Walking Holidays: How to pack your essentials

For those who love year-round walking, hiking, and trekking, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as a well-planned out, successful walking trip. Combining sightseeing, cultural exploration, and time in nature with the physical challenge of a long, multi-terrain walk, trekking is a truly unique experience that we just love.

Like any successful expedition or travel adventure, preparation is key to a positive, memorable walking holiday. Without the right research, physical preparation, and even packing practice, your planned walking adventure can quickly become an unpleasant and unsafe experience.

For experienced walkers, you’ll likely know the basics of what to bring. For those newer to walking and trekking adventures (or for those who just enjoy a good checklist), today we’ve pulled together our top tips, tricks, and essentials including how to pack a trekking bag and how to find the right bags ahead of your journey.

How to pack a trekking bag

Find the right bag for your trip

Before you begin packing your trekking bag, the very first step is to identify whether or not you have an appropriate bag for your trip. If you already have a bag, have a good look through and ask yourself some key questions:

  • Can you pack all you need relatively easily?
  • Is it comfortable to wear when carrying all you need?
  • Is it in good enough condition to last this next journey?
  • Is there enough rigidity and support?

Depending on the length of your walk, you’ll want to find an appropriately sized bag to carry your essentials. Backpacking and trekking rucksacks are generally around 50+ litres, containing plenty of secure pockets, bungee cords, and hooks to help you carry all you need. You’ll also want to check the general weather conditions of the area, as some bags may need an additional water-resistant cover.

Practice packing your kit

Once you have found a suitable backpack for your walking holiday, you’ll want to practice packing your kit and wearing it around the house ahead of the journey. This will give you a feel for how heavy the bag will be and will indicate if you have the right sized bag for all you need in the first place.

While the below is not an exhaustive list, you’ll likely need the majority of these items to ensure you have a safe and comfortable walking holiday. Gather the relevant items and lay them out on the floor, packing them in order of accessibility priority. If you’re struggling to close your bag, think critically about what you can leave behind, or if you’ve packed your bag as efficiently as possible.

Keep emergency items or those you will frequently need, near the top of your pack or in accessible pockets. Use things like external loops and hooks for water flasks, boots, sleeping bags, and tents to save room for the more vulnerable items that can be stored inside the bag.

What to pack for a walking holiday: A checklist

While your list of essentials can vary (depending on the location of the walk, the duration, whether you have accommodation and the climate), the below items are essential for trekkers and walkers. It’s always advised to read reviews of the route online or in guidebooks, as they should provide key insights into any particular needs or quirks of the route that require specialist items.

Safety essentials and medical items:

  • Compact first aid kit
  • Insect repellent and bite cream
  • Medication - digestive, antihistamines, prescribed
  • Lighting including solar-powered torches
  • Compact foil blanket
  • Sun cream
  • Self-charging power bank for emergencies

Weather protection

  • Light, waterproof clothing like packaway raincoats and trousers
  • High-performance base layers and thermal layers (where relevant)
  • Multi-use clothing (such as a 3-in-1 jacket VS separate jackets and jumpers)
  • Waterproof footwear such as walking boots or shoes
  • Goloshes / waterproof boot covers
  • High performance walking socks (several pairs)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats/gloves (depending on weather conditions)

Food and water

  • Self-filtering water bottle
  • High-density calorie / protein snacks
  • Non-perishable food items like nuts
  • Compact camp stove and cooking utensils
  • Electrolyte tablets or chews

Shelter and accommodation

  • Single or multi-person tent
  • Sleeping bag/pillow

Walking accessories

  • Smaller backpack/day pack for walking essentials
  • Walking poles
  • Binoculars
  • Camera

Toiletries and utensils

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Toilet roll
  • Microfibre towel
  • Bamboo cutlery

Additional considerations if travelling abroad:

  • Passport and travel documents
  • Visas, where necessary
  • Plug adapters
  • Accommodation details

Extra tips for your walking holiday

If you’re new to walking and are heading out on your very first walking-based holiday, we recommend several practice walks in different weather conditions in the lead up to your trip. Individual people will be able to tolerate certain conditions more than others, so identifying your limits and how you can remain comfortable within them is key.

Always make sure that your footwear is broken in ahead of your holiday to avoid blisters, chafing, and painful muscular pain in the feet and calves. Practice wearing your boots around the house and out on walks, being careful not to damage them ahead of your long walk. Boots tend to be purchased half a size to a full size up to allow for swelling of the feet and thicker walking socks.

Take each day as it comes - pack your daily rucksack according to the local weather conditions and forecasts, ensuring it is not too bulky or heavy. Access to water, food, emergency supplies, and emergency communication lines (such as a mobile phone or local amenities) is important for a safe trip, especially when walking alone or in small groups.

No matter where your next walking adventure takes you, we’re confident with the right preparation and care, you’ll have a truly unforgettable experience. If you’re still building your kit, you’ll find plenty of high performance walking essentials and accessories in our latest outerwear range for men, women, and kids, available online and in-store. Happy walking!

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