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What to pack on a walking holiday

Posted 02 Feb 2018

Aside from a good, sturdy pair of hiking boots and poles, what do you need to bring on a walking holiday? If you choose a trip that includes luggage transfer, you won't have to worry about carrying all your clothes. You can even pack your hairdryer. Here are some more practical essentials to take on your next adventure.

A day bag

Bring a small rucksack to use on the trail during the day. Your day bag is all you need to carry with you – keep it light by packing just the most useful items. Everything else can go in your luggage.


Emergency kit

  • Pop the following first-aid supplies in a zip-lock bag and keep it in your day pack:
  • Alcohol wipes (for cleaning scrapes)
  • Plasters
  • Anti-histamines (for bug stings or hay fever)
  • Painkillers: ibuprofen to bring down swelling and paracetamol for headaches
  • Hand sanitiser

You should also carry a torch and whistle in case you need to signal for attention after sunset.

In your main luggage, keep:

  • Knee and ankle support bandages (in case you feel a twinge)
  • Muscle rub gel to treat aches and pains
  • Indigestion tablets



Even if you're stopping for languorous lunches in rustic restaurants along the route, you should still have a few nibbles such as nuts, cereal bars and jerky on hand. After all, you'll be burning through a lot of calories.


Stay hydrated by keeping a refillable, two-litre water bottle in your day bag and sip it throughout the day. Resist the urge to quaff it – the faster you drink, the quicker it passes through your body.


Portable phone charger

Your phone's GPS can really drain the battery, which isn't ideal if you want to track your hikes for posterity using a fitness app. Make sure you never miss an opportunity to log the kilometres by packing a portable phone charger in your day bag. This is also useful for taking photographs, and potentially calling for help.

Weather protective clothing

You can't always count on good weather, so make sure you bring some waterproof trousers. A light, fold-up mac can be popped in your day bag in case of showers. You should also bring a fleece in case the temperature drops, as it can do in mountainous areas such as the Austrian Tyrol and the Swiss Alps. Take extra care in hot weather too by packing sunscreen, sports sunglasses and a hat. These items are a must on tours in southern climes such as the Algarve in Portugal and Italy's Amalfi Coast.

Walk Provence countryside

Extra underwear

Nothing beats the feeling of peeling off your sweaty socks and slipping into a clean pair after a long day. Pack twice as many socks (and pants) as you'd bring on a normal holiday. Bring Merino wool socks for the day – not only are they soft, they also wick away moisture so your feet will feel dry and comfortable.

Comfortable evening shoes

When you arrive at your destination, the first thing you'll want to do is take off your hiking boots. Make sure you've got a comfortable pair of shoes to change into for the evening. Sandals will let your feet breathe in warmer destinations. Changing your footwear will give your boots a chance to dry out and recover too.

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