If you’re new to beating then you may be wondering what it is you’ll actually need to wear and take with you. Whilst all shoots differ, here is the basic kit that you will definitely need if you are going to enjoy yourself.
Boots & Gaiters — Wellies are great but very few, if any, offer the proper foot and ankle support you ought to have when spending an entire day tramping up and down hills through rough ground. A good pair of waterproof boots in conjunction with a decent pair of gaiters will keep your feet and lower legs supported, protected, and relatively dry. Waxed Leggings/Chaps — personally I prefer chaps as they are very easy to remove, and allow your nether regions to breathe! If you’re worried about a wet backside then leggings are the best way to go, they also tend to be a little better at keeping you dry. Base Layer — If you aren’t sweating when you’re on a beating line then there’s something wrong. When you’re clothes become damp from the inside it’s far more uncomfortable than when they become damp from the outside. A simple way of combating this is a wicking base layer, which also helps to keep you warm. Fleece— As well as being a good insulator to help keep you warm, fleece is also quick drying and helps to wick moisture away from your body. It is also lightweight, reasonably rain-proof, and tends to be reasonably priced. Waterproofs— if the weather gets truly savage, it may be necessary to break out the waterproofs. Thin plastic-type waterproofs will last about a minute when you’re beating your way through dense undergrowth. You will need either heavy PVC/PVC lined waterproofs, or heavy waxed waterproofs. Gloves — No one likes having cold hands, and you can’t walk along with them in your pockets when you’re beating as you need them for balance. You don’t need anything too special as long as they make and attempt at being waterproof, and you’re able to hold your stick or a warm drink. Stick — A stick is always a useful thing on a beat. It gives you additional support and allows you to spread your weight on a climb, and also is useful to whack against trees and ground to help corral the birds in the correct direction. Hat — Keeping the rain out of your eyes, as well as your head warm! Dog & Whistle — Dog’s aren’t for everyone, and neither is gundog training. An untrained dog has no place on a beating line, and best case scenario is it will ruin the paid-guns day (you can forget your invite in the future!). Worst case scenario is it will be accidentally shot or seriously injure itself. If you want to be able to take your dog beating, it will need a considerable amount of training first. The basics can be found in our gundog training articles, after which you should seek the advice of the shoots keepers as to who can help you bring your dog along.