Packing

We encourage hikers to pack lightly, bringing only the essential personal and safety items. If you are walking as part of a longer trip, consider storing items that you won’t need on the trek at your hotel.

Your walk will be much more comfortable and enjoyable with a light, manageable backpack which allows maximum mobility without straining your back, shoulders, or joints. Backpacks for multi-day walks should be appropriate for the overall weight of your load and should take the strain of the weight off of your back and shoulders and redistribute it across your hips and legs. Get fitted by a professional gear store before selecting a multi-day backpacking pack.

Be sure to wear comfortable, well-fitting, and broken-in footwear to avoid painful blisters. Clothing should be modest, durable, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying. Check weather conditions carefully before embarking on your walk and be sure to bring appropriate weather gear.

Ideal snacks or meals are lightweight and calorie-dense and include electrolytes (salts and sugars), protein, and carbohydrates.

For more information about gear selection and packingREI’s Expert Advice web site has a variety of video tutorials and articles written by outdoor experts.

DAY TRIP:

  • Small backpack, 15-25 liters
  • Guidebook, map, GPS, and/or other navigational tools
  • Adequate water – at least 2 liters/person in winter and 4 liters in summer; check refill locations on your specific route. Electrolyte mix (optional)
  • First Aid Kit (variety of Band-aids/plasters; pain reliever/fever reducer such as acetaminophen, paracetamol or ibuprofen; allergy medication such as Benadryl; blister treatment such as moleskin or Compeed; any necessary prescription medicine; tweezers; latex gloves)
  • Sun protection: sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hat, long pants and long-sleeved shirts, bandana or scarf
  • Mobile phone with local coverage and local emergency phone numbers
  • Flashlight or headlamp/head torch
  • Waterproof jacket or poncho (Oct-Apr)
  • Light fleece or jacket (Oct-Apr)
  • Snacks and meals as needed based on the duration of the hike (most walks do not have options to purchase food en route; check resupply points for specific sections)
  • Toilet paper, trash/rubbish bag to carry out all trash and refuse
  • Utility knife/tool (note airline restrictions)
  • Passport and enough cash for expected expenses plus an emergency cushion (consider food, drinks, transport, tips, etc.)
  • Optional personal items: camera, journal, book or e-reader, etc.
  • Emergency items: fire starter, emergency shelter

MULTI-DAY TRIP WITH OVERNIGHT IN HOMESTAY/HOTEL:

For multi-day trips, you will need all the same items as a day hike plus these additions. For this style of travel, you will likely need a 25-45 liter backpack.

  • Extra clothing (1-2 extra pairs of pants, shirt, undergarments, socks) Washable and quick-dry in order to “wash one, wear one.”
  • Toiletries (travel size shampoo, soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, contact solution, etc.)
  • Travel towel
  • Lightweight evening footwear (flip flops or similar)
  • Battery chargers (phone, camera, etc.), local plug adaptor if needed
  • Photos from home or other conversation starters to show host families (optional)
  • Small phrase book or pocket dictionary for communicating with hosts (optional)

ADDITIONAL ITEMS FOR MULTI-DAY TRIP WITH CAMPING:

For multi-day camping trips, you will need the same items as the above two lists plus the additional items listed below; this will likely require a 35-60 liter backpack. Remember that camping is not recommended in some areas of the path (check our online guidebook for details), and to follow Leave No Trace guidelines and local regulations when selecting a campsite.

  • Tent or tarp, lightweight (3-season tents in winter; snow is unlikely)
  • Sleeping bag (1-season, 3-season in winter)
  • Sleeping pad (closed cell foam or self-inflating)
  • Cookware, dishwashing soap, utensils
  • Cook stove, sufficient fuel, and fire starter (note airline restrictions)
  • Sufficient food given resupply points on your chosen route
  • Insect repellent
  • Trowel (for digging cat holes)

FOOTWEAR

When choosing hiking footwear, it is important not to skimp on quality; and the best option is to visit a quality gear store to be fitted by a knowledgeable professional. Footwear should be comfortable and provide a somewhat stiff sole and ankle support in either a light hiking boot or trail running shoe. Try on footwear later in the afternoon after walking a few miles/kilometers as feet tend to swell during the day and while walking longer distances. Try on shoes with the same socks you plan to wear on the trail. Waterproof boots or shoes are not necessary on the path and can contribute to blisters by not allowing feet to breath.

Regardless of the type of shoe you choose, make sure you break them in thoroughly and do multiple trial hikes with a backpack of similar weight to what you will wear on the path. Address any issues with blisters, areas that rub, etc. For socks, we recommend merino wool or synthetic materials, both of which offer better wicking of sweat than cotton socks. If you have pervasive blister problems, you may wish to try a thin liner sock under your regular hiking socks. Other tips for avoiding blisters are to keep feet clean and dry (baby powder can help with chafing), to stop every few hours of walking to air out feet, and to bring comfortable sandals to wear in the evening to give your feet a break.

“When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the shoe leather has passed into the fiber of your body… He is the richest man who pays the largest debt to his shoemaker.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson