Highland Games Gear Guide: What You Need to Compete

Competing in the Highland Games, a traditional Scottish athletic event that showcases strength and skill, requires the right gear to perform at your best. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or a first-time participant, having the appropriate equipment is crucial to ensure your safety and enhance your performance. In this Highland Games Gear Guide, we’ll cover the essential items you need to be prepared for this exciting sporting event.

The Kilt:

The iconic kilt is an essential part of the Highland Games. Traditionally made from tartan fabric, the kilt not only represents Scottish heritage but also provides freedom of movement. When choosing a kilt, make sure it fits properly and allows for unrestricted range of motion. Kilts come in various lengths, so find one that suits your height and size. Remember to fasten it securely around your waist using a belt or kilt pin to prevent any mishaps during competition.


Given the nature of the Highland Games, where athletes participate in events like stone put and caber toss, reliable footwear is vital. Invest in a pair of sturdy, lightweight boots that provide ankle support. Traditional leather boots with laces and rugged soles are ideal for maintaining stability and protecting your feet during various activities. Ensure they’re comfortable and well-fitted to prevent any discomfort or blisters during the rigorous day of competing.

Tartan Accessories:

In addition to the classic kilt, tartan accessories are a common sight at the Highland Games. Fly your clan colors proudly with a tartan sash, tie, or even a full-length plaid. These accessories not only add an extra touch of style but also allow you to showcase your heritage. Check with your clan’s tartan to ensure you select the accurate pattern associated with your family.


Some events in the Highland Games involve gripping heavy objects or handling thick ropes. To protect your hands and improve your grip, wearing gloves is highly recommended. Look for gloves that have a strong grip and provide ample padding. Leather or synthetic options with reinforced palms are ideal for enhancing durability and preventing blisters or callouses.

Compression Gear:

To enhance performance and aid in recovery, consider incorporating compression gear into your Highland Games attire. Compression shirts and shorts provide support to your muscles, improve blood flow, and help reduce muscle fatigue. Additionally, compression socks can aid in preventing cramps and provide extra support to your calves during intense activities.

Throwing Implements:

As the Highland Games include a range of throwing events, having your own set of implements is essential. These typically include weights for stone put, hammers for hammer throw, and cabers for caber toss. While borrowing equipment is often possible, investing in your own set ensures consistent practice and familiarity with the implements you’ll be using during competition. It’s important to choose throwing implements that match your skill level and adhere to competition regulations. Consult with experienced athletes or coaches to find the right equipment for your ability.

Headwear and Eyewear:

Highland Games are often held outdoors, where sun and wind can affect your performance. Wearing a hat, such as a traditional Scottish glengarry or a sports cap, can shield your eyes from the sun and improve concentration. If you wear glasses, make sure to secure them properly with a well-fitted strap to prevent them from falling off during intense activities.

Hydration Pack:

Staying hydrated is crucial during any physical activity, and the Highland Games are no exception. Since events can be physically demanding and take place throughout the day, it’s important to have access to water at all times. Investing in a hydration pack allows you to carry enough water without impeding movement, keeping you hydrated and performing at your best.

Spectator Essentials:

If you’re planning to attend the Highland Games as a spectator, don’t forget to bring some essentials to ensure your comfort. Be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Additionally, consider bringing a folding chair or a picnic blanket to relax and enjoy the festivities. Lastly, wearing comfortable shoes is essential as you may be walking on grass or uneven terrain for extended periods.

By equipping yourself with the appropriate gear, you’ll be ready to compete in the Highland Games with confidence, safety, and style. Remember to check event regulations and consult experienced athletes or coaches if you have any specific questions regarding gear requirements. The Highland Games are a celebration of Scottish tradition and strength, and having the right equipment ensures you can fully immerse yourself in the experience.