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What to pack for a walking holiday

Getting ready for a walking trip? Here's our handy walking holiday packing list to ensure you take everything that you need to enjoy and make the most of your walking adventure.
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Breathable Clothing

Whether you're hiking through the rolling hills of Tuscany or climbing to the jagged summit of Mount Toubkal, for all of our walking trips we recommend packing plenty of breathable layers that you can add or remove depending on the weather. For warm climates, lightweight wicking fabrics will draw moisture away from your body and dry quickly, keeping you feeling fresh and comfortable during your walk. It's worth considering minimising your UV exposure, by wearing long-sleeved tops and trousers or leggings. In colder climates, you'll need a good-quality windproof and waterproof outer layer, thermal base-layers and high-quality gloves, socks and hats to keep your extremities warm. For more detailed information on what clothing to pack for your walking trip, check the individual tour notes.

Walking boots

With all of the miles you'll be covering, we recommend bringing a pair of walking/hiking boots on all of our walking tours. Ideally, the boots should provide ankle support and be made from a sturdy, good-quality leather or fabric with a waterproof membrane such as Gore-Tex. It is important to get the correct size and fit, normally a little larger than your regular footwear, considering the thickness of socks you will be wearing or that your feet may swell a little in hotter climates. An outdoor store will be able to provide expert advice and fitting. Be sure to break your boots in before your trip to avoid blisters and discomfort. 

Day pack

Don't want to carry all of your stuff from place to place? No problem. On our walking trips, we transport your main luggage between night stops, so you can enjoy the walking without the weight! However, this means you won't have access to your big bag during the day. So we recommend bringing a small day pack of about 20-30 litres to carry everything that you need, such as a water bottle, camera, sun protection, snacks, small first aid kit and extra layers of clothing.

Water bottle / Hydration pack

Staying hydrated while hiking is essential, but avoid wasting your holiday money on expensive bottled water and help us to eliminate single-use plastic on our trips by bringing a large reusable water bottle or a hydration reservoir such as a CamelBak. For trips with long-distance walks, we also recommend carrying more than one bottle, especially on challenging-graded treks. One of our favourites is the Water-to-go bottle which has a built-in filtration system that eliminates over 99.9% of contaminants from the water - get a 15% discount as an Explore customer. If you don't have a filtered bottle, we recommend bringing a personal supply of water purification tablets, especially in more remote areas where clean drinking water may be hard to source. Where the local tap or spring water is fine to drink, we'll advise you. 

Snacks

Keep energy levels topped up throughout your hike with some tasty snacks. Energy bars, trail mix and sweets or chocolate, are perfect pick-me-ups that you can quickly grab and munch while on the move. In some locations, you may be able to buy snacks en route, but in more remote regions, supplies may be scarce - check the individual trip's details for more guidance.

First aid kit

We hope that you won't need this, but big days of walking can sometimes wreak havoc with your feet. Your walking tour leader will, of course, carry a comprehensive first aid kit for the group, but we also suggest that you take a personal small first aid kit in your daypack so you can tend to any minor cuts, scrapes or blisters that you may entail along the way. For more remote treks, you may require a more advanced first aid kit, as well as some insect repellent and antibacterial hand wash.

Sun protection

No matter where in the world you are, hot or cold, proper sun protection is essential when walking. Regularly apply a high factor sunscreen, and wear good-quality UV filtered sunglasses and a wide-brimmed sun hat to prevent sunburn and heatstroke.

(Head) torch

Whether you're setting off at dawn to see the sunrise over the mountains or moving around your campsite at night, a decent  torch will come in handy. Also, bring a spare bulb and plenty of batteries as charging facilities may be hard to find on some trips. For remote treks that involve camping, a head torch could be useful. 

Camera

Most phone cameras take good-quality pictures these days, but on a more remote trek, when charging opportunities are few and far between, you may want to take a battery-powered camera as a backup. For mobile phones and cameras, it's possible to buy portable solar-powered chargers. It's also worth considering a special waterproof covering for any electronic equipment, so you can still operate it in wet weather.

Sleeping bags, mattresses and pillows

On some of our more challenging routes such as the Inca Trail and Kilimanjaro treks, you'll need to take a sleeping bag with you. Make sure the sleeping bag is suitable for the climate that you'll be experiencing and bring a silk or fleece liner for extra warmth. A few walking trips may also require you to bring a sleeping mat and a lightweight self-inflating pillow. It is often possible to hire equipment - check individual trip notes for details.

Trekking poles

Trekking poles aren't essential for most of our Easy- or Moderate-graded walking tours, but many walkers can benefit from using them. Experienced walkers may prefer to bring poles for the more challenging hikes to negotiate steep rocky inclines and descents safely.  Any walker with problems with knees or joints may also benefit from walking poles, regardless of the trip grade.  

 

Ready to pack? Check your trip notes

The kit that you need for your small group walking holiday will vary depending on where you decide to go. We provide detailed packing lists in the individual trip notes, so please refer to these before travelling.

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