The Ultimate Packing List for Female Solo Hikers
Picking the right gear and clothing is always important. But when you have to carry everything in your backpack with no way to fix wrong choices, the choosing process is so much more serious and anxiety-causing.
Packing list for hiking in Spain in February
In a few weeks, I’m going for two weeks hiking in Spain. I will first spend one day site seeing Barcelona and then move on to hike solo along the GR 1 trail Sendero Historico.
[EDIT: I have changed my plans after realizing it would be much too cold on the GR 1 trail. Read about what other choices I had near Barcelona here.]
I will be there for the first time in my life – I do not know the trail and I have very little experience with Spanish climate.
I have been gathering information on it, of course, but I still am not 100% sure of what to expect. It seems that the temperatures during the day may range from 5*C to even above 15*C. It should not drop below freezing temperatures during the night (here is hoping!).
I need to be prepared for a wide range of possible weather conditions. I do want to go as light as possible, but I also don’t want to do something stupid like freeze ;-)
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As much as I wish, I can’t go ultra-light just yet.
My backpack – although great, is pretty heavy. I plan on slowly exchanging my gear to lighter versions.
What I can do is to take the absolute minimum in terms of clothing – just one short-sleeve shirt, one with long sleeves.
As I’m not certain about the day/night temperatures, I still can’t decide on the warmer clothes. I will keep monitoring the changing weather around the area where I am hiking to see what it’s like. I might make a change in the packing list a day or two before – I hope not for the worse.
Below is my packing list as it is now. After I come back I will make sure to report and review – what worked well and what didn’t. That’s the best way to learn: from own mistakes – or good choices.
I hope it can be also useful for you - no matter if you are heading to Spain or not :) This is basically a 3-season packing list for women hiking and camping solo.
I tried to find same or similar items for reference – some of them are discontinued or older versions of whatever is in stores now.
Packing list: Clothes
Long-sleeved merino base layer – Devold (Similar to this one Devold UK haven't found any Devold shirts in the US, but one by other reputable producers is as good - for example, this Smartwool Shirt). Why merino? Read here on the benefits and amazing qualities of merino wool.
Long-sleeved stretch light jacket (Salomon) - "AdvancedSkin warm" thin stretchy jacket w synthetic isulation, with hood. I haven't found an exact same model, but it is similar to this one, just full-zip and with a hood: Salomon Trail Runner UK, I think this one is the closest to what I have: Salomon Discovery Hooded Jacket - US)
Long-sleeved half-zip shirt by The North Face Flight Series - haven't found one like that. It's a warm running shirt with thin fleece fabric and well-ventilated sections.
Warm fleece jacket by Lafuma - I'm not sure actually if it's 200 or 300 polar fleece, but it's really warm, stretchy and surprisingly light.
It has side panels made of thinner fleece for better ventilation. I'm still not sure if I should take it or if it's too warm. Will monitor the weather and decide later on. Here I found something similar by The North Face UK and US. [Edit: I decided not to take it - too bulky]
Trousers (North Face) – Quick-drying and lightweight with zip-off legs, very comfortable and stretchy. I can't remember what is the name of the model I have, which is a pity as I absolutely love them! I think it's probably this model: UK/US.
I liked it, just trying something new now. When choosing backpacking bra remember to choose one where the straps won't rub under your backpack's straps.
Underwear - I'm taking two pairs of merino wool (Icebreaker UK/US) and a pair of synthetic Arc’teryx Phase SL series (UK/US), which are new to me and will be testing them. I will see if I prefer merino or synthetic.
Boots – Salomon Quest 4D (UK/US). I loved them from the start. I don’t want to switch to trail runners just yet, my backpack is still a bit too heavy for that. And anyway, they just fit me so well I don’t really want to change into anything else! If you want to find out why I love my Solomon Quest 4D boots, read this review :).
The second pair of shoes. I'm still unsure about that. It's good to have a "base camp" pair - flip flops or sandals. I have this (UK/US) pair of Keens and love them, but they are heavy… still not sure.
Packing list: hiking and camping gear
Backpack and Packing
Trekking poles - an absolute must! They are life-savers. You can read all about the benefits of hiking with trekking poles here. The ones I'm using are made by a small local company, but you can find great options out there, for example, UK or US.
Gaiters – Deuter low ones. Good for protecting the boots and pants from mud and dirt.
Waterproof map cover
Tent - I'm using a Vango tent and you can read my review here.
EDIT: I recently bought an ultra-light tent by TarpTent (Double Rainbow) but haven't had a chance to use it yet. Stay tuned for a review! :)
Sleeping mat - self-inflatable Vango mat. [EDIT: I got for myself Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite for women and I can't be happier with it. You can read my review here!)
Sleeping bag - Robert’s Custom-made down sleeping bag (800g, 850 cuin). It is made by a small Polish company, from the best quality products, including the world-famous Polish geese down. I can't wait to try it! [Edit: the sleeping bag is awesome :) I'll get summer version, too!]
Pot – Esbit. I am switching to a gas stove for this trip, but I'm taking the Esbit pot that was part of solid-fuel/alcohol stove.
You can learn more about your camping cookware options in this article.
Phone with GPS and map
Power Bank & cords
First Aid Kit
Headlamp + extra batteries
Notebook + Pen
Towel, pee-rug, fast-drying kitchen towel, highly absorbing foam-rug to get dew or raindrops off the tent.
A few bags for garbage etc.
Personal hygiene: toothbrush/toothpaste, face cream, Cetaphil (absolutely best product for sensitive skin, I don't even consider not taking it), biodegradable soap, menstrual cup, insect repellent, sunscreen, lip balm, hand cream
Do you have any comments or advice? Did I miss something? Let me know below!
If you are not fully satisfied with the practical info on gear and clothing, check this resource page where I put all I useful information on gear and clothing for hiking & camping.
Need even more tips? No problem! All other tips, advice, and resources (including info on accommodation along the trails I've hiked) you can find here.