This hiking packing list for a long distance trek has everything you need to take with you to make the most of your trip.
I have become quite an expert on packing, to the point that I am usually packed for any trip in under one hour. And with time, I have learned to pack so light that I travel hand luggage only. I have managed to keep my backpack for a trip the the jungle of Guyana at less than 10 kg!
Read what I carried to Guyana in my post “Jungle Clothes And More: Everything You Should Include In Your Amazon Packing List.”
My skills in packing definitely helped when it came to creating the perfect hiking packing list for a multi-day trek, like the one I did in Garrotxa or Morocco. A few things have to be kept in mind when packing for long distance hiking.
For a great hiking itinerary in Garrotxa, read my post “The Most Beautiful Hikes In Garrotxa: A One Week Itinerary.”
For a great hiking itinerary in Morocco, read my post “A Fantastic Itinerary For Hiking In Morocco.”
In this post, I highlight all the things you should know before you pack for long distance hiking, and I write down the best hiking packing list with all the trekking gear and other essentials you need to carry.
5 Things 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 the many I have done in the past is to keep the hiking packing list essential and to travel 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 for your multi-day trek, you may get rain at some point. Be prepared for that, with appropriate trekking gear that is suitable for rainy conditions.
You have to wear layers
This is actually true for any hike, whether it is a short day hike or a multi-day trek. Unless you are hiking in the summer, I generally 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 walk, especially if uphill, and you’ll need to take layers off, but as soon as the sun starts to set the 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 when hiking long distance, 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 note when planning your long distance hiking trip and when compiling your hiking packing list, 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.
Keep in mind that this hiking packing list is meant to be for accommodated trips, whereby you’ll be having an actual room with a bed and a bathroom.
What You Need To Include In Your Long Distance Hiking Packing List
Hiking Essentials and Unmissable Trekking Gear
Keep in mind 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 has to be lightweight, but also sturdy and either waterproof or with a cover that you can put on it in case of rain.
More thank anything else, it needs to be comfortable and adapt to your body, sitting nice and easy on your hips rather than pulling the weight down your shoulders. Make sure it has side compartments where you can place your water bottles, and that it opens from both the top and the bottom, so that you can easily reach any item you may 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: his is an excellent 40 liters backpack.
- Osprey Stratos – for men: a good 50 liters option.
- Osprey Aura 50 – for women: it’s a bit larger than what I recommend, but it’s very comfortable and spreads the weight quite well.
- 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 loose fitting hiking pants in neutral colors. One you wear, the other goes in the backpack. I am a fan of Kuhl Cliffside Convertible pants and Kuhl Hykr pants. Convertible pants are a great solution if you hike in the warmest months!
- 2 long or short sleeves t-shirts, depending on the time of year. I generally 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 Sora t-shirt, which I have in several colors, and the Kuhl Wunderer shirt, both long sleeves. For short sleeves I like the Kuhl Kyra and Kuhl Sora.
- A comfortable t-shirt that you can wear to go to bed. Takes less room than a whole pajama.
- 1 tank-top to wear on warmer days. I love Kuhl Karisma.
- A sweater, or preferably a micro fleece – these are usually lightweight. I am a fan of Kuhl Alska and as an extra I often take 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: make sure they are comfortable and quick dry if possible.
- 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 Airstorm rain jacket.
A long distance hiking packing list is bound to include a pair of hiking boots. 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 want to make sure that you have proper ankle support. You also need to make sure that the boots have a good grip on the soil, for those trails that may be rocky or muddy.
I have an old pair of Dolomites with which I hiked the Inca Trail, the Jordan Trail, the short hikes in the Dolomites of Trentino and much more.
TIP: Once you get a good pair of hiking boots you love wearing, don’t change them! It’s probably better to have them resoled than getting a new pair your feet have to adjust to.
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.
Remember to also include a pair of flip flops or light sandals in your hiking packing list. At the end of a long walking day, you’ll just want to give your feet a break! You may also want to pack a pair of good walking shoes such as Tropicfeel, which are also good for very light treks.
Other Items To Add To Your Hiking Packing List
If you are into photography as much as I am, you’ll want to 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.
- I have an iPhone 6s Plus but you can opt for newer models such as the iPhone X with double lens. It’s a good compromise if you don’t feel like carrying the weight of a DSLR.
- A power bank, which I normally use to charge my phone on the go.
Alternatively, you can take:
- A go-pro, if you plan to do anything more adventurous than just hiking.
- A compact camera that is nice and easy to use. To be fair, though, if you have a very good smartphone with a great camera, you may just want to stick to that.
Beauty And Personal Care Items
A proper hiking packing list includes some essential items for personal hygiene. For all of them, you can easily get travel size to minimize weight. I am adding the extra ones you may need to consider adding to this list.
- 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: I love the fact that I can use it to medicate minor cuts, and to even apply it on insect bites to ease the itch.
- Toilet paper or tissues.
First Aid Kit
A good hiking packing list, especially for a long distance trek, needs to include 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.
Miscellaneous Stuff To Add To Your Hiking Packing List
Other things you may want to include in your hiking packing list are
- A hat to protect against the sun in the warmest months, or a beanie to keep you warm in the coldest ones.
- Leggings that you can layer under your hiking pants on the 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, whose battery will inevitably burn out if you use it for photos or to run apps that help you follow the trails.
- 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 on your long distance hiking trip, 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.”
A long distance hiking trip is about having fun, enjoying nature and challenging yourself. You don’t have to look pretty: you have to be comfortable, stay hydrated, and always 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
What items do you always include in your hiking packing list?