If you’re embarking on a trek there is some essential walking gear you need to get organised. While the route can be changed on the fly, your gear for hiking holidays will stay the same – get it sorted and you will be prepared for anything.
Essential walking gear
What is essential will depend where you are trekking, how long for and where you will be sleeping. But decent kit will see you through pretty much anything, and is especially important if you’re heading out alone, somewhere remote or into unfamiliar territory.
There is some gear for hiking holidays that you’d be crazy to go without. Such as compass, map, backpack and enough water and food to keep you going. But other items require more consideration:
When heading away hiking, you’ll need to consider equipment that is suited for the environment you’ll be in. In cold and windy climates, a sturdy tent is a necessity, as is a thick groundsheet, an air mattress and good quality sleeping bag to keep you as warm as possible.
In a warm climate you can get away with a lighter tent, or even just a bivi sack or hammock. You can also make do with a much lighter sleeping bag, or even just a sheet in very warm climates. All of which makes packing gear for hiking holidays with good weather much easier.
If you are unsure what is going to be required, ask staff at your local outdoor store for tips. Do research online and take your time picking the right products. A tent sale is a great way of meeting fellow enthusiasts and getting more specific advice.
Clothing is a tricky issue. It needs to be loose enough for you to move around freely but cosy enough to keep you warm. Go with plenty of layers that can be added or discarded at will, and try to pick light fabrics that’ll be easy to carry that are also quick drying.
Merino wool and other breathable fibres make great base layers as they will transport sweat away from your body. It also does not hold odour so you can get away with the same cloths for a few days. Fleece makes a good midlayer as it traps heat but is very breathable.
Also don’t forget hats, a wide brimmed sun hat, cap or beanie depending on the weather. Gloves are also important in cold weather.
Even if wet weather is not forecast it is always worth carrying a waterproof shell jacket as they are windproof and surprisingly warm. If wet weather is possible then waterproofs are essential walking gear. The worse the climate the better quality waterproof and breathable garments you will need.
Gore Tex and other materials that provide over 20,000mm waterproof and 20,000 g/m2/day breathability will keep you dry in very persistent heavy rain whilst allowing your sweat to escape. Below 10,000 for waterproof and breathability you will find persistent rain will start to get through, plus if you are working up a sweat it will struggle to escape.
When it comes to footwear, you can walk in trainers but you probably shouldn’t. Walking boots are much sturdier than trainers, providing far better support and are easier to walk on uneven surfaces. They are also more waterproof, have better grip and they will last much longer that trainers – which you could wreck on a trek.
There are also plenty of hybrid options that look like trainers but provide many of the benefits of walking boots. What you end up choosing will depend not only on the conditions, but also on the ground type and how technical the trails are. Check out the top hiking shoes to help you decide what to buy.
And don’t forget socks! Proper hiking socks are ideal and many hikers wear two pairs at once to help avoid blisters.
A stove and pots and pans can add a little ‘luxury’ to your camping. Tea or coffee in the morning and a hot meal really make a difference particularly in a cold environment.
On the other hand you might not use it. Think about whether you will be able to cook over a fire, be camping where there are cooking facilities or staying near a convenient pub or cafe. Also if you are staying in hostels or B&Bs a stove etc is non-essential gear for hiking holidays.
Accessories and extras can make for troublesome decisions. On one hand you can’t risk leaving any essential walking gear behind, but at the same time don’t want to have too much to carry. Some accessories you should always take, such as torch, first aid kit, penknife or multitool, mobile and camera.
There are plenty of other things you could take which some people find essential or would be very useful on certain hikes. For example, water purification/filter device, camping shower, power bank, solar power generator, GPS, GoPro, selfie stick, insect spray and much more.
Trekking poles are an optional extra, some people swear by them whilst others never use them. However, on some treks they are almost essential along with crampons and other technical gear.
Gear for hiking holidays: Tips
Trekking equipment can be expensive. Still, if you’re worried about your budget, don’t try to save money by leaving out essential walking gear. Instead, shop around and keep an eye out for bargains, especially with the more expensive items. When it comes to things like tents and sleeping bags, sale prices can often be quite reasonable.
Wherever you head on your trek, you need comprehensive and suitable kit for every eventuality, so don’t be tempted to cut corners. Men’s walking boots, for example, are not designed with women in mind, so even if they fit don’t be tempted to borrow from your partner/brother.
Similarly, test every bit of equipment before you set off to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. It may sound like a lot of work, but when you’re out in the wild it’ll be more than worth it, especially at night when temperatures can plummet.
Put the effort in now, and don’t let anything spoil your trekking adventure.
We hope you found this guide to essential walking gear for hiking holidays useful and interesting. Be sure to check out our trekking discounts as you could save a fortune off your next adventure.