With two long distance walks done in England and Scotland – the 70 mile Cumbria Way which bisects the Lake District in England and the 95 mile West Highland Way in western Scotland, I feel like I’ve got some on the ground advice worth sharing.
I was smarter than when I hiked the Dingle Way and the Kerry Way in Ireland with a fully loaded backpack. On this trip I organized a baggage service to move my big backpack every night at a cost of £7 per bag. I’ll carry a day pack and that’s it. Fortunately, that’s an especially easy thing to do in the UK.
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Here’s a packing list for a long distance walk.
- One large backpack (up to 70 L depending though on this trip didn’t need that as I also had a day pack)
- A day pack (will bring as carry-on)
- An oversized bag that holds a wallet, book and electronics (carry-on)
- Broken in leather hiking boots (consider orthotics too)
- Lightweight trail shoe (with extra laces)
- Chaco sandals
Clothing for a long distance walk in England and Scotland
- 5 pairs of underwear
- Sleeping attire
- 2 liner socks and 2 hiking socks ***I hike as much as I can in my Tevas despite the looks I get! You may want more socks.
- 1 pair quick-dry long pants that zip into shorts
- 1 pair capris
- 1 down vest that stuffs into nothing
- 1 windproof fleece
- 2 hiking t-shirts (I bring old ones I can pitch after a number of days)
- Arm warmers – buy at a biking store – HIGHLY RECOMMEND – no need for long sleeve tshirts then. You could also bring leg warmers
- 1 dressier shirt and sweater
- 1 scarf
- Rain pants, rain jacket
- Ball cap
- Warm hat, gloves
- Computer that weighs under 2 pounds + plugs
- Memory stick
- SLR Camera
- Plug adaptor for Great Britain
- The 10 essentials
- Rain cover for day pack (very important – lobe packs that have them built in)
- Reading material – 5 books in my case. I tried to bring fewer but two will be read just on planes. I know most people will take a Kindle or put them on their phone. Bottom line – take more than you think you need.
- Journal, maps, pens, markers
- Two water bottles (you could bring flavoured crystals of some sort ); I’m not bringing a water purifier for Britain.
- 15 energy bars – one per day and one extra. These are hard to find overseas plus they’re much cheaper to buy at home. Buy a variety and taste them before you leave.
- Expandable clothes line + a small container of soap
- Eye shade – for the plane
- 2 pairs of reading glasses ($Cdn60 in London’s Heathrow last year for 1 pair!)
- Half gaiters
- Sunscreen + lip balm (may not even pull it out judging by the weather forecast)
- Toilet paper + Kleenex
- Extra Ziploc bags in different sizes
- Dirty laundry bag
- Tripod (maybe – because it’s small)
- Cloth for cleaning camera lenses
- Collapsible hiking poles (optional)
- Carabiner for the outside of a pack; it has all sorts of useful purposes including holding sandals
- Passport, credit cards, ATM card, driver’s license, insurance papers, cash (some in smaller notes if possible). Leave unnecessary cards at home.
First aid kit
It’s not very big but it’s got enough if we get into trouble. I highly recommend purchasing Compeed for blisters. It can be hard to find in drugstores but you can buy it online. It can be found everywhere in the UK and Europe.
- Assorted blister aids – Band-Aids, moleskin, tape
- Gauze and dressings
- Antibiotic cream like Neosporin
- Triangular bandage
- Ace bandage and safety pins
- Advil, Benadryl
- Hand sanitizer
- Emergency blanket (the ones that weigh 1 ounce that reflect your body heat)
What I’m bringing and what my friend is bringing is quite different. She has four types of cream alone – eye, face, body, sunscreen. I might just mooch. Don’t forget the following:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Small mirror
- Contacts, glasses and eye solution
- Earplugs – I’ve been warned by her husband
- Makeup – depending on who you are
- Small shampoo and conditioner bottles
- Hairbrush (so obvious I usually forget it)
- Tweezers, scissors, nail clippers, Q-tips
- Prescriptions and/or vitamins
This list looks incredibly long but in fact I have chosen clothes that stuff into nothing and lightweight fabrics whenever possible. This trip is no beauty contest.
If we do any fine dining it will be in jeans and sandals. Certainly no one needs all the electronics I’m bringing but I plan to write blogs every few days. Once I start loading my bags I may fine tune just a touch.
I don’t like Scotch but for those of you who would enjoy a wee dram, add a flask to your list.
Further reading on hiking in the UK and Europe
- A Dram Good Time: The Speyside Way Whiskey Tour
- What’s the Better Hike – the Kerry Way or the Dingle Way?
- Hiking the Stunning Via Alpina in Switzerland