Shanti is an adventurer extraordinaire who has hiked across 35 countries spanning Asia, Europe and The Americas. There are few people who can live out a back pack better than her! Here she shares some great tips and advice on how to pack your pack.
I can’t sing. And I can barely cook. But if there’s one thing I’ll hand on heart say I’m good at it’s packing a bag. Big life skill…I know! Whether it’s a beachy seven day break, a weekender or a long distance walk/hike what you take and what you don’t take can have a massive impact on your enjoyment levels.
To a large degree packing success comes down to the precarious balance between convenience and weight. Yet in my experience you’ll find taking as little as possible gives you freedom, flexibility and maneuverability in so many more ways than extra sets of clothes will. Eg You can walk to the train station instead of having to catch a taxi or can look around a museum without having to find somewhere to store your bag.
I am on the borderline of being fanatical about packing light. Well to put it in perspective you won’t find me cutting down toothbrush handles… but I do have a collection of children’s sized ones and other small ones from airline amenity kits. This post is intended to show you what I personally take on a long distance walk/hike. It is my actual packing list for the European Peace Walk (EPW) which I am starting in less than a month. If you are thru hiking a remote trail rather than walking through towns close to civilisation the packing requirements obviously change. Other factors such as distance, weather, accommodation and the water/food situation also need to be taken into account. This is for the EPW which is a 570km trail connected by villages through mainly rural areas between Hungary and Italy. In the middle of European summer. It’s going to be stinking hot!
General packing advice
Always, always, always consider the inevitable trade off between weight and convenience. Ask yourself how likely am I to need this? What can I use if I don’t take it?
Everyone has an item that they never go walking/hiking without. My no.1 piece of packing advice is to always take a sarong. A sarong has sooooo many uses I couldn’t begin to list them all. It can be used as a towel to lie on at the beach, something to sit on when you need to rest during a hike, as a scarf to keep warm eg around your neck or sho
ulders, something to keep the sun off, as a top sheet when it’s really hot, can wrap other clothes together to make a pillow when camping, as a towel, something to wear if you are washing all your clothes, wrap it around your waist when venturing to the bathroom in the middle of the night…the list goes on and on
Two other travel bloggers who have also walked long distances share a couple of items they always pack. Carol from Wayfaring Views recommends not leaving home without these two common household items 1) Duct tape – perfect for making small repairs and resealing open food packages. It holds tight in rain and you can buy it in cute patterns at the craft store.
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