Hiking Equipment

The following list can be shortened or extended depending on the weather, the route and how you feel:

Clothing

Night temperatures 0-15 °C Exceeding 15 °C
Hiking shoes *** ***
Sandals ** **
T-shirt ** ***
Shirt *** **
Fleece *** **
Hiking socks *** ***
Underwear *** ***
A swimming costume * *
Windbreaker ** *
Raincoat * *
Hat/headscarf *** ***
Padded jacket *** *

Sleeping gear

Night temperatures 0-15 °C Exceeding 15 °C
Sleeping bag *** ***
Featherbed *** ***
Tent ** *
Warm nightclothes ** *

Eating

Night temperatures 0-15 °C Exceeding 15 °C
Water *** ***
Food *** ***
Coffee * *
Cup *** ***
Cutlery *** ***
Gas cooker ** **
Pan (or pot) ** **
Matches ** **
Paper for making a fire * *
Bottle-opener * *
Can-opener * *
Washing-up liquid, dishcloth * *

Health and hygiene

Night temperatures 0-15 °C Exceeding 15 °C
Wetwipes ** *
Toiletries *** ***
Towel * *
Lip balm ** **
Tick repellent * *
Earplugs * *
First Aid kit *** ***
Block of soap * *
Suntan lotion *** ***
Hand cream * *
Mosquito repellent cream * *
Sunglasses *** ***

Other

Night temperatures 0-15 °C Exceeding 15 °C
Backpack ** **
Headlamp *** ***
Hiking stick * *
Mobile phone ** **
Clothes’ peg, safety pin, string * *
Bum-bag * *
Swiss Army knife ** **
Map *** ***
Photography equipment ** **
Musical instruments * *
Bin bags *** ***
Sewing kit * *
Document *** ***

*** Don’t go anywhere without it
** Good to have it on you, you will most probably need it
* Could come in handy depending of the hiking route and how you feel

In more detail…

  • Hiking shoes: Ideally hiking shoes should be made from leather, they should be boots and have ridged rubber soles and be well looked-after (mine aren’t ideal because of this last criterium). This last one means cleaning them and proofing them. Boots protect you from ankle dislocations, torn tendons, rocks, dew as well as snake and scorpion bites. The special pattern on the sole prevents you from slipping (mud, wet rocks, punk wood) but only if it’s made from rubber. Plastic soles can be dangerous because they only stick to dry surfaces. Leather both allows for ventilation and insulates against dampness. There aren’t many seams on good hiking shoes but these are “weak points” where the shoes can split and where water can get in. The boots should be a little bit loose because if they fit perfectly and dig a little your ankle will swell after a few days. You should wear them in before going on a hike so they don’t cause problems when hiking. Boots are particularly essential in difficult, rocky and mountainous terrain.
  • Sandals (Teva): In rest areas these are good shoes to change into. You can walk in them on less difficult terrain and can use them as flip-flops when bathing. They are small, light and durable. They can be tied to the outside of your backpack.
  • Hiking socks: Cotton or wool (hydroscopic, thick, durable) socks are most suitable. They should be non-slippery and there shouldn’t be seams which dig into you. They should be stretchy and comfortable. Long socks are more practical (chafing, nettles, etc.) and if necessary you should be able to roll them down. “Professionals” wear 2 pairs: one thin pair of stockings and shorter thick socks rolled back on their shoes (this way small stones don’t get into your footwear). It’s useful to dry your socks during long breaks (and in the evenings). This is good for your legs and it’s good to air your legs and your boots.
  • Underwear: It’s important that it absorbs dampness, dries quickly, allows the skin to breathe and doesn’t rub. Only natural (cotton) materials guarantee this.
  • A Swimming costumemight also be needed, although you can swim in underwear or naked.
  • Hiking trousers: can be worn either as long trousers or shorts, can be separated with a zip, there are lots of pockets, many hiking trouders offer UV-protection, dry quickly, are comfortable.
  • Shirt: A long-sleeved shirt is needed on every hike. The best ones are from flanel.
  • Fleece: Should be small and light but warm. Wool is the most suitable as it keeps the body warm even when wet. This is not only for winter hikes!
  • T-shirt: 1 long-sleeved T-shirt, one sleeveless vest (in hot weather it can be worn as outer clothing and in cold weather as undergarment).
  • Windbreaker: Ideal piece of clothing: ticks do not stick to it, protects you from drizzly rain, unpleasant winds, the air underneath it insulates well, fits in small places and it’s light. Disadvantages: “rustles”, flammable and difficult to air (sweating).
  • Raincoat: (not a storm raincoat or umbrella!) It should be waterproof (for this reason unfortunately you start to sweat in it very quickly), fit under your backpack so that the contents do not get completely soaked, and it should obviously have a hood too. Folded-up it can be used as a cushion on cold groud. Can be replaced if needed with a large nylon bag.
  • Hat/headscarf againt the sun: large wide-brimmed, UV-protection, canvas hat which allows for ventilation. A must-have against the sun.
  • Warm hat: for cold weather and for nighttime
  • Nightclothes: The best is a tracksuit which if needed can replace your outer garments if they get wet.
  • Sleeping bag: Its weight is important (should only be 1000g at the most, but better if less), as is the size (the smaller the better) but the most important thing is its ability to maintain heat. You should ask about this when buying one. The “comfort value” is for example +4 C, which means that above this value the outside temperature will not be a problem. As the air in the lining of the sleeping bag (feather, synthetic, etc.) insulates, it is recommended that you give the sleeping bag a good shake before using it and that you air it after use. Don’t keep it packed away and folded up at home. You should fold it loosely or keep it hanging in the wardrobe.
  • Featherbed: This insulates your body from cold or warm soil and protects you from uneven surfaces, rocks, and ant nests. Insulation happens with the help of air, either trapped between rubber layers (rubber matress) or in polyfoam. If necessary, hay, shrubs, a blanket, clothes or a girlfirend/wife can take its place.
  • Tent: The best thing is to sleep under the stars, but if you need a tent then it is worth noting the following. A good tent is made from strong and light material, is the right size and can be pitched easily. Only tents that are completely dry should be packed away. If possible you should dry the tent after rainy weather. The best tents are only reliable if pitched properly and in the right place. Some considerations when choosing a place to pitch your tent.
  • Cup: a 200-300ml metal cup with a handle is the best because if necessary you can cook in this too. A strong plastic cup can also be used. You can use this as a plate too.
  • Cutlery: For a hike a spoon and a pocket knife (or Swiss Army knife) is more than enough.
  • Food: Not too much but nutritious food and in light packaging, e.g. not glass
    For breakfast a hot drink is important (tea, cocoa, coffe with milk, soup). Regarding cold food, it’s best to choose substanitial food high in calories (and energy): jam, honey, hazelnut cream, dry smoked meats, cheese.
    During the day it’s important to take food which can fill you up easily and which contains calories and carbohydrates (chocolate, glucose, raisins, dried fruit, biscuits) or oily nuts and seeds high in energy (walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds).
    In the evening you should have substantial warm meals. There’s a great atmosphere cooking by the campfire. You should eat simple but filling and nutritious plant-based dishes (pulses, soya, potatoes). For examples: pea stew with sausage, pea stew with eggs, lentil stew with sausage, paprika potatoes, “lecsó” with eggs, bean soup with smoked meat, meat with rice, Goulash soup.
    It’s worth eating near springs in an area protected from the wind (and rain), for example at the entrance to a cave, in places with a nice view, in the shade during the summer and in the sunshine during the winter. Of course you can also feast at tables and on benches, but you shouldn’t dine in the tent!
  • Water (4-6 litres per day)
  • Coffee
  • Gas cooker
  • Pan (or pot): aluminium pans can be used to make tea and coffee and to warm up food, can be bought in shops, can be placed inside one another, are light and can be cleaned easily.
  • Matches
  • Paper for making a fire
  • Bottle-opener
  • Can-opener
  • Washing-up liquid, dishcloth: You have to wash up when on a hike lasting several days. A sponge or a dishcloth plus fat-soluble washing-up liquid is needed. Instead of chemicals glumaceae, sand and mud can be used as “scrubbing materials”. In non-protected areas soda can also be used. Hot water also dissolves fat well. You can also scrub the soot from the pot with stones (it’s recommended so that it will be more able to convey heat when the next pot of coffee is being made).
  • Wetwipes (small packets because of the weight)
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, toilet paper, tissues, baby lotion, first aid kit, individual medicines…
  • Block of soap, shampoo in solid block form. This is because bottles occupy lots of space, are heavy and are just soapy water. A block of soap is more practical for the journey.
  • Towel: microfibre towels are very small and light, absorb dampness and dry quickly.
  • Lip balm: Our lips dry out from the wind, the heat and from moving around all day. It’s important to look after them.
  • Tick repellent
  • Kneepads, a strong bandage on both legs. This prevents pain and should be used on both legs because if it’s only on one leg, too much pressure is put on the other one and this leads the other one to start hurting.
  • Earplugs: It’s unbelievable how many people snore and how close they do this to other people’s ears! Wax-coated earplugs are good because we can shape them to fit our ears.
  • Medicine: It’s important to have painkillers and anti-inflammatories on you. Anti-diarrhoea medication is also important, as is medicine for fever, plasters for blisters, cream for muscle and joint pain, a needle and thread (to treat blisters). Regarding vitamins, magnesium is very important (e.g. in soluble form, this way you can drink it all day with water) so that you don’t get muscle craps from overexertion.
  • Suntan lotion: essential because the sun is very strong.
  • Hand cream
  • Thick cream, deer-fat cream, vaseline: each morning before putting on your socks you should rub it on your feet in order to avoid blisters and hardened skin.
  • Mosquito repellent cream
  • Sunglasses
  • First Aid kit
  • Backpack: It should air your back and should have adjustable straps. It should not be heavy and should have a protective cover for the rain. 30-40 litre capacity is enough. A healthy person can easily carry one fifth or one sixth of his/her body weight. For a person weighing 65 kg this is 11-13 kg. Tourists usually reach this weight! When packing it’s checking the grams too. You should choose the lightest, smallest and least of everything! For women the bag tends to be 10-12 kg, for men 14-16 kg (with food and drink). I’ve been hiking several times with a backpack weighing 18 kg! It was always fine, I actually enjoyed it, especially when I put it down!
  • Headlamp (and batteries): You will often have to pack your bag in the dark or find the toilet at night or at dawn, or search for road signs in the dark. For this reason a headlamp is needed to keep your hands free so you can pack, cook, hold on to something or hold the hiking stick. It’s worth using a headlamp which has a red light too, on the one hand so that your fellow-hikers are not blinded by it and on the other hand so that the battery lasts longer.
  • Hiking stick: For some this is essential, for others it’s ridiculous. I think it can help you legs and takes a large part of the burden away from your knees. Athough you can find sticks by the side of the road, hiking sticks are better because both sticks are the same and therefore the burden will be the same on both kness. The length of the sticks can also be adjusted. They can be necessary if you come across angry dogs (maybe the stick actually makes it worse?) and when crossing streams (so that you most definitely fall in). If you need to hold on to something it’s better to hold on to a rock or a tree. When going downhill they can take a lot of the burden away from our legs.
  • Mobile phone (there is only one mobile phone switched on so that the batteries last as long as possible.)
  • Clothes’ peg, safety pin, string: Sometimes you also have to wash clothes. Pegs are useful for hanging out the washing or if the clothes don’t dry and you hang it next day on your backpacks. Safety pins are good if you hang them on your backpack and you want to make sure you don’t leave the clothes behind. String is needed if there are no trees in the rest area or no other place to hang the clothes. In these circumstances you can create a washing line.
  • Bum-bag: so that your camera, drinking water, money, perhaps your bank card, are always to hand.
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Map
  • Photography equipment
  • Musical instruments: harmonica, recorder, guitar… don’t take a piano with you.
  • Bin bags: For rubbish, dirty laundry, shells, stones, other knick-knacks.
  • Sewing kit: to mend clothes, the tent and the backpack: thread, needle, scissors, thimble, wire, buckle, string, stain-remover, glue, insulating material, handle, safety pin, scrunchie.
  • Documents: ID card, driver’s licence, cash, credit card, health card, pen, paper, notepad.

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