You can’t forget any essentials because there may not be any stores where you are going, but you certainly don’t want to bring more than just the necessaries, because you’ll have to carry everything on your back all day, every day.  So how do you pack for a hiking trip?

In the summer of 2009, a good friend and I hiked for nine days along the northern segment of the GR20, a long distance trail that traverses the amazingly beautiful island of Corsica from the southeast (Conca) to the northeast (Calenzana).  Here is my hiking trip packing list, which is more or less what I actually brought, though I updated it when I got home so I’d remember what I would do differently the next time. (And a good thing, as we plan to finish the GR20 this summer!)

The most important tip: Find out as much as you can about the terrain, the climate and the facilities before you go.  Will I need hiking boots or will trail running sneakers or hiking shoes suffice?  How cold does it get at night?  Will I need full rain gear or will a small poncho do the trick?  Are there any places along the way to restock on food or other supplies?  Will I need a tent and cooking equipment or are there shelters with beds that serve meals?  If so, how much cash will I need to carry on me?  How often will I be able to refill water (i.e., will I need a 1-liter water bottle, a 3-liter bottle or will I need water purification tablets or equipment)?