Planning what trekking equipment to take on an active vacation can seem like a small headache, particularly if you’re not well-versed in hiking boots, day packs or thermal underwear.
But having the correct gear before you depart can help ensure your hiking holiday gets off to a flying start, so consider this checklist as an invaluable reference point.
Essential trekking equipment
The location of your hiking adventure will affect the types of clothing you need to pack.
However, there is basic hiking equipment that you should include, regardless of your destination.
- Long- and short-sleeved t-shirts: layer up when it’s cold and strip down when the sun comes out. Garments made of synthetic fibers are ideal for keeping your body temperature stable.
- Sweaters and fleeces: additional layers are sensible for evenings when temperatures can drop considerably.
- Zip off hiking trousers: with added functionality, these types of hiking trousers allow you to adapt to the weather on the trail and avoid you needing to pack an additional pair of shorts.
- Thermal underwear: by wicking away sweat from your skin and trapping body heat, thermal underwear keeps you warm, even in the coldest conditions.
- Hat and scarf or buff: maintain your face and head, parts of the body most sensitive to cold, snug and warm.
Before filling your standard vacation suitcase, consider using a rucksack (50l or larger) as your main luggage. Not only is this more portable in situations where you’re required to walk (such as from your accommodations to transportation) but this bag can double up as your hiking backpack on long-distance treks.
If planning day trips, consider:
- A 20-40l day pack: this has plenty of room for carrying your lunch, water, spare clothing and other essentials such as sunblock and insect repellent.
The most important part of your trekking equipment is decent hiking footwear. Getting this right can mean the difference between an enjoyable vacation and one ruined by painful blisters and tired feet.
To avoid the latter, look at packing:
- High or medium-cut hiking boots: these types of footwear provide excellent ankle support and come in fully waterproof leather or breathable, more flexible fabric models. With sturdy soles, these are suited to even the most rugged terrains.
- Hiking shoes: if you’re planning on trekking in less rocky areas or want lighter footwear, hiking shoes are a good alternative.
- Hiking sandals: to allow your feet to breathe when you’re not on the trail, it’s always a good idea to bring some hiking sandals that you can wear in the evenings. They’re also useful for fording rivers as they’re less likely to slip off than lightweight alternatives such as flip flops.
To stay comfortable when trekking, there are a number of other accessories that you’ll want to pack for your trip. These include:
- A wide-brim hat: protect your neck and ears from the sun and avoid hikers’ sunburn.
- UV protection sunglasses: at high altitudes, particularly around snow, the gleam of the sun can do real damage to your eyes, so stay protected.
- High-factor sunblock: hiking for long periods in full sunshine is bad news for your skin so make sure you slather on plenty of sunblock.
- A large water bottle: staying hydrated on the trail is essential, so make always have a water bottle to hand. One with a large neck is easiest for filling up with fresh stream water.
- Binoculars: if you’re keen on spotting wildlife, a pair of portable, compact binoculars will make sure you never miss a sighting.
- Trekking poles: on unsteady ground such as mountain scree or mud, trekking poles are a real lifesaver, so consider investing in some for your vacation.