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  • Emily Hayes

Diary of a hiker in training: packing List for wild camping adventure in Scotland

I’m pleasantly surprised that many people have asked me to share my gear list of what I’ve taken on trips that mainly feature hiking and wild camping. There are so many lists out there it didn’t seem worthwhile me adding another one but here it is. This is what I packed for my trip to Scotland in October 2021. The trip was divided into 2 sections, a 3 night walk and wild camp through Glen Tilt and a 2 night walk and wild camp through Lhairig Grhu. The first section I walked alone and the second section I was joined by another female friend.

Ready to go for Glen Tilt October 2021

I frequently change my packing list depending on the variables of each trip. It will be interesting to see what I end up with in my backpack at the end of the PCT!

1. Backpack

- Osprey - 36L Kyte

I’ve had this for 6 years and it’s still sound. Comfortable and functional. 36 liters is small for most backpackers but I make it work. I strap my tent and other items externally. Why put a wet tent inside your dry backpack?!

For the PCT I’m going to stick with this, perhaps a new one of the same type. I’ve weighed up the pros and cons of ultralight backpacks that are currently available, for the sake of saving about 500g I would have to compromise on comfort.

Weight: 1.5kg

2. Tent

- Tartpent - Notchli

This is a tent that uses hiking poles in the structure, minimizing weight by not carrying tent poles. It is however a 1 man which I’ve now got used to. It’s made from Dyneema material which is really light yet strong. It has a mesh fly inner which means I don’t need to put the fly sheet on if it’s hot. Needless to say it rained a lot in Scotland, the tent and I did better than survive, I was quite comfy.

I also have a Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 man tent which didn’t keep me dry in Scotland but It was a good size tent that would do well on the PCT so I’m going to take it as back up on PCT just in case (leaving it at friends who can mail me a parcel in the US) .

Weight: 605g

3. Sleeping Bag

- Sea to Summit – Flame 3 women’s down sleeping bag

- RAB - Silk Ascent Sleeping Bag Liner

- Sea to Summit - Lightweight Dry Sack 4L

This piece of gear took me the longest to decide on a purchase, in fact weeks of research. Although at the pricier end of the scale, I have not regretted the price. Extremely compact once compressed, water resistant down, super comfy and warm (comfort rating is -4°C). I have not been cold at night sleeping at -2C and I sleep in very minimal clothing. The mummy bag foot box has collected a lot of moisture on multiday trips (from leaky tents or condensation) yet I have stayed warm. This is a sleeping bag designed for women, I chose a long size not the regular but a regular probably would have been fine as I’m 5’7”. My boyfriend who is 6’2” has slept in it and given excellent feedback.

I pack the sleeping bag into a 4L dry sack instead of a compression sack and I use a sleeping bag liner to help with temperature, hygiene and comfort.

Bag weight: 745g

Liner weight: 120g

Dry sack weight: 44g

4. Sleeping Pad

- Nemo – Switchback (foam pad)

- Thermarest - NeoAir Xlite (inflatable pad)

I took both on my Scotland trip to see what I felt like throughout the trip . The foam unfolds and you can use it straight away, the NeoAir inflates after some effort of blowing it up manually (with your mouth). I was concerned I would be cold with just the foam pad but I was comfy and slept better than on an inflatable pad as there was no movement of either me falling off the NeoAir or my NeoAir moving in the tent and making noises. I’m nearly convinced not to carry the NeoAir but I know it will be wanted in the snowy Sierras on the PCT.

Switchback weight: 314g

NeoAir: weight: 360g

5. Cooking system

- MSR – pocket rocket 2 mini stove kit

- Gas Canister

- Titanium Cup, Plastic Spork, Lighter

The Pocket Rocket stove is widely used and accepted to be one of the better stoves, I’ve been very happy with its performance. Planning logistics for gas canisters takes some getting used to. So I take trains not flights or make sure I’m flying into a city with plenty of camping shops.

Combined stove kit weight: about 400g

6. Hiking Poles

- Black Diamond – Women's Trail Trekking Pole

I don’t have much to say about hiking poles. They work and I’m happy with the weight vs strength ratio. What more can you ask for?

Weight: 442g

7. Clothes

- Merino wool long sleeve base layer (Womens 200 Oasis crew top) (Icebreaker)

- Sweat wicking running tights (New Balance)

- Merino wool mid layer long sleeve (Original LS Half Zip) (Icebreaker)

- Womens Microlight Alpine ECO jacket (RAB )

- Underwear – 3 knickers , 1 merino wool cami bra.

- Sleeping – silk legging and silk long sleeve top

- Merino t-shirt – back up / sleeping in hotel.

I love merino, it's never failed me. Just google the benefits of merino wool for hiking clothes, I don't need to repeat what is already available to browse. I'm really interested to see how it will fare on the varying terrain and weathers of the PCT.

Total weight approx: 2kg ?

8. Waterproof Clothing and Outer Layers

- Waterproof Jacket – Patagonia Women's Torrentshell 3L

- Waterproof Trousers - Regatta

- Waterproof gloves – Montane women’s Tornado

- Poncho! Protect yourself, backpack and great to sit on. I’ve had to re-proof this but does the job. It’s a cheap one from Amazon.

- Thin glove liners - Icebreaker – 260 Tech

- Beanie hat and snood.

I did not get any of my mid or base layers wet on that Scottish trip. I think I may have finally mastered staying dry.

Weight: I don’t know, I’ve given up calculating at this stage in my list.

9. Footwear and socks

- Scarpa – Womens Ranger GTX Active Lite Boot

- Smart wool – PhD heavy Crew (Mens) socks x 1

- Donegal wool socks x 1

- BAM – bamboo socks as liners x 2

I love thick crew mountaineering socks by Smart Wool. Really comfy for autumn and winter. I wear bamboo socks as my liner. I tend to wear the same sock pairing for 3 days with the donegal socks as back up and to sleep in (they are loose and cosy). All of the socks are made from natural fibers so they are a lot more suited to wearing on consecutive days without washing (less odor and offer some antibacterial properties) plus when they did get a bit wet my feet still stayed warm and reasonably happy. Oh the boots are great too! Zero blisters.

All day rain = Poncho

10. Navigation system

- 3 x Ordnance survey “explorer” paper maps to cover the areas I hiked.

- Waterproof map case and compass.

- Mobile phone on power saving mode with pre-downloaded maps on the app “Outdooractive”.

Paper maps used as main navigation with phone GPS and apps for back up.

11. Gadgets and Technology

- Shoulder strap camera clip – Peak Design capture clip

- Camera - Cannon EOS 100D with 18-55mm lens)

- Battery pack - Anker Power Bank, PowerCore Slim 10000

- USB charging cables, plug.

- Mobile phone

- Head torch.

- Penknife.

- Selfie stick that doubles as tripod for both phone and camera.

12. Toiletries

-Toothbrush (cut in half), toothpaste.

- Face flannel.

- I don’t carry deodorant, shampoos or many liquids.

- Soap sometimes for face and showers in hotels.

- Coconut Oil! Use on hair, face, body and feet. My nightly routine of foot massage.

- Small first aid kit with blister plasters, painkillers, water treatment tablets, dehydration sachets, athletes foot cream, Savlon, Vaseline.

13. Food

What I eat will make a whole other blog! But in summary, porridge, double deckers, pork pies, cheese, apples and freeze dried meals (my fave is Expedition Foods). My approach to food and diet has changed a lot since I first started my adventures a few years ago.

Expedition Foods freeze dried meal

14. Water system

- Water filter – Katadyn, BeFree.

I’m quite comfortable with the Scottish water sources I encountered so I didn’t filter any water I boiled to eat/wash. As water was everywhere, I also didn’t need to carry much. I drank straight from my water filter (with attached bottle) and topped up as and when. Please do your own assessment about what water sources to use and the risks that may be present.

15. Other little bits that are helpful

- Dry Bags – Osprey Ultralight drysack 3L and 6L for down jacket and all other clothes not worn.

- McNett Tenacious Sealing & Repair Tape – has come in handy before.

- Single Use hand warmers – seriously help with my raynauds. Once I’ve set up camp I’ll let one begin to warm up and use it in my pockets.

- Food bags – great for food and waste.

I haven't weighed my base weight, all I know is it feels lighter than a comparable trip I did the year before. Mainly due to fine tuning my gear and only carrying what I need. I'm not a gram counter but I do enjoy saving the weight when it does not compromise on common sense or comfort.

Relax and enjoy the view!

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