South West Coast Path: what to pack for a multi-day hike

Last year I completed my first multi-day hike, the 630 mile South West Coastal Path in the UK. I got asked numerous times about what I carry with me on long hikes so thought I would put together my South West Coast Path packing list! I have tried several different products throughout my multi-day hikes and always try to keep my bag as light as possible within my budget so I hope this helps if you too are looking to plan your first long distance hike!

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camping gear

One of my most important purchases before heading off hiking for two months was my tent. I spent a long time researching which tent would be best as I needed something lightweight as I would be carrying all of my gear, as well as a tent that I could easily put up on my own.

I finally decided on the MSR Hubba Hubba NX, 2 person tent weighing only 1.72 kg. I decided on this tent as I didn’t feel there was a massive difference in weight between the one and two person tent that MSR offer and knew that I’d get more use out of a two person tent when I go camping with my partner.

Having gone for the two-person option, I found that it was a luxury having some extra space in the tent when I was alone and meant that my bag could comfortably fit inside as well. The tent itself is very spacious, easy to assemble and you can comfortably sit up inside. 

Overall I’m super happy with the tent – even if it was quite expensive – and two years later I’ve had no issues with it (even in high wind and rain!).

I hope if you choose this tent that you love it as much as I do. 

Click here for the link to this tent.

Click here for the additional groundsheet. 

For my sleeping mat I used the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite. I actually upgraded to this halfway through the trek when my previous sleeping mat started deflating every night! I read mixed reviews about this sleeping mat, so again I was reluctant to spend money on something I was uncertain of. However, I decided it was the lightest option I could find and I really love it so far! I have the women’s version and it’s slimmer than other sleeping mats – but I do find it comfortable. I also read reviews about a rustling sound when you move on the mat, however I’ve never found this to be the case. It is easy to inflate / deflate and has survived a lot of camps so far!

 

A bit of a luxury for multi-day hikes but I don’t think I can survive without a pillow! I use this lovely light inflatable pillow from Trekology which again is still standing strong after over 100 camps! I find it comfortable and love the fact it has a strap that can attach to my sleeping mat so that it doesn’t move or slide off the mat.

 

 

 

Hiking Bag

For my hiking bag I use this Osprey Renn 65l bag which I personally find very comfortable. It was important for me to find a women’s specific hiking bag to ensure that it fit properly. However, I would recommend always trying on multiple bags to see what fits best for you – I tried on A LOT of bags before deciding on this one! I have recently also tried out an Atom Packs bag which is a much more lightweight bag that the Osprey so is worth checking out. 

 

Sleeping Bag

I decided on the Mountain Equipment Helium 400 sleeping bag which weighs only 750g. I absolutely love this sleeping bag and recently bought a warmer version from the same range for some colder adventures! It is an extremely comfortable sleeping bag which can pack down small. However, I recommend buying a separate compression bag as opposed to the one that mountain equipment provide if you are short of space in your rucksack. You can get thinner or thicker versions depending on if you get cold easily. This sleeping bag kept me warm hiking from mid June to September in the UK. 

Cooking

My go to camping stove is the MSR Pocket Rocket stove, it weighs only 73g and after being used twice a day for several months it has never let me down!

I have tried numerous camping stoves over the years including the Jetboil, Trangia system and cheaper versions of the Pocket Rocket. However, this is by far the lightest setup that I have and the most effective for being able to cook different meals and not just to boil water! I found the Jetboil to be a bit too powerful and not designed to cook simple meals like pasta (my go to camping meal!).

You can also buy the stove with the MSR pan. This is a lightweight set up but I chose to buy the pan separately as it was a bit bigger and allowed me to cook for two people where necessary, otherwise I may have bought this setup.

MSR pocket rocket stove

Here is a photo of my cooking setup! I also use the Optimus windshield which can attach onto the gas canister and remains very secure. I highly recommend this as opposed to any other windshield, I have tried a few which don’t always seem to stay in place in windy weather, but this one does a great job.

You can find a link to the windshield here. 

Unfortunately, the pans I use which I bought from Alpkit are no longer for sale and I wouldn’t want to recommend another before trying.  However, I would recommend Alpkit pans so it’s worth a look at their new range, and consider the titanium material which makes them more lightweight. I would always eat out of the pan to avoid carrying an extra bowl and bought along a trusty spork! 

 

I took with me an MSR gas canister and usually will then pick up replacements along the way at shops or campsites.

 

Clothes

  • Raincoat and waterproof over-trousers. I use the Patagonia torrentshell 3l. I have been recommended a lightweight alternative is the Frogg Toggs raincoat which I think I will try on my next hike to cut down a bit of weight. 
  • Lightweight down jacket. For colder nights I use the Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket which I found very warm. 
  • x2 pairs of walking leggings 
  • x3 t shirts 
  • x1 fleece
  • x1 shorts
  • x3 walking socks. I always use Bridgedale merino walking socks
  • Thermal baselayers depending on the season. On the SWCP I took baselayers but as I was walking in Summer I found that I wasn’t using them and so sent them back home in the post whilst on the walk! 
  • Sunhat/ Cap
  • Warm hat 
  • Flip flops for campsite showers/ lightweight shoes for evenings after finishing hiking
 

Additional Items

I always carry a couple of firepot meals with me – they are lightweight and just require water to be added. There are also a number of gluten free camping meals in their range!

Weighing just 28g, the Nitecore NU25 was the lightest head torch that I could find. I found it to be very bright and it can be charged via USB.

I didn’t love this small Sea to Summit towel, but it was super lightweight and packable, even if it didn’t feel like it fully dried me after a shower. Gotta save space somewhere..!

It’s essential to have at least one powerbank, especially if you use your phone to help with navigation (as I do). This is the one that I use, but there are plenty of others out there. I carried this powerbank as well as one other smaller one as a backup on the SWCP and charged them at campsites and cafes when I could.

I chose to purchase a GPS device as when I do multi-day hikes I’m often on my own. The GPS device allows me to contact my family without phone signal and also allows them to track my location. I chose the Garmin inReach Mini. As well as the cost of the device itself, the Garmin does require a monthly subscription so it’s worth looking into how it all works. Ultimately, it’s a useful piece of kit for those solo hikes. 

 

 

It’s easy to rely on phone OS maps, especially on a well-signposted route such as the SWCP, but you never know when you might get caught out. So it’s important to always carry a compass (I’ve always used the Silva brand) and have at least a general understanding of navigating with it.

For the SWCP I carried this small map booklet. There are three of these for the whole path, since it’s such a large area – I bought the first before starting the walk and picked up the other two along the way. There is also a SWCP guidebook which some people carry but I chose not too as it is quite heavy. However, it is one of the best South West Coastal Path books which was helpful to read before I set off. There are Cicerone books out there for many different long distance trails, and I’ve always found them to be super useful.

I use several different dry bags in different sizes to pack my walking kit. This helps to keep it both organised and dry in wet weather conditions. I use the Sea To Summit dry bags and you can find the link here.

I learnt the hard way to carry a first aid kit on my long-distance hikes. Following a small injury on the SWCP I needed a large dressing to cover a wound, antiseptic wipes etc. and whilst I did have some basic first aid supplies, I didn’t have everything I needed. Luckily some people on the campsite helped me but it was a lesson to carry a well stocked first aid kit on every hike in future! Tick tweezers are often overlooked, but also necessary in most places.

Toiletries 

On the SWCP I started by carrying small shampoo bottles but there is only so many times you can deal with your shampoo exploding in your bag! I now always take shampoo bars / soap and it even takes up less space!

 

Walking Poles

I had never used walking poles prior to the SWCP but for this hike they were 100% needed and helped me to navigate very steep ascents / descents with the heavy bag on 

Another essential for me was  a water bladder as otherwise I would have had to take my bag on and off to access my water bottle ( this may be different with other bag systems). I went for this Osprey water bladder. I found that it was a lot easier to have my water in this way. However, the drinking valve does not come with a cover and this has to be purchased separately. I would 100% recommend this for hygiene reasons. You can find the covers here

2 thoughts on “South West Coast Path: what to pack for a multi-day hike”

  1. Planning on walking the swcp in September next year and have taken two months off to do it, found this website very useful so thankyou

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