First time hiking and spending a few days off the grid and living out of a backpack? I recently went on my first hiking trip to Norway (Photo Diary post here!) and thought I would share what worked for me and what didn’t.
As you are carrying everything you bring on your back, the lighter you can pack the better. Key items to invest in:
- Hiking backpack – 60L was perfect for my 5′ 4″ as I had plenty of space for the 3-day trip, but could easily use it for a longer one as well.
- Hiking shoes – These were my best investment by far. I highly suggest going to a proper outdoors retailer to try on different pairs and to get a good understanding of what you will need. I was lucky and didn’t need to break mine in, but I know of other experienced hikers who highly suggest doing so before starting a hike.
- Walking socks – Also important to get walking socks that are appropriate for the weather you will be hiking in. Typically these are thicker and taller to give you extra cushion and avoid any blisters from the socks falling down.
- Camel bag/water bladder – Keeping my hands free while hiking was important to help keep my balance as I climbed over rocks or was going down a steep path. Mine held about 2L at full capacity and had a valve to prevent water leaking.
- Microfiber towel – If you plan on swimming/showering or just get rained on, a small compact lightweight towel that dries quickly will be your best friend.
- Waterproof jacket and pants – In case the weather takes a turn for the worst, be prepared to keep dry with waterproof top layers. These can be made from a lightweight compact material so you can easily layer it for warmth.
- Sleeping bag liner (cabin sleeping) – This is wonderful as a blanket in hot weather, of if you are sleeping in a cabin that provides duvets/pillows. You are only getting your grime on your liner and not sleeping in other people’s.
- Sunblock – Always a good idea to bring some sunblock to protect your skin if you will be spending all day outside and it is still possible to get burned when it is overcast. Given only my face, arms, and neck area were exposed, sharing a tube between your group should be sufficient and means less to carry.
- Earplugs and Sleeping Mask – I wished I had brought these along. Sharing sleeping quarters means random lights and sounds throughout the night and these would have probably provided me with some more peaceful sleep.
Nice to have items:
- Battery pack – Handy if you want be able to charge up anything at night. This along with my solar panel charger, I always had enough juice for my camera to take pictures.
- Solar panel charger with 2 USB plugs – If you are camping or staying in cabins with no electricity, this is a great way to charge up your devices. This was able to charge my Lumix mirrorless camera easily during the day.
- Powdered dry shampoo and deodorant – Powdered products are amazing in there is no restriction on them if you are flying and are typically lighter to carry. Mine are from Lush and they did the job perfectly!
- Lip balm – Nothing worse than chapped lips from the environment and nothing you can do about it! Vaseline is great multi-use item you can bring to help with chapped lips or other uses.
- Facial wipes – If you can’t shower or aren’t brave enough to jump into the lakes on your hike, facial wipes are a great way to somewhat clean off throughout the day and can be really refreshing.
- Sunglasses – Who knows what the weather will bring and protecting your eyes are important
- Hat – Shade your face from the blazing sun (if its sunny). I ended up not using mine and opting for sunglasses, but one or the other is good to have.
- Headlamp/flashlight – I didn’t have one, but found my friend’s quite helpful when trying to rummage through my backpack in the dark.
Last but not least, clothing. Given the length of the trip, I had a fresh set of underwear for each day, and 2 sets of leggings and a top that I interchanged throughout the trip or as a backup dry set. To account for any unexpected weather or temperature changes, I brought a long sleeve and my fleece to be layered as needed with my waterproof items.