Nutrition & Health
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Date Posted: 24 February 2023
Packing for long treks is quite the task. Carrying too much and not carrying enough both pose huge risks. Finding the packing sweet spot requires a ton of experience. That’s where we come in.
We’ve compiled this packing list for you for multi-day or thru hikes in summer, spring or autumn. We’ll also provide some tips and tricks along the way about what to look for in your hiking gear - so keep an eye out for those!
This is where people really overdo it, so we’ll start here. My first tip: You need far less than you think you do. Yep, you’ll be smelly. Your clothes will get dirty. Maybe there’ll even be a hole or two. But overpacking clothing quickly adds weight that’s better spent elsewhere.
You’ll need two sets of clothes - one for hiking and one for when you call it a day. I’d recommend staying as far away from cotton gear as you can for both sets. It’s not a great pick for longer hikes.
Here’s what we recommend:
I take Vivobarefoot runners as my camp shoes. It means I’ve got kit for a run if the mood strikes, plus they’re good for water crossings.
Do not take hiking sandals as your camp shoes. They’re too heavy!
Check out our range of Trekking Clothing, or our fabric comparison guide if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your clothing choices.
How much food you need will depend on how far you’ve got between restocking stations. For multi-day hikers, this might mean carrying everything. For thru-hikers, you’re in essence multi-day hiking on repeat with difficult logistics, so the same logic applies.
The list below is my starting point for multi-day hikes. You’ll need to change it to cater to your own tastes and calorie needs.
I usually have at least dehydrated meal with me (they are just so convenient), but there are plenty of people who use them every day. Otherwise, just throw some pasta in with oil and salt or pesto - add tuna if you want some meat.
Throw some refried beans (plastic or silicon ziplock bags, don’t bring a can) into a tortilla with some cheese and spinach (lightweight and doesn’t matter if it gets squished).
If I have a dehydrated meal, I get a double serving and have this cold for lunch the next day. Check out our article about backcountry nutrition for some extra tips!
You need to work out where your water will come from. Then, you need to plan something that’ll ensure access to drinkable water.
Most of my lengthier hikes have been in Scandinavia where there’s abundant drinkable running water almost everywhere. I carry water purification tablets but haven’t found myself in any situations where they’ve been necessary.
If you’re headed somewhere a little more gnarly, you’ll want to take a filtration device with you. Some filters even come attached to a soft flask or bottle, so you can fill it up and drink without waiting for a drip-fed filter or chemical/UV treatment.
I avoid tupperware on longer hikes because I want my pack to get smaller and lighter as my food disappears. But, I am conscious of my waste (I love the “I leave nothing but footprints” hiking mentality). So, here’s how I balance that:
Finally, I once interviewed an experienced Danish outdoorsman who suggested bringing something to improve the mood of the group. I love this advice!
Whether it’s a deck of cards, surprise candy, a little tipple or a small tub of nutella that’ll make your breakfast oats infinitely more delicious - making your group members happy is a weight sacrifice I’m willing to make!
Check out the huge range of camping and trekking gear available from Wildfire Sports and Trek.