Getting back to nature on your travels is such a rewarding experience, but let’s be honest, it can be a lot harder packing for a hiking holiday than a week in Greece! You don’t want to overpack because you’ll have to carry it. You also need to bring all the essentials as you can’t just duck down to the shops to pick something up. Don’t worry, we’ve got you – here’s our ultimate guide to packing for a hiking trip…
Comfortable shoes are so important
This is an absolute must for a holiday involving treks. Keep in mind that comfortable walking shoes means something different to everyone. Seasoned hikers may prefer hiking boots, but for newbies remember that hiking boots are heavy and need to be worn in. If you’re hiking on icy or loose surfaces though (say in Patagonia or Alaska) they’re highly recommended.
You can also get lighter trail shoes which are great for long hikes, or just wear well supported trainers/running shoes. The key point here is that they should be comfortable. You’ll be spending some serious miles in them after all.
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How do I...prepare myself for hiking the Inca Trail?
Be smart with layered clothing
You’ll probably experience a range of temperatures while you’re hiking. Whether you’re walking in the warm rainforests in Colombia or spending the night on the Inca Trail with it’s cooler climes and high altitudes, you’ll need to pack for both sweating up a hill and relaxing once the sun’s gone down.
Try hiking pants that zip into shorts, or bring tights and a pair of shorts to layer. On the top half, it’s a good idea to have a singlet and a thin, long-sleeved layer plus a jacket if need be. It’s just about making smart choices that always allow you to be a comfy temperature. Be sure to bring a non-hiking outfit to wear in town or at night so you don’t have to literally live in your walking clothes.
You can also stay warm by packing small items like a beanie and hat, or gloves.
Don't forget a powerbank for charging
Most of us use our phones to take pictures these days, so even though you won’t be spending your time on wi-fi while hiking, you may still go through your battery and have nowhere to charge it. That’s why we recommend packing a powerbank. You can buy some great, slim ones that do a few charges and should last a 3-4 day trek.
You'll definitely need something waterproof
It may rain or be damp out there in the wilderness and hiking with a soggy pack, dripping clothes and wet gear just plain sucks. Think about the key waterproof items you’ll need for your destination – whether it’s snap lock bags for your phone and electronics, a bag cover for your pack or a rainproof jacket.
Pack enough socks and underwear
You may not be showering, so feeling clean might be a simple swap of your socks and underwear, so bring enough. It’s especially important to change your socks as the sweat and dirt build up may lead to blisters. The cleaner and dryer your feet are, the better shape they’ll be in at the end.
Pro tip: get the socks with toes in them, this will stop your toes rubbing together and causing blisters.
Think about snacks
You might get extra hungry when you’re using all that energy. Don’t let it turn to ‘hanger’ – pack some nuts, dried fruit, chocolate bars, pretzels to keep you fuelled all the way.
There’s always a list of things you simply must bring while travelling, here are the non-negotiables:
- Toiletries (we recommend packing super-light and bringing minis of what you need to keep luggage to a minimum)
- Hand sanitiser
- Bug spray (if hiking somewhere warm/tropical bring one with DEET)
- First aid kit
- Any prescription medication you need
- Large reusable water bottle (1-2 litres if possible)
Pro tip: This probably goes without saying, but don’t bring a suitcase on an active trip! Bring a backpack as your luggage.