This hiking packing list for a long distance trek has everything you need to take with you to make the most of your trip.
If you are planning on embarking on a long-distance trek and are unsure what you pack, you are in the right place. I have done many long distance hikes and I am here to help you pick what you pack. Continue reading for the best hiking packing list with all the trekking gear and other essentials you need to carry, and for all the things you should know before you pack for long distance hiking.
This packing list is intended for long distance accommodated hikes. I don’t intend to share tips about camping or camping gear.
The Best Long Distance Hiking Packing List
Hiking Essentials and Unmissable Trekking Gear
You want to keep the weight down as much as possible, so try not to go for a backpack that packs more than 40 liters for women, or 50 for men. The backpack must be lightweight, but also sturdy and either waterproof or with a cover that you can put on it in case of rain.
It also has to be comfortable and adapt to your body, sitting nice and easy on your hips rather than pulling the weight down your shoulders. It must have side compartments where you can place your water bottles, and open from both the top and the bottom, so that you can easily find whatever you need.
I am a fan of Osprey packs, but other brands have some excellent ones too. These are the best 40 and 50 liters backpacks that will carry all the items in your hiking packing list:
- Osprey Tempest – for women: an excellent 40 liters backpack.
- Osprey Stratos – for men: a good 50 liters option.
- Osprey Aura 50 – for women: a bit larger than what I recommend, but very comfortable and spreads the weight nicely.
- Osprey Talon 44 – a good compromise if you feel you need to carry a bit more.
- Berghaus Freeflow – suitable for men and women.
Your list of hiking clothes should include:
- 2 pairs of Hiking Pants in neutral colors. One you wear, the other goes in the backpack. I am a fan of Horizn Convertible pants and Splash roll-up pants. Convertible pants are a great solution for the warmest months!
- 2 long or short sleeves t-shirts, depending on the time of year. I prefer cotton in the summer and cotton mixed with wool in the winter, but you may want a thermal or technical shirt instead. I love the Kuhl Athena pullover t-shirt, and the Kleo Hoody shirt, both long sleeves. For short sleeves I like the Kuhl Acacia and Kuhl Sona t-shirt.
- A comfortable t-shirt that you can wear to go to bed.
- 1 tank-top to wear on warmer days. I love Kuhl Katrin Tank.
- A sweater, or preferably a micro fleece such as Kuhl Alska. I also like Kuhl Lea Pullover.
- 3 pairs of very comfortable underwear and the same amount of hiking socks– you’ll have to wash your underwear and socks every night in the sink.
- 2 sports bras for the ladies: they must be comfortable and quick dry.
- A rain and wind proof jacket. Add a poncho too – you can get one of those super light weight ones. I love the windproof Kuhl Hydroflex Rain Jacket.
These are essential to make any hiking trip successful. You want your feet to be warm in the winter, to be protected from water, and you need proper ankle support. Boots should have a good grip on the soil, for those trails that may be rocky or muddy.
These are some highly recommended hiking boots:
- Merrel Mohab – make sure to pick the waterproof version.
- Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX – they make them for both men and women and they are excellent on rough terrain.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX – considered the best overall hiking boot.
- Lowa Renegade GTX Mid – for both men and women.
- Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX– excellent on rough terrain.
If you are into photography as much as I am, take a good camera on your trip. If not, a good smartphone will do.
This is the camera gear I normally take with me:
- A good DSLR camera. I have a Nikon D3300 which is nice and easy to use.
- A couple of good lenses. I normally carry a 18-105 millimeters, good for landscape photography, and a 70-300 millimeters one in case I may come across some wildlife.
- A power bank, which I normally use to charge my phone on the go.
- A go-pro, if you plan to do anything more adventurous than just hiking.
Beauty And Personal Care Items
You can easily get travel size to minimize weight. Other than the strict necessary, consider bringing:
- Sunscreen, best if high SPF.
- Hand sanitizer.
- All purpose biodegradable soap bar: it’s perfect to wash your clothes in the sink, and you can even use it as a body wash or a shampoo if needed.
- Tea tree oil: use it to medicate minor cuts, and apply it on insect bites to ease the itch.
- Toilet paper or tissues.
First Aid Kit
Bring a first aid kit and a few medications. Make sure to take these basic items:
- basic pain relief medicines such as paracetamol.
- imodium or any other diarrhea medication.
- bandaids and other bandages.
- antiseptic wipes and cream.
- cortizone cream.
Other things you may want to include are:
- A hat to protect against the sun in the warmest months, or a beanie for the coldest ones.
- Leggings that you can layer under your hiking pants on colder days. Icebreaker makes excellent ones.
- Gloves, if you plan to hike in cold weather.
- Sunglasses: they protect from both the sun and the wind.
- A power bank: you’ll need it to charge your phone.
- A GPS device.
- A compass: it will help you navigate the trails, especially if all else fails.
- A water bottle that you can refill: be nice, save plastic!
- A water filter: it’s especially handy if you don’t have access to potable water.
- A head lamp or a flashlight: always keep it handy, as you may walk through a forest where light is scarce, or may end up walking for longer than expected.
- Snacks: if you are running out of energy, you need something quick that gives you a boost until lunch or dinner time.
Wherever you plan to go, make sure to get a good travel insurance. You can get a quote here.
Read my post Why You Need A Good Backpacker Travel Insurance.
What To Keep In Mind When Packing For A Multi Day Trek
You need to pack light
A key factor when going on a multi day trek like is to pack as light as possible, as chances are you may have to carry your backpack with you, even on the longest hikes and even when you are puffing up a mountain.
You have to be prepared for the rain
I have been on many multi-day treks and the only time I was lucky enough not to get any rain was when I hiked the Jesus Trail in Israel. For every other long distance hike I have done, I encountered rain at some point (and every single day in the case of Poon Hill, in Nepal). This is to say: regardless of where you go, you must be prepared for rain with appropriate trekking gear.
You have to wear layers
Unless you are hiking in the summer, I recommend to wear layers, starting with a good thermal or quick dry shirt as the under layer, a good fleece and then a wind and rain proof jacket. You’ll inevitably get warm and sweat as you walkand you’ll need to take layers off, but as soon as the sun starts to set, temperatures will drop and you’ll need to layer up again.
Quick dry items are your best choice
With the amount of walking you’ll be doing, and changing accommodation almost every day, you need to have quick dry items that you can easily wash at night and will be dry the morning after, by the time you set to hike again.
Keep your accommodation options in mind
Are you planning to stay in camping sites or in hotels? This is an important thing to consinder, as what you’ll carry will inevitably change, and if you have to include a tent, a sleeping bag and a towel, you’ll have to keep the list of other items even more essential.
A long distance hiking trip is about having fun, enjoying nature and challenging yourself. You don’t have to look pretty: you must be comfortable, stay hydrated, eat healthy food that gives you plenty of energy to hike even the toughest mountain!
Make sure to read my other packing tips posts:
- All The Useful Backpacking Essentials For Long Term Travel
- The Complete List Of Travel Essentials For Women
- Jungle Clothes And More: Everything You Should Include In Your Amazon Packing List
- The Most Beautiful Hikes In Garrotxa: A One Week Itinerary
- A Fantastic Itinerary For Hiking In Morocco
- The Art Of Packing Light: 21 Useful Tips To Travel Light