On 20th May 2019, I set off my biggest challenge to date, a long-distance walk across Britain, from Lowestoft to Ardnamurchan Lighthouse.
Before my challenge, I did numerous test packs, practice walks and wild camping trips to ensure I was fully prepared.
But how well did I pack, did I take way too much stuff or did I leave any important things behind?
Here is my complete packing list for my long-distance walk. I’ll give you my thoughts on the gear I took, how it lasted and did I have to replace items on the go? I’ve added links to my exact gear, where possible, so you can check out latest prices.
My walk took me via some of the iconic long-distance National Trails in the UK, including Norfolk Coast Path, The Pennine Way and West Highland Way, as well as many other local trails and footpaths.
This long-distance hiking gear would also be suitable for many other UK trails, including Hadrian’s Wall and Coast to Coast (both walks that I’ve completed).
But I wanted to ensure my tent would fit inside my bag and not on the outside, to help with the weight distribution.
Interestingly the Osprey bag was heavy in compassion to other backpacks, but I found its Gravity system helped me carry the weight, even comfortably carrying up to 18.5 kg at times.
Feel free to ask me any questions about the backpack in the comments below.
Here’s my full kit list for my long-distance walk.
This includes what I took on my 2-month adventure across Britain and the items I left behind! **Some of my hiking gear, clothes and equipment for this trip was gifted/sponsored – I have included full details at the bottom of this post. Any questions please ask.
*Becky the Traveller participates in the Amazon Services Associates Programme, as well as other affiliate programmes. If you make a purchase through these, I earn from the qualifying links. This is at no extra cost to you.
Long-Distance Walk Kit List
I’ve broken down my kit list into sections, so you can see what I took for the camping, hiking and more importantly, what clothes I wore for my long-distance walk!
Now, these are very important because I wasn’t planning on taking a lot!
Where I know the weight of an item, I’ve added it in. This became one of the main ways I was able to reduce my pack weight and also more space for important items like FOOD!
- Tent (one-man tent) – MSR Hubba NX = 1.3 kg
- Sleeping bag – Mountain Hardwear Phantom Spark (comfort level 2 degrees) = 648 grams
- Camping mattress – Thermarest Neo Air (regular size) = 340 grams
Camping Gear Weight = 2.3 kg
Thoughts on my camping equipment
I had a new tent for this trip, the MSR Hubba NX, I had made a decision that my older 2-man Vango Banshee tent, at 2.4 kg, was going to be too heavy for this trip and the Hubba was certainly a good decision.
I considered a bivvy bag and tarp combo but, to be honest, if there was bad weather on the trip I wanted to be in a tent and not a bivvy. Plus I decided the weight over comfort on this occasion was one I was willing to take!
Overall, I was totally happy with my tent and sleeping set up. My main niggle was that sometimes my shiny sleeping bag against a shiny surface was sometimes a bit slidey, especially when wild camping on a bit of a slant!
But as regards to the weight, at 2.3 kg, I was more than happy.
Cooking Equipment for Long Distance Trip
- Cooking stove – MSR Pocket Rocket = 73 grams
- Cooking pot with lid/bowl – MSR Ultralight + compact 1 person set = 130 grams
- Gas canister – 975 ml = 450 grams + 460 ml = 230 grams*
- Windshield = 136 grams
- Firelighter (as backup)
- Mug – MSR Titanium mug = 54 grams
- Titanium Spork = 21 grams
- Penknife – Swiss Army Knife = 90 grams
- Dishcloth (cut up)
Cooking equipment weight = 0.95 kg
Thoughts on my Cooking equipment
*For the majority of the trip I opted for the larger gas canister, yes, bigger means heavier, but it does get lighter! It meant I didn’t need to worry about running out and could use gas as and when I needed to.
I used my gas cannister less than I thought due to staying near pubs on the Pennine Way and eating dinner out instead of cooking.
My large gas canister lasted me from Edale to Fort William, over 4.5 weeks!
Two items that I left behind, were a lunchbox and food clips, but I didn’t really miss. I swapped my lunchbox for a few used bread bags, which worked perfectly. I also forgot to pack food clips, which would have been handy but I ended up with a few zip-lock bags.
The one-pot cooking set was great for this trip, I mainly used for heating water, with some minimal cooking at times. I also like how the bowl is part of the set, it doesn’t weight much more but was useful at breakfast.
Hiking Gear + Equipment
- 65-litre backpack – Osprey Ariel = 2 kg (approx)
- Dry sacks (various sizes) – Osprey Ultralight + Waterproof – 3, 6, 12, 20, 30 + 50-70 litres bags = 2-6 grams each
- Hiking poles – Montem poles
- Water bottles x 2 (750ml Water-to-Go bottle with filter and 1-litre Sigg bottle)*
- Hydration pack – Platypus 2-litre water carrier lid
- Carabiner clips – handy to have
- Tissues/plastic bags (emergency toilet kit!)
- Trowel – for digging poo holes
- Head torch (USB rechargeable) – LedLenser NEO6
- Foam sit mat
Thoughts on my Hiking equipment
The items I left behind from my original list, included my backpack waterproof cover (I opted to use dry sack and a large pack liner instead). The Osprey dry sacks worked perfectly, I had a few days where there was heavy rain on the trip but no wet gear, even though my bag was soaked.
I also accidentally left my string behind but made do without it, but it would have been handy to make a washing line a few times.
I opted not to take any paper maps and use OS Online for navigation (1-year cheapest option), I’d planned to take so I had a backup but the quantity I needed was ridiculous.
Therefore, I took a decision, that if I got seriously lost then I had camping equipment and supplies with me. However, I did take my compass, with a plan that if I changed my mind I could easily buy maps.
What I wore for my Long Distance Walk?
This is my full clothes list for the hike, factoring I was wearing some clothes and footwear so they weren’t all in my backpack.
In case, you weren’t aware, I’m an ambassador for Salomon, which is why there’s a lot of Salomon gear in my kit list.
- Waterproof/windproof jacket – Salomon One and Only = 415 grams
- Waterproof trousers – Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Pant = 110 grams
- Hiking shoes – Salomon GTX Outline then swapped to Salomon XA Pro 3D Wide = 330 grams*
- Hiking trousers (zippable into shorts) x 1 – Decathlon = 100 grams (approx)
- Hiking shorts – Salomon Outspeed = 129 grams (I wore these pretty much EVERY day)
- Breathable t-shirt x 2 – Salomon Comet Classic Tee = 86 grams
- Mid layer – Salomon Discovery LT = 253 grams
- Pink down jacket – Salomon Haloes Down Hoodie = 400 grams
- Base layers – top & bottoms – Polypro (from New Zealand!) = 300 grams (approx)
- Hiking socks and running socks x 4 – Decathlon hiking socks x 2, ArcticDry waterproof socks x 1, Running socks
- Sports bra x 2 – Salomon Move On Bra = 89 grams
- Underwear x 5 – Merino wool x 1, Decathlon running underwear x 1, normal x 3!
- Beanie hat – Salomon
- Buff – Salomon
- Thin gloves – Salomon
- Mittens – Salomon
- Hiking sandals – Teva = 150 grams (approx) in lightweight Eagle Creek Shoe Bag
Thoughts on What I wore for my Long-Distance Hike
*Hiking boots versus trail shoes
I’d initially planned on wearing hiking shoes to start my walk, then on route via my home in Nottingham, I was going to swap to hiking boots for the second section.
After researching, I decided that I’d swap footwear but would opt for hiking shoes.
I was 100% happy with the clothes I took for my trip. The majority of days I opted for shorts and t-shirt combo, then added layers accordingly. Once I arrived at my camp, I often changed into my cleaner and warmer clothes, if necessary and let me day time clothes air out for the night!
First Aid Kit
- Plasters (lots haha) – Compeed for blisters + a few others for minor cuts
- Antiseptic wipes
- Antiseptic cream
- Cold + flu tablets
- Bandage + gauze
- Chaffing cream
- Insect repellant – Smidge or Smidge wipes
- Tick removal card (100% get this)
- Ankle/knee support bandage
Two important items you’ll need if you’re hiking in Scotland are Smidge, which is a midge repellent and also a Tick removal card*
The picture shows the second tick that took a liking to me, my first one was in between my knuckles on my hand, yes very random!
Ticks should be checked for and removed immediately, with their head attached.
*My hiking buddy had one of these, which I used.
Thoughts on my First Aid Kit equipment
During the walk I did have to restock on Compeed plasters at the beginning of the walk; however, once I swapped footwear I had pretty much zero blisters so ended up with a large supply still at the end of the trip!
Thankfully, I didn’t have any incidents where I needed to use more of my first aid kit but I don’t regret carrying it with me for the trip.
- Small lightweight Eagle Creek toilet bag
- Small quick-dry travel towel
- Toothbrush + toothpaste (mini travel size)
- Soap (bio-degradable)
- Hairbrush (mini size) + hair ties
- Small mirror
- Lip balm
- Cotton buds
- Hankies x 2
- Birth control pill (see below)*
- Bank cards, ID (driving licence) + cash
- Midge head net
- Sun cream – (Factor 30)
Thoughts on my Personal Items
*Birth control pill
I chose this option to save carrying tampons/pads, plus I didn’t want the hassle of having my period whilst on the hike. Please don’t do this without talking to your doctor beforehand. However, my body had other ideas and this was a real pain on the hike.
Next time, I’m going with a different plan.
I’m currently trying a menstrual cup which would be a good option for another big challenge! Feel free to ask me any questions if you want to know more.
Although this list seems long, all the items are pretty small and lightweight. The only luxury item I missed was a moisturiser, but I generally used a bit of sun cream and that did the trick!
Food + Drink
The majority of the hike I bought food as I went along to save carrying the extra weight but I always had packed a few rations if I struggled to find supplies or ended up wild camping in the middle of no-where!
- Water – Up to 1.5 litres per day*
- Peppermint tea bags
- Porridge sachets
- Freeze-dried meals (Summit-to-Eat)
- Snack/breakfast bars
- Jerky and salami snacks (Top Herd Snacks)
- Nuts/dried fruit
Thoughts on my Food + Drink Items
*I used a Water-to-Go bottle which meant I could get drinking water wherever there were streams and brooks even in remote areas. I also filled up at various other places on route, including pubs, shops and I even asked people as I walked past to fill up in their houses.
Generally, I only carried up to 3-4 days food at a time, most of the time it was less but I preferred to have a decent supply with me so keep my energy levels up.
Technology + Other Equipment
- Phone, USB plug + charger cable
- Small tripod + phone bracket – check out the hiking tripods I use here
- Watch – Suunto 9 + charger cable
- Power bank x 2 – (Anker 10,000 mAh and 7,500 mAh)
- Small notebook + pen
Thoughts on my Technology Items
In the end, I had two phones with me on my walk, Three Mobile loaned me a Samsung 10 phone for the trip, I used this for all my photos and videos. It was a lot lighter than my SLR camera and I was incredibly happy with the quality of the photos and videos.
Also with 128 GB of space, it was perfect for storing all my content until I could upload it at Wi-Fi stops.
My Suunto 9 watch was fantastic, I kept it in battery saving mode and it lasted between 2-3 days on each charge, it also took very little time to re-charge which was a positive too.
What I didn’t take with me on my Long-Distance hike?
Here’s the list of things that I opted not to take on the hike. Some are items that I didn’t class as essentials, others were items I decided to sacrifice to reduce my pack weight.
- Sleeping bag liner
- Gaitors (would have been handy on the Pennine Way)
- Cocktail dress + high heels hehe
- Any clothes that didn’t dry FAST!
- PJs – I slept in my base layers for warmth when camping and a t-shirt in hostels
I saved the most weight by leaving some of my ridiculously heavy photography and work equipment behind including my Camera (SLR) with a wide-angle + kit lens, including chargers, lens cleaner.
This was because for the duration of the trip I was loaned a Samsung 10 from Three Mobile, I used this for all my photos and videos on the trip and was very happy with the swap.
I also left my laptop behind, a decision I do not regret, it was way too heavy and although it would have been handy on one or two occasions, the majority of the time it would have been a pain!
At my stop in Nottingham, I also swapped my smaller towel, for an even smaller one. It was an interesting technique when it came to drying myself but it worked pretty well!
Top Tips for Packing for A Long Distance Walk
Do a Test Pack
For the weeks and months running up to my hike start date, I did several test packs. This allowed me to see exactly what I was taking and also what gear I needed to replace.
Also, give your test pack and weight with water bottles filled up.
Did you know that 1 litre of water weighs 1 kg? I’m sure you did, but just in case :).
Do you really need everything you are packing? Consider each item and then the impact on you personally if you opted to leave it out. What is right for someone else may not be right for you.
For example, a few people suggested that I go with a tarp and bivvy to reduce weight. Yes, this would have totally reduced the weight, but I’d have been less comfy so I’d decided a tent was my luxury!
What to Wear on a Long-Distance Hike?
Start by deciding what you’ll wear on your hiking days, whether that’s shorts and a t-shirt or maybe trousers, then simply add layers to that combo, including good waterproofs.
These are vital as the majority of the time they will protect your layers from getting soaked, incredibly important if you’re camping.
Then, in addition, make sure you have some warm base layers, these can be used in extreme weather conditions, or simply as PJs to sleep in.
And finally, include out an outfit, that will be your clean (or clean-ish) set of clothes, this is basically what you will wear when you’re washing your dirty clothes.
Read next 16 long-distance hikes in the UK
Opt for lightweight and quick-dry clothes, don’t pack cotton t-shirt or denim, these take way too long to dry if they get wet, whether that’s rain or simply washing them.
- Top tip – it’s likely you’ll lose weight, don’t pack any clothes that are already too big for you or pack a belt!
Weigh your bag (fully packed)
Many people get caught up in how much your bag weighs, at the end of the day if it feels comfortable then that’s the main thing. However, I’d recommend weighing your bag to get an idea compared to your own body weight.
I read that it should ideally be no more than 25% of your own weight.
I’m 60 kg, my bag would vary between 14-18 kg, generally, when I’d either drank almost all my water and eaten most of my food to the other end of the scale when I’d done a food re-supply and had full water bottles.
I may be a little obsessed with dry sacks but I find them really useful when travelling with my backpack. I guess they are the equivalent of packing cubes, but as you know, a backpack doesn’t pack as neatly as a suitcase!
My entire backpack was organised with different sized and coloured Osprey lightweight dry sacks (weighing between 22-70 grams).
I had 1.5-litre dry sacks for my first aid kit, personal items, 6-litre and 12-litre sacks for my cooking equipment, food – one for daily food and another with my main supplies, electrical items/cables and a 20-litre sack for my clothes.
Then finally I had a 50-70-litre pack liner to put everything in. This meant I could take the entire bag out and leave my backpack outside the tent if it was wet.
I was always very careful to pack everything away into its correct home, which made it much easier to find and also helped me not unpack the entire bag when looking for one item.
For dirty and wet clothes and gear, I also packed a couple of spares which were very handy on the trip.
What do you think of my long-distance walk kit list? Have you ever done a long-distance hike?
Let me know in the comments below.
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**For my long-distance hiking trip some gear and equipment were gifted to me to use on the trip. This includes the MSR tent and cooking equipment, Salomon hiking clothes and footwear, Suunto watch, Osprey dry sacks, Water-to-Go and Sigg water bottles, LedLenser head torch and Top Herd snacks. All thoughts and opinions on all these products are my own. I will always be open and honest so if you have any questions please get in touch or drop your comments below and I will answer.