Just in case anyone should wonder what it is I am actually planning to carry, wear, use and leave behind on my St Olav’s Way walk, I thought I would piece together a tentative list – which may or may not change dramatically, time will tell and it will be interesting to see. It might not seem a lot, I plan to carry very little and keep my pack weight way below 10 kg in total from skin out. That means that I am wearing some of it at all times which makes the pack lighter, and that layering is the key to regulating temperature.
Under: I admit to merino knickers. They are comfy, dry quickly and there is no chafing issue en route, like there can be with cotton. I prefer a good sports bra to a normal one, though that depends on your size and what you find comfortable. As long as it dries fairly quickly and is comfortable, you will be fine.
Tops: I prefer merino here too: one vest top, two T-shirts and one long sleeve for layering from cool mornings to sunny days and back to chilly evenings.
Bottoms: Most people walk in trousers, but I prefer walking in a skirt. I bring two pairs of running tights to wear under it, one knee-length and one long, and a pair of merino tights for evenings, sleeping in or laundry wear (ie while the two others are drying).
Footwear: Good socks – a very personal decision. I used to walk in merino socks and thin nylon liners, then cut down to just merino, and now walk in short coolmax mix ones. It’s all about trial and error, time of year, terrain etc. I also used to walk in goretex boots but for St Olav’s Way I am planning to take non goretex Hoka One One trail shoes because they are lighter and dry quicker if they get wet. The thick and shock absorbant sole should stop Plantar Fasciitis flare-ups while walking on tarmac/asphalt, there is a bit of that on the route and I know my feet suffer on it. For my second pair of footwear I am planning on taking Teva Terra Fi 4 walking sandals which are quite heavy but also sturdy and has great arch support.
Jacket: I plan to bring a microfleece jacket and a very lightweight Montane Trail Star wind and water repellent jacket at 130 g. If it gets too windy or cold I just slip my poncho on as well.
Raingear: My main defense against the pesky rain is my poncho. A bit of a misnomer as it is really a rain coat with extra space for a pack. This means I can throw it over all of me and my belongings in one and not need to struggle with separate pack cover and rain jacket when rain hits. I will be bringing a blue one to be more visible in traffic. I have also recently invested in Berghaus Paclite rain trousers which will also be my wind trousers and laundry wear, another layer to keep me dry and warm from the thigh down and cover some of my shoes too. Poncho and trousers weigh in total 550 g. And note the energetic pose! I’ll get over that mountain in no time in these!
Evening wear: Yes I do. Most people wear their second set of walking gear after their shower, I bring a lightweight merino dress and a colourful merino cardigan for evenings and travel there and back. The dress can also be used to sleep in and as laundry wear and the cardi is another layer. Total weight for this frivolous outfit is 360g, absolutely worth it.
Bedding: I love my new Alpkit Pipedream hydrophobic down sleeping bag. It is very light, down, and surprisingly warm, should be great for this walk. When it is warm I can open it up and use it as a duvet, when it is cold I can zip it up and wear lots of merino to bed. I am also bringing an Alpkit bivvy bag and a 100%, 100g silk liner bag to keep my quilt clean and add warmth and versatility (the liner doubles as a fetching scarf). We will be sleeping in civilised hotels, pensions etc most of the time but there are places where you need your sleeping mat, bag and tent or bivvy. And who knows, we might start enjoying sleeping under an open sky! My pillow is clothes in a drybag, my pillow case is a buff.
Toiletries: A piece of Fels Naphta for cold water laundry and a Lush shampoo bar-on-a-bungee plus some normal soap for the rest. Also a small tech towel, other than that dry off with clothes going in the wash. Toothbrush and toothpaste and a brush to detangle windswept locks. A crystal deodorant which has no smell in itself, but which stops pits and toes from smelling when you rub it on clean damp skin.
First aid: Any prescription medicines plus some painkillers, foot care, wound care, and a few diarrhea pills and antihistamines are a good idea. There are places to buy more along the way though so no need to overdo it. Ear plugs can be first aid for sleep. Nail scissors – I wonder how I ever managed without them.
Electronics: Mobile, camera, Fitbit. European chargers also weighs a lot less!
Backpack: I am actually planning on taking my Scouse Spouse’s Osprey Talon 33 in a M/L size, which fits and sits better on me with about 7-8 kg in it than my smaller and shorter Tempest or my bigger and not as rigid Jam 50. It has all the features I like and will make over packing near impossible. And it’s light and a good carry. And free!
Side bag: The usual small cross body bag under the pack gives quick access to passport, money, pilgrim passport, camera, mobile and sun screen/lipbalm. The guide book is handy too, but maybe a bit heavy and I may rip it from day to day and keep the day’s route in my bag.
- I love Buffs! I normally start with one merino Buff around my neck for warmth on cool mornings, it can also be worn as a hat, and I use a normal UV-protective one as a hairband. My latest favourite is a peaked one which shields my eyes as well.
- Hat/sunhat and gloves as required.
- Scrubba portable washing machine
- Jetboil and gas canister to boil water for tea, coffee, instant meals, cooking eggs
- Dirty Girl gaiters!! To keep debris out of my shoes and also to brighten my day 😀