The Utterly Inessential Shopping List: How to do country walking in proper style

The country walking habit seems to have stuck, even in these days when lockdown is easing.

But don’t just stroll about in your tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt, carrying your picnic in a Waitrose bag — go walking with a bit of style.

Because swigging booze straight from the bottle is really not the done thing

It’s funny, isn’t it? Everyone will know that there’s ‘Water of Life’ inside, and yet it seems so much classier than sipping from a half-bottle of Bell’s.

Ettinger hip flask — £100 — see more details.

You need a cooler cooler bag

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Obviously, you’ll just have scotch eggs, kettle chips and (if you’re lucky) a bottle of Sancerre inside. But anyone who sees you with this bag will imagine you as a young David Attenborough, carrying his camera, field journals and specimen jars on a fascinating trek through the Serengeti.

Melvill & Moon cooler bag — £375 — see more details.

These hats were made for walkin’

The phrase ‘walking hat’ just makes us think of a hat which has sprung legs and toddled off on its own; possibly we’ve read The Runaway Dinner too many times. But for the avoidance of doubt: this is a hat which you wear while walking, not one which can actually walk.

Schoffel Sofia hat — £59.95 — see more details.

It’s one of those metal water bottles as you’ve never seen them before

A very swish pouch indeed for one of those metal bottles which came into our lives from nowhere last year. We’re not quite sure why the bottle appears to be on a lead; perhaps it’s for people who want to walk a dog but don’t have one? Which leads us nicely to the next item on the agenda…

Smythson water bottle — £197 (50% off) — see more details.

For those who don’t have dogs to walk

Non-dog owners might think that just buying an actual labrador would work out cheaper than this. Good luck with that.

Catherine Best labrador pendant — £2,556 — see more details.

Okay, so maybe don’t use these in July. But they’ll be fab come the autumn.

Sure, these cashmere socks are breathable and naturally anti-wicking… but they’ll also be mighty warm, too, at this time of year. And you really don’t want your £175 socks to be get drenched in foot sweat.

Emma Willis cashmere walking socks — £175 — see more details.

For those who prefer game birds made of precious stones

Just don’t forget that last 50p when you go to snap this piece up.

Susannah Lovis Victorian Enamel, Diamond and Ruby Golden Pheasant Brooch — £3,937.50 — see more details.

For those who prefer game birds sitting in trees and fields some distance away

Hang on — is this really something practical which you’d actually, properly need on a country walk? Who snuck this one in?

Swarovski binoculars — £2,270 — see more details.

What exactly was wrong with the word ‘bodywarmer’?

Seriously, though — all through my childhood we called these ‘bodywarmers’, and then one day, in about 2009 I think, everyone started calling them ‘gilets’, leaving me like scratching my head in puzzlement. Anyway, this is a nice one. It even has pockets — you know, for carrying things in, or keeping your hands warm. And enjoy using the word ‘pockets’ while you still can, incidentally — no doubt the lexicographers who brought us the ‘gilet’ will restyle them as ‘pouchonettes’ or something.

TROY gilet — £220 — see more details.

Ideal for holding upside down to use as a golf club for hitting stones at the side of the path 

On second thoughts, given the price and craftsmanship of this willow and chestnut walking stick, perhaps not.

Farlows walking stick — £299 — see more details.