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What To Put In Your Pack

Bill Orme - from Striders 112

There is nothing so personal as a Packlist; no two walkers would agree on the same thing. Each walker also makes a different selection depending on such factors as the length of the walk, its remoteness, the weather and many others.

I prefer to have my own full checklist, which I run through before each walk, deciding what I will take on that particular walk. While it seems pedantic, I, and most walkers, have arrived at the first night's camp to find we have left out the fuel for the stove, the mat to sleep on, as the rain starts, our umbrella, or our water bottle. Thus I ruthlessly check my list as I pack.

Personal clothes

  • walking boots
  • shoes
  • socks (3)
  • trousers - long
  • shorts
  • shirts (2)
  • hat
  • sweater
  • balaclava
  • gloves/mittens
  • pyjamas
  • umbrella
  • rain jacket
  • rain trousers
  • gaiters
  • pack cover
  • down jacket


  • tooth brush/paste
  • yellow soap - degradable
  • comb
  • clothes line - elastic
  • hanger - blow up
  • plug
  • towel
  • mitt
  • swimmers


  • torch + batteries
  • book
  • radio

Repair Kit

  • nail scissors
  • needle threads buttons
  • glues - sticking tapes
  • boot polish - grease


  • tent - pegs - poles
  • fly
  • sleep bag
  • mat
  • pillow
  • water bottle (2)
  • water purifers - iodine
  • bladder - carrier
  • tubing
  • Trangia stove
  • fuel
  • matches
  • mitts - scrubbing and wiping
  • spoons - cooking & eating
  • mug
  • plate
  • Swiss knife/whistle/thermometer
  • toilet paper

General items

  • glasses (reading/long - 2)
  • sunoil
  • repellant/stingose
  • lip salve
  • maps/GPS/beacon
  • map case - waterproof
  • guides
  • compass
  • binoculars
  • walking stick
  • plastic bags - clothes/camping gear
  • plastic bags - money etc
  • rubber bands
  • camera
  • film/discs battery charger


  • Breakfast: muesli
  • Lunch: biscuits
  • dried fruit
  • Dinner : package meals
  • vegetable
  • potato powder
  • tea
  • coffee
  • powdered milk/sugar
  • pepper/salt/mustard
  • muesli bars
  • lollies - hard (barley sugar)


  • glasses - long
  • compass
  • hat
  • sunoil
  • lip salve
  • batteries - torch/camera
  • Trangia rubber ring
  • toilet paper
  • matches


  • Personal medication
  • Bandaids - Savlon
  • Bandage
  • tinea (2)
  • eye drops - throat lozenge
  • broad antibiotic
  • ear plug - eye shade
  • Vit C

Documents & Money

  • Paper - pens
  • Travel documents
  • Cash - credit cards
  • Mobile phone - charger

Personal clothes

Shoes: These I do without and put up with wet boots if my pack is too heavy. I use Hush Puppies, 400gms a pair.

Shirts: I used to alternate shirts each day but both soon get ragged. Now I use one for walking, washing it each day, the other keep for night (good restaurants!) and only wash it once a week.

Gaiters: For normal walking I use anklets only, since I walk in shorts, which stop sticks and stones getting in my boots. In rain, water runs over the anklets rather than into my boots.


Plug: Many hostels and refuges don't have plugs - I carry a universal one.

Mitt: Handy when water is limited.


Water purifiers: There are many tablets and pumps, but I don't use them. I watch where the water I take comes from, and add two drops of iodine into 'uncertain' water. Note you can burp it for some time after, and it should not be used for lengthy periods.

Bladder: 4 or 6 litre wine bladders are light and small, but useful where water is a distance from the camp or extra water (beyond 2 litres in bottles) needs to be carried during the day. As the bladder is slippery when full, I use a net bag to carry it.

Tubing: Water can be in crevices etc in remote dry places, and can be sucked up. The tube can also be used for an emergency tracheotomy - we were close to that when bitten by a wasp on the soft palate.

Spoons: For cooking, a long handle so it doesn't fall in, square bottom and squared sides to scrape and stir to stop food sticking.


In general I can walk for a week without a tent with a 10 kg pack, with a light bivy tent 12 kg, and when walking the John Muir in California I carried 21 days food and fuel, starting with a 21 kg pack. Lightness can mean your equipment is less robust, but care in selection can avoid problems. A few approximate weights:

Tent/bivy: 1 pers/2 pers/3 pers 700gms 1.70kg 2.5kg
Sleeping bag: 400gms 1.2kg 1.7kg
Mat: 400gms 800gms 800gms
Pillow: 200gms 200gms 200gms
Trangia stove: 1pers / 2 pers / 4 pers 300gms 580gms 860gms
Fuel - Ethyl Alcohol: 50ml per person per day, or less if careful. 1 litre weighs 1kg.
Water: 1 litre weighs 1kg - don't forget to add to calculate your maximum weight.
Packs: 65 litres covers most conditions. Note that volume is available in a variety of fabric weights, numbers of zippers, straps, gadgets, which affect the weight. I no longer use my 2.4kg pack.
  1.40kg 1.60kg 2.40kg
Boots: I have wondered if an extra 500gms in boot weight was the same as 500gms added to my pack? My physicist friend has pointed out that you lift your boots many many times, but the pack stays level, so light flexible boots are the go. I just read the walkers' end of day prayer 'Lord, if you lift them up, I'll put them down'.
  400gms 600gms 800gms

This article was written by Bill Orme, Walking Volunteers, and first appeared in Strider.
Anyone is free to copy it with this acknowledgement.

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