A Packing List for Long Distance Walks
If you enjoy walking and want to take it to the next level, then consider a long, multi-day excursion. While they are more challenging than your average hike, being able to breathe the fresh air, detach from the modern world and have that sense of getting even closer to nature make these trips incredibly memorable.
Indeed, multi-day hikes are a definite must-try for any passionate trekkers. Whether it’s a simple route in the UK or a trip along one of the world’s best treks, these hikes can be remarkable personal experiences.
If you’re putting together your plans for a multi-day hike, you need to ensure you have everything you may need for your trek. Here, we provide an overview of some of the key items you’ll need for a long hike over multiple days, so you can begin to prepare for your journey.
You probably already have a decent hiking backpack, but consider upgrading if you’re planning for a tougher excursion. If your backpack isn’t right for you, over the course of a few days it can begin to cause you problems, so getting this right is vital.
One of the most important things to consider is how the backpack fits once it has been properly loaded. The weight should fall evenly across your back, with the most weight down the centre. Making sure it’s properly packed and fitted will notably improve its comfort, especially over multiple days.
Many people choose to select their backpack last, once they know everything they’re going to take so that they can find the right size.
The clothing you wear and take will largely depend on the weather. If it’s going to be hot, unending sun, then light clothing is best, whereas, on cold, wet walks, you may need multiple layers.
One constant when it comes to clothing, especially for multi-day hikes, is the avoidance of cotton and other natural fabrics that absorb moisture. Not only can this add extra weight during your trip, but it can also lower your body temperature in cold and windy conditions. Look for base layers, as these are the best for the challenges of a multi-day hike.
It’s also recommended that you take multiples of key pieces of clothing, such as socks, underwear and shirts. You don’t want to be stuck wearing the same things for days on end! You should also pack a waterproof, regardless of the forecast, as the weather can be unpredictable, especially on mountain hikes.
There are also some small extras you may choose to bring with you that are entirely dependant on the weather. If your trip is going to be unending sun, you might need a hat and other forms of UV protection to keep the sun off your skin. On the other hand, a cold winter hike may need the inclusion of gloves, heat pads and other accessories to help with warmth.
Sleeping Bag and Tent
Your sleeping bag and tent are two of the most important things to get right. However, as with many things on this list, there’s a balance between comfort and convenience. We’d all love to sleep on a king-sized bed, but you won’t be able to carry that up a mountain!
You should look for a sleeping bag that is light yet of enough quality to keep you warm. How thick your sleeping bag is, again, will largely depend on expected conditions. Down is often considered as a sign of quality, but synthetics shouldn’t be discounted, especially if it’s going to be damp.
Many multi-day hikers also pack a sleeping pad, which not only adds extra comfort but also minimises the loss of heat to the ground underneath, which can make a huge difference.
If going on a warm, summer hike, you may get away with bringing a small, lightweight tent that simply provides cover. However, in most conditions, you’ll need something more substantial.
As one of the larger and heavier items you’ll take, where you pack your tent while walking is important. For balance, it should always be placed as close to your back as possible to ensure optimum balance.
Another unique aspect of multi-day hikes is the toiletries you’ll need to bring. For some, these are seen as unnecessary luxuries, but for others, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Toilet paper is high on any multi-day hiker’s list. You’ll want a toothbrush and toothpaste for mornings and evenings, while hand sanitiser can help you keep hygienic throughout the day.
Food & Drink
Choosing the right food and drink for your excursion is vital – you not only need enough, but you need the right foods at the right time. Often, this will be a combination of carb-based meals with energy-boosting snacks to keep your levels up throughout the day.
To learn more, check out our blog on the essential foods for long hikes.
Even if you think you know your route, you’ll need some method of navigation for if something were to happen. If attempting a multi-day hike, you need to take a map and compass and have a good idea of how to use it if required.
In some cases, you may get away with using your mobile phone, so you’ll want to bring at least one battery pack to keep it charged. However, in terms of navigation, this should only be viewed as a last resort.
First-Aid and SOS
You need to prepare for if disaster struck. Packing a simple first aid kit with bandages, plasters and painkillers can help you to overcome any minor issues that may arise along your journey. However, there may come a point when you need saving, so you need a backup plan.
Again, you may be fortunate enough to be able to use your phone in these circumstances, but even then, a backup to that is essential. For many multi-day hikers, the final failsafe is telling somebody when you expect to return. If you’re not back by that point, that person will know that something might have gone wrong and can look into a potential rescue party.
It is also possible to purchase special SOS tools that can be activated regardless of signal, sending a warning to the nearest point of help, which can be beneficial if you’re trying something particularly risky.
Of course, it goes without saying that what hiking boots you take has the most significant impact on whether you’ll make it through your multi-day hike in comfort or not. You want to make sure that you’ve brought a pair that is durable and comfortable enough to survive the wild terrain.
Here at LOWA, we sell high-quality outdoor footwear built for every occasion. For multi-day hikes, our trekking and mountaineering ranges are usually the best choices. Check out our range of Gore-Tex hiking boots, which are designed to keep your feet free from the elements day after day.
Hopefully, this guide will point you in the right direction when it comes to preparing for your big adventure! If you have any more questions, why not ask our community on social media? #LOWAUK We would be happy to help you prepare for your trek!