13 top tips for packing for a hiking trip


13 top tips for packing for a hiking trip

13 top tips for packing for a hiking trip


By Alice Morrison



The great thing about adventure trips is that they are pretty specific, so you know what to aim at with your packing..


Over the year, and the holidays, I have got my packing down to a fine art. I have, in fact, become a bit of a packing nerd. The great thing about adventure trips is that they are pretty specific, so you know what to aim at with your packing. Some of them will also give you a kit list, which can be very useful. When I packed to cycle from Cairo to Cape Town, the organisation, Tour d’Afrique, supplied one and I stuck to it religiously, only adding a pair of earrings and a lipstick (for our rest days… not for the bike!)

Here are my top tips for packing for a hiking trip. The clothes and shoes all have male and female versions.

Here are my top tips for packing for a hiking trip.


1. Keep it small ie hand baggage size. There is ALWAYS a risk of your bag not arriving at the other end and if you are heading off to the wilderness you don’t want to be stuck with no kit..

Alice Morrison packing for a trip

2. Make sure you take broken-in boots. If you are going to be hiking with a heavy pack, or somewhere hot, remember that your feet will swell and your UK weekend boots may actually be too small. I love Scarpas and have worn them for a few years now. Buying new boots can be a nightmare as it is hard to know if they really suit you until you get out there in the hills, but I have always had excellent advice from Ellis Brigham. I also take a pair of trail running shoes to give my legs a break. I currently really like Asics Gel Fuji Trabuco 5 trail shoes. 

3. You never really know what the weather is going to be doing so you must pack layers. T shirts are better than vests for sunburn and rubbing, a long-sleeved base layer, IceBreaker merino wool bases are my go-to, and a warmer fleece for the top.

4. Shorts or trousers? I go with lightweight, easily-dryable trousers. When you are going through undergrowth, they stop your legs from being scratched and if it pours, they will dry out quickly afterwards. When it’s cold, I use a heavier weight or I add in some fleecy tights underneath (cosy!) as you can then take them off if things hot up. The Berghaus Explorer Ecopant is a good bet. I need to have a pocket, which stuff, won’t drop out of, so I can put my iphone in for easy-access photos.

Alice Morrison Trkking

5. Whether I am going to the desert, the jungle or the mountains, there is one thing I NEVER leave behind. That is my Mountain Hardwear down jacket. I bought it 15 years ago and it was expensive but, wow, has it paid me back! I have worn it literally thousands of times in all terrains, day and night. For a lightweight rain-resistant jacket, the new one from Nike, the Zonal Aeroshield, features some interesting new material. It is using a brand new technical fabric which combines three layers. The secret ingredient is the middle membrane made from ultra-thin electro-spun nanofibres. This creates an incredibly light, breathable layer that allows body heat and sweat to escape. It works.

6. Backpack/rucksack is another item you have to get right for comfort. I have a few as it depends if I am carrying all my kit or if I have the luxury of transfers. Think about whether you like to stuff everything in from the top or unzip; what pockets you want to have; size of straps and hip/waist belt; and where your hydration system will go. For me a camelbak , so that I can drink as you go, is a necessity. 

7. I’ve made a lot of mistakes with socks over the years, which has meant blistering. Usually it is through wearing socks that are too thick. You can’t really go wrong with Bridgedales and for long, tough walking I use Injinji toesocks as an underlayer with a thin sock on top. If you do get blisters, it means you can tape your toes and the toesocks will keep the tape in place.

8. There are some extras that you should always have with you. A headtorch is a must for safety even if you think you are only going to be hiking during the day. The Ledlenser MH10 is good value and good quality. Other safety essentials are a small knife, a foil blanket, a mirror and a whistle (for signaling if you need help) Take a small first aid kit which includes antiseptic, tape and gauze, and pain relief. If you are in snake country then I’d recommend a venom pump.

9. My newest discovery is a brand called 2Toms which do some very clever anti-chafing, anti-blister products and also some super-strong detergent which can get the pong out of the most recalcitrant socks.

10. Take something nice to wear in the evenings (men and women!) you are almost certain to have at least one good night out and who wants to still look like a hiker when you have left the mountains far behind.

11. Solar chargers have saved my life on a number of occasions and the Solar Monkey or, even better, Solar Gorilla will keep you charged up if you are far from electricity. If you are far from electricity, and it pours down with rain all day, or the fog is too thick to see even an inch in front of you… you are out of luck and out of charge.

12. This is a slightly gross tip, so if you have a weak stomach, stop reading. A thin cotton scarf is fantastic for keeping your head warm or cool, your neck from getting burnt, as a hankie, or even as a VERY LAST RESORT, in a toilet emergency.  

Alice Morrison Trekking

13. Last but not least, remember the golden rule – you are going to forget something. Yes, I am sorry but you are. Don’t stress, just make sure that you have the basics and by that I mean your boots and your pack.

Those are my top, must-have tips but my favourite luxury is my tiny Esbit Stove and titanium cup which I take with me everywhere so that I can have a sneaky cuppa... There is nothing to beat a hot brew on top of a pass.

Happy hiking!