - packed in a comfortable rucksack


  • Comfortable ruck sack
  • Walking boots or sturdy trail shoes - no sandals, soft soled training shoes/urban shoes.
  • Walking trousers or similar.
  • Long sleeved base layer top and/or shirt.
  • Warm hat or sun hat.
  • Gloves - thin gloves so you can operate a compass and write on the map with them on.
  • Water proof jacket and trousers.
  • Personal first kit and any personal medication you are required to take.
  • Digital watch with a stop watch/timer function is very useful if you have one

CARRY or WEAR - depending on weather

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers (pack in rucksack anyway even if the weather looks dry) -Extra layer/s which could be a thick fleece or a synthetic or down top or thiner fleece and gilet top. Pack these even in summer months.
  • Warm hat, sun hat and spare gloves. -Suncream & insect repellant.
  • Drinking water - 1.5-2 litres
  • Lunch and snacks - You MUST bring sufficient food for mid morning snack, packed lunch and mid afternoon snack.

Optional extras

  • Flask or stove and bits to make a hot drink.
  • Small note book and pen/pencil - (not essential)
  • Sit mat
  • Charged mobile phone
  • You own map, map case, compass or GPS unit (all equipment will be provided)

Please be aware of the risks associated with ticks when out and about in the countryside

Without being alarmist it is worth taking caution to prevent ticks bites when out and about in the countryside.

External website sites and resources

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.

Lyme Disease Action - https://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/about-ticks/

Lyme Disease Action leaflets - https://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/resources/to-download/

British Deer Society - https://bds.org.uk/information-advice/out-about/lyme-disease-ticks/

Read the advice above for day navigation courses and then add or amend for mountain and hill conditions. The weather forecast will give an indication of what to expect but it usually always much cooler, wetter and windier at 600-800 metres!

Equipment, clothing and suitability to take part

Everyone taking part MUST be equip for walking across rough mountain and hill terrain and on exposed mountain tops in ALL weather.

You must wear suitable footwear (leather or synthetic full height walking boots), bring/wear a full set of waterproofs (jacket AND trousers even if weather forecast is for fine weather), gaiters, additional warm layer/s (extra fleece or spare top in case of emergency), hat, gloves, spare hat and gloves and if we are lucky a sunhat and sun cream!

You may need to bring insect repellant and it is advisable to pack a small personal first aid kit.

It is always much cooler on the exposed mountain and hill tops than you would expect it to be and we will spend quite some time be standing around looking at maps etc. so bring or wear extra to when just walking and spares (you can never have too many warm layers).

Extra clothing, food and water should be packed into a comfortable day ruck sack that is lined with a water proof bag or rucksack water proof liner.

Phones, wallets and the like should be in a water proof bag inside the rucksack. An orange 'survival bag' is always a great idea in your walking ruck sack as it will provide additional protection should you have to stop for a prolonged period on exposed summits or during very bad weather.

If you normally need or like to use trekking poles then bring those with you as well. Also remember to bring any regular medication and personal first aid kit with plasters, medication, insect bite relief etc.

Food, water and snacks

Bring enough food, snacks, water (around 1.5-2 litres of water) and a flask (if you like a hot drink) for the entire day and some spare 'high-octane' food if you need an end of day boost.

We are out all day and even if we do not walk to far we may not return to the cars until around 17:00-18:00

Navigation equipment

All maps, compasses and navigation equipment you need for the course will be provided. If you want to bring your own to try out that is fine as well. I will be bringing a large safety ‘bothy’ bag we can use to sit in for lunch or a rest if it cold or wet so it is advisable to bring sit mat or section of camping mat to sit on inside.

Navigation courses - Learn how to use a map and compass

New Forest Navigation map reading courses start from car parks and villages within the New Forest National Park. Courses also start in Cranbourne Chase, South Downs, Dorset, Wilstshire and Hampshire. The New Forest is located in south Hampshire, South East England. It is easily accessible from the surrounding counties of Dorset, Wiltshire, Surrey, Sussex and London. No need to travel to Snowdnia or Peak District with the New Forest on your door step! Course start locations are reached easily from all New Forest villages and towns, which all have a huge range of accommodation options; Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Lymington, Christchurch, Fordingbridge, Ringwood, Burley, Sway and further afield at Bournemouth, Southampton and Salisbury.

Check out Wessex Adventures for guided mountain biking, navigation on your bike, MTB skills and technique training and guided walking and actvivities