What to take on a walking holiday
Packing for any type of holiday requires a little bit of forward-thinking, and that’s particularly the case if you’re planning a walking holiday. It can be tempting to throw everything in your bag, well you know, ‘just in case’. This quickly swells the size and weight of your backpack; not ideal when you’re hiking up those steep hills. It can be equally as easy to forget those less obvious essentials, which you don’t want to have to worry about once you’ve reached your holiday destination.
Packing for a walking holiday requires finding the balance between practicality and comfort, therefore a little more guidance is needed than your average holiday. Even if you’re familiar with walking holidays, this guide can work as a checklist, so you can be confident you’ve got all bases covered when setting off for your expedition.
Walking Backpack x 2
If you’ve booked your walking holiday with a tour provider then it’s likely your package will include the transportation of your night bag from one overnight spot to the next. This means you can be a little more flexible with your packing.
If you have organised your own break, then you’ll need to pack to the bare safe minimum in order to have the carrying capacity to carry it on your back all day.
If you’re using transportation service, or have a secure place to leave luggage during the day, then you’re going to need two backpacks; one day and one night.
The day walking backpack
The day walking backpack should be small and lightweight enough to be carried around comfortably throughout the day. It should hold everything you may need in the case of an emergency and from the time you leave the base in the morning. If you’re travelling in a group or as a pair, you can share the essential items between you in order to distribute the weight, these could be suncream, a map, or first aid items, for example. We will cover these items in more detail, but first, we will consider the type of backpack you will need for your daypack.
When choosing your daypack you need to consider your height, size and weight in order to maximise your comfort when walking for prolonged periods of time. Backpacks come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, so finding one that minimises the strain on your back and shoulders is essential. Opt for a lightweight backpack, this way when you’re filling up with essential items you’re not carrying the weight of the bag too.
Your day pack should be able to hold up to 30 litres. If you’re purchasing a new daypack, it could be worth gathering the items you wish to take before purchasing, this way you’ll have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for. Some stores may even let you try loading the bag before you buy. If not, you could always test in a 30-litre bin bag.
When packing the bag it’s good to have a little bit of manoeuvre room, just so you can reach to the bottom of your bag. However, you don’t want too much wiggle room as this can lead to belongings bouncing around when walking on terrains.
When packing your daybag, make good use of external pockets for items you will need regularly on the move on during small breaks, such as snacks, water, and sun cream pockets. It’s important you know your backpack before setting off should you need to grab something in an emergency, it’s also a handy way to know if you’ve forgotten something before setting off on a hike after an overnight stop.
Ziploc bags or travel pouches are great for separating items within the main compartment. This will keep items safe from rain and isolate wet items after a shower or water crossing. Like packing for anything, try to put the items you will need the least frequently at the bottom, and the more frequent at the top.
Here’s what will need to go into your daypack:
When it comes to safety items for your walking holiday, you need to pack for the unexpected.
The average adult will need to carry around 2 litres of refillable water. We would recommend a collapsible container. It’s also handy to have a smaller container at hand too. Drink small amounts regularly, rather than large amounts at wider intervals. Large amounts of water run through your system more quickly so would require more stops to relieve it from your body.
A quick energy snack, such as trail mix, protein bars or jerky are great for grabbing when you have a drop in energy. This should be an additional snack for personal preference meals. You may have a pub stop planned or a lunch box filled with picnic-style food.
While this could have been saved for the clothing section, when it comes to a walking holiday, your footwear is the most important consideration for the whole trip. Essentially your feet are your transportation and you’re going to be spending a lot of time on them. That’s why it’s crucial you choose the right footwear for the conditions and terrain you plan to walk.
The wrong footwear can cause blisters, ankle pain, sores and even bleeding skin, this can make for a long, painful day. Footwear-related injuries and nasty falls due to ill-fitted footwear can turn a fabulous trip into a very unpleasant one.
Walking shoes differ from running shoes or other trainers. Walkers require flexion, therefore they must be flexible in the forefront, or your foot will strain against it as you take each step. Rieker ladies’ trainers are perfect for walking holiday’s or walking for long extended periods of time due to their flexible soles that can work well on any terrain. If your hiking holiday consists of rocky hillsides or uneven ground then, ladies’ Rieker boots with a serrated edge sole will provide much-needed grip, especially when
walking in winter. If you’re still wanting to keep your style in check, then vibrant multi-coloured Rieker trainers add character to your walking attire, while Rieker ladies’ walking sandals are a great choice if you’re travelling abroad, or there’s a warm-weather forecast for your holiday.
For men, Rieker men’s blue lace up boots act as the best walking shoes for a hiking holiday. An efficient sole on the bottom of the Rieker men’s trainers works as an effective shock absorber for a more comfortable fit on long walks. The combination of a sturdy sole and soft fabric upper with lace-up fastening make Rieker trainers the most practical choice when choosing walking shoes for men and women.
Sun protection with a high UV is essential on any walking holiday, even when the sky is overcast. It’s also handy to pack a small aftersun or soothing cream, should sun damage occur.
If it’s particularly hot, you may need to consider a cap or brimmed hat that will protect your face from the harmful rays. This will also help radiate your temperature and keep you cool as you walk. Sunglasses are also essential when the sun is shining, if you’re hiking up rocky terrains you may want to think about a sport-style pair that wraps around your head; these are a safer, more secure alternative.
Hiking poles are not essential, nevertheless, they make hiking much more comfortable as they reduce knee and ankle strain. In first aid situations, they can serve as an emergency splint when immobilising legs and arms after injury.
Your first aid kit should include these items:
- Antihistamines (for bites or stings).
- Sting relief cream.
- Alcohol wipes.
- A variety of plasters.
- Hand sanitiser.
- A sling (arm or shoulder injuries or splint ties)
- A tensor bandage.
- Muscle rub.
- Heartburn tablets.
- Specialist items personal to group (EpiPens or insulin for example)
These items are also handy:
- A small torch.
- A whistle.
- A space blanket.
- Mosquito repellent.
If you’re unfamiliar with these items, you might want a small book or printed information on how to use these products in the kit. You could be in an area with no phone signal, so you can’t rely on the internet for help.
While you may see your walking holiday as a chance to escape from social media, or the outside world. Keeping your phone switched off in your bag is paramount to safety. This way it can come out should you need to call the emergency services at any given time.
A traditional map is a must-have for any walking holiday. You can get them in so many forms, from waterproof to pocket size, they’ll be on hand to plan routes and redirect you after any wrong turns. A compass and waterproof sleeve are handy extras.
Dressing in layers is the best way to account for changes in weather. Each of these layers should be breathable, wicking fabric to keep you comfortable and dry.
- Waterproof outers.
- Walking footwear.
- Accessories (hat, scarf and gloves)
Always pack an extra set of clothing in your day pack (socks, underwear, t-shirt and trousers) in case of trips, falls or rain showers. Trousers that convert into shorts are a great way to maximise versatility while keeping weight and volume low.
Even if it’s forecast nice weather, you need to pack your waterproofs. The weather can change at any given moment and there’s nothing worse than soaked through clothes when you’re out for the day.
Choose underlayers and outer layers with quick-dry material, this way they can dry out overnight and packed again in the morning. Be sure to opt for a jacket that is breathable, if not it will retain your sweat and leave you feeling uncomfortable.
If you’re planning any walks near the coast, or you’re fancying some freshwater swimming you may want to pack some swimwear, goggles and a towel. You’ll also need a waterproof case for slipping it back into your bag.
Whether you’re leaving this backpack at your base, or you’re having it transported from site to site, we recommend a good-sized hiking-style backpack. This way it can be easily stacked or and moved as you travel. This should include any additional clothing sets, underwear, socks and toiletries. You can get small sized travel companions in the form of shower gels, shampoos and conditioners etc which are great when you’re on the move.
A comfy pair of shoes or flip flops are a good choice for a night to give your feet a break from your walking shoes. If you’re staying on a campsite, flip flops are essential when using communal washing areas or WC’s.
Since weight restrictions are less strict in your nightpack you might want to consider some entertainment for the evening. Books, magazines, journals and sketch pads make great options. If you’re travelling in a group a pack of cards or a small board game provide long-lasting entertainment for everyone.
Enjoy your walking holiday
Last but by no means least, enjoying your walking holiday is the most crucial part. Thanks to all this forward planning, you can step into your holiday stress-free.
Remember the right footwear is the key to an enjoyable trip. So, organise, pack wisely, and take in the beautiful sights as you ramble through your favourite walking holiday destinations with the confidence you are warm, safe and prepared for a great time.
If you need some new walking footwear, here at Rieker, we’ve got you covered. Explore ladies’ walking sandals, ladies’ boots, men’s hiking sandals and men’s boots, ideal for hiking holiday’s or walking for long periods of time due to their flexible soles that can work well on any terrain.