The ultimate packing list for multi-day hikes into the wilderness
Byline: Sabby Chesterman @sabbychesterman
Images: All images Kelvin Trautman @kelvintrautman
Keen to head off into the wilderness, the allure of no people, no infrastructure and open space? The concept is awesome, but the more remote you go means being more self-sufficient. It also means you are in charge of your own safety - and one of the safest things you can do is not overpack. The concept is to try being fast and light. The lighter your pack the more enjoyable your time will be - the earlier you will get to camp, the longer time you will have for breaks and sunsets and midday swims. But remember, it’s ok to skimp on comfort but not on safety. I learnt a few of these lessons the hard way, trying to get off mountains quickly within incoming weather, toiling over passes with an overfull pack. Here is a packing list that has been honed down over some of these multi-day adventures. Hopefully it inspires some trips, and to get a bit smelly, dirty and enjoy a sense of self sufficiency. The wilderness, in a world full of people, the chance to truly switch off, is truly a gift and it will be one of your best memories.
Subheading Some tips on checklists on what to pack
What to wear
As a general rule, I pack one set of hiking clothes and one set of camp clothes. Think multi-functionality - can I wear this whilst doing many things? If you worried about smell, you should always make sure whoever you are hiking with abides by the same dirtbag rules. You only notice smelly shoes or armpits if the other person smells better than you!
- An active base-layer.
- A synthetic mid-layer (synthetic because it retains its thermal qualities when wet better than something made from down)
- A waterproof shell
- Long hiking pants
- Waterproof trousers
- 2 Buffs (great all-round piece of gear)
- Hat / Beanie
- Thin gloves
- Fast drying hiking underwear
- Hiking boots (but a well-used and worn in pair) or trail shoes and if possible Gore-Tex
- Thick baselayer
- Down jacket
- Thick wooly socks - or if you don’t have space then you can keep your hiking socks on
- Thick gloves
- Sandals / crocs (bonus you can wear socks)
- Sleeping mat - depending on how comfortable and warm you want to be there are many options out there to fill a gap you need. I use a Thermarest. A good rule of thumb is that if you are going to be hiking very far every day and thus get to camp every night exhausted, chances are you can skimp on comfort. Tried and tested method :)
- Tent - something small and lightweight. If it’s going to be cold or you have big backpacks then having something with a vestibule is a good idea.
- Sleeping bag - much the same guidelines for the mattress choice can be applied here. If it’s going to be cold just make sure your bag is long/big enough, so you’re not wrapped to tightly in it - you want air space, so you stay insulated.
Eating and cooking
- Freeze dried or dehydrated food is a great way to carry high calorie food without the weight and volume.
- Admittedly these meals are expensive and if you have the time, you can quite easily make your own dehydrated meals. I usually carry one freeze dried meal for brekkie and one for supper to share. And then pack some fruit, savoury and sweet snacks for lunch. Planning out your days and putting snacks away in zip locks labelled per day is a good tip, it keeps you motivated to save those treats for day six!
- For cooking if you go with the freeze-dried food option then a small gas stove with accompanying vessel/pot works great, for example the Jetboil SOL.
- Washing rag and biodegradable soap
- Collapsible 10 L bladder - easy to pack and carry when hiking but great for collecting water for camp, especially if your water source is far away
- Wetwipes for the evening freshen up and shower if you don’t have fresh water close to camp
- Purification tablets or Steripen to purify water
- Powerbank / solar charger
- Laminated trail map (I like being old school and having a paper chart/map as well as a digital version).
- Spot - GPS Tracker
- Headlamp and 2x spare batteries
- Inflatable solar lantern waterproof and rechargeable
- Black plastic bin bags - line your pack with but also a spare if you need to wrap up wet clothes, make shelter, or a rubbish bag at the end of your hike
- Camera (I often end up taking a waterproof disposable camera because they’re really robust and it’s fun not knowing what images you’re going to get when the film is developed).
- String and pegs (air drying after a day of sweat is essential!)
- Biodegradable washing powder
Basic Medical and toiletries
- Bandage materials
- Toothbrush & biodegradable toothpaste
- Biodegradable soap
- Blister and finger plasters
- Rehydration salts
- Antiseptic wound care
- Hand sanitiser
- Zinc oxide tape
- Wound closure strips
Check-list before you head off
- Local SIM card and cash
- Rescue phone numbers
- Nearest hospitals
- Clear route plan and itinerary with local mountain authority and family
- Set up SPOT tracker
Packing for a multi-day adventure into the wilderness is no easy feat, especially if it’s your first time. It’s incredible how things can start to add up, like literally in weight, and how an overpacked bag will pretty much wipe out any prospect of fun on the hike! Sabby Chesterman has put together her version of the ultimate multi-day hiking packing list, created after numerous hikes in the wild, to help make your packing experience that much easier!
“You only notice smelly shoes or armpits if the other person smells better than you!”
When it comes to packing and carrying your own gear on a multi-day hike, it’s easy to feel totally overwhelmed. I mean, where do you even start? Salomon ambassador and no stranger to adventures in big mountains, Sabby Chesterman, has fine-tuned, tried, tested and learnt (sometimes the hard way) what to pack for multiple hiking adventures, and has created this guide and ultimate packing list to help make your journey into the wild a little bit easier!
Have you ever forgotten something major on a hike? What was your bush solution?
“Think multi-functionality - can I wear this whilst doing many things?”When it comes to packing and carrying your own gear on a multi-day hike, it’s easy to feel totally overwhelmed. I mean, where do you even start? Salomon ambassador and no stranger to adventures in big mountains, Sabby Chesterman, has fine-tuned, tried, tested and learnt (sometimes the hard way) what to pack for multiple hiking adventures, and has created this guide and ultimate packing list to help make your journey into the wild a little bit easier!