As a general rule, it makes sense to travel light. Think of packing as an exercise in essentialism, learning to live with less and making do with whats on your person.
The refreshing truth is this. You do not need a massive bag in order to carry everything including the kitchen sink. A 35 – 45L bag will do just fine if you pack only what you need and nothing more.
Packing light will allow you to enjoy your walk significantly more, while enjoying that feeling of knowing you are traveling self-sufficiently.
But what to bring? What do you need, and what don’t you need?
Firstly here is exactly not to pack:
- A heavy multi-layer first aid kit
- Three pairs of shoes
- Extra undies
- A heavy waterproof
- Your SLR camera (unless this is totally necessary or your a big photo enthusiast)
- Your laptop
- A big charger (solar or battery pack)
All of the above are heavy, space taking pieces of kit which are not necessary in the slightest for most people.
And here is what I would suggest you take:
- A 45L rucksack at a maximum. Modern, lightweight rucksacks feature great back support and weather-proof materials
- Two rucksack liners. One to store your evening kit which you don’t need until arrival at your B&B, and one for your day kit while walking
- A lightweight set of waterproofs and trousers (technical lightweight materials need not be expensive and usually perform well, leave the heavy 3 layer waterproof at home)
- A lightweight insulation piece, if its summer you may just need a good fleece plus your waterproof to block out any wind-chill when you stop for lunch
- A minimal first aid kit, including plasters, blister patches, tweezers and a bandage.
- Lightweight hiking pants (quick to dry should they get dirty and require cleaning)
- Lightweight hiking tops x2
- Lightweight fleece (grid fleeces are generally a really good alternative to the heavy traditional fleeces)
- Map, guidebook and compass
Evening kit, for your sealed rucksack liner:
- Spare shoes, try Toms shoes – lightweight, breathable and stylish
- Evening leg wear – shorts tend to be a great lightweight option
- Evening upper wear – try two t-shirts or shirts
- Evening undies – you can get two uses out of each pair given they will be used after a shower and only for two half-days
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and if your not the bearded type or female then a razor will do
- Female sanitary products
Non-essentials, but still good to have:
- Camera – try a GoPro Hero 5. Its super light, takes great photos and videos or just go with your smartphone…
- Emergency contact card
- Walking poles, one often works well, but for less stable walkers two is fine, especially if it helps you walk better.