This is my complete thru hiking gear list – with recommendations for my favourite brands! This is everything I took with me when I did the Israel National Trail; a 1000km trail stretching the full length of Israel.
I had to be prepared for different terrains (mountains, coastline and desert) and completely self-sufficient. For the most part, the weather was hot in the day and cold at night – although I packed ready for rain as well.
This kit list would be ideal for most thru hikes with the exception of those involving winter conditions where you may need additional technical items such as crampons and ice axe.
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After each item I have linked to the specific model that I took and used for my thru hike in Israel. Any notes about an item in hindsight are added in red.
Before we start….
I’m Bex Band – a full-time adventurer and founder of the UK’s largest adventure community for women, Love Her Wild. I’m on a mission to make getting outdoors and adventures as easy as possible by providing all the information you need to plan an adventure. I’ve done lots of adventures myself from hiking the length of Isreal to kick-scooting the length of the UK (you can see a list of my adventures here).
You can sign up to my newsletter here. Also check out my recently published book Three Stripes South, all about my first big adventure hiking the length of the Israel National Trail.
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Thru hiking gear list; general
- Hiking backpack with attached water cover: 50L Thule bag
- Walking boots or shoes: Bhutan Walking Boots (there’s a lot of debate surrounding boots vs shoes. I personally found boots more secure on the uneven trail and didn’t get a single blister using them)
- Walking poles: Black Diamond walking sticks
- Pen knife: Swiss Army Pen knife
- Compass: Silva Compass
- Sandals/flip flops: Source hiking sandals (most prefer to take crocs or flip flops as they are more lightweight. You’ll want these for moving around camp and ‘airing’ your feet on rest days. As I did some hiking on sand I liked having sandals I could trek in)
- Water bottle or bladder: Source 3L hydration
- Headtorch & batteries: Petzl Head Torch
- Camera & spare batteries: Olympus Tough
- Maps or hiking guidebook: Hike the Land of Israel: Israel National Trail (you can tear away parts of your guide book or maps as you go and burn them to save on weight)
- E-book: Kindle (broke half way through the trip…I was very bored without it in the evenings!)
- Phone: Iphone 6
- Battery pack: Anker Power Bank (I couldn’t get on with solar charger units – just too slow and fiddly…I’d choose a power bank any day and this Anker one really is brilliant!)
- Shovel (essential for going to the toilet on the trail)
Sleeping kit list
When doing a thru hike sleep becomes incredibly important so make sure you gear list for this department is good quality and reliable. Think about what sort of sleeper you are. If you’re a cold sleeper think added warmth. A hot sleeper though may prefer the flexibility of a quilt rather than a sleeping bag.
- Lightweight tent: Hubba Hubba NX (love this tent!!)
- roll mat and repair kit: Therm-a-rest (got a lot of punctures and needed to order extra repair kits)
- Sleeping bag: Mountain Equipment down sleeping bag, 3 Season (thicker than is recommended but I’m a cold sleeper and I appreciated it on some of the cold winter nights. Mostly used like a blanket which was very comfortable)
Cooking packing list
- Lightweight cooking pan
- Camping stove: Jetboil (without the pot attached. I chose to take a separate pot as it is larger more versatile for 2 people)
- Gas canister
- Mug/bowl: Sea to Summit
- Spork (broke and ended up using a regular metal spoon)
Toiletries packing list:
I kept my toiletries to an aboslue minimum. Please make sure that you use eco products so that if you wash in natural places you don’t damage the land.
- First Aid Kit
- Sunscreen factor 50+
- Aqua Prove purifying drops (didn’t need to use purification tablets at all)
- Lush Ultrabalm (used as a moisturiser, preventing blisters, chaffing)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- LUSH solid shampoo (for washing myself and clothes)
- Mooncup (I found a mooncup the best way to manage periods on a hike)
- Duct tape (wrap around the repair kit or a water bottle to save space)
What to wear on a thru hike?
- Bandana (tied around head to keep sweat out of eyes, used as flannel sometimes)
- Warm hat (used quite a bit for the cold desert night)
- Brimmed sun hat
- Waterproof Jacket
- 1 x Fleece
- 1 x cotton shirt (for sun protection on my shoulders and arms – much easier than adding sunscreen all the time)
- Pair of trousers
- 2 x t-shirts
- 1 x Shorts or 3/4 length leggins
- 1 x bra
- 2 x Wool hiking socks
- 3 x quick dry underwear
A few notes on my thru hiking gear list…
….I was mostly hiking in hot conditions and found loose fitting clothing the most comfortable.
…..When it comes to buying equipment, good shoes and socks are your biggest priority and where you should definitely invest. Buy them at least 6 months before your walk and wear them as much as you can, including for some long walks.
…..Second to the boots and shoes, you want to think about getting a good back that fits comfortably and can be adjusted. After boots, the bag will be the item that causes you the most amount of discomfort. Both are a personal choice so you need to go to a shop and try different options and go for the one that is most comfortable and fits your body the best.
…..I only took a 50l bag which was plenty, although there were 2 of us so some items we could share – stove, first aid, etc. I would try and keep your pack below 60l. Not only will it save you over packing and carrying extra weight, but it will make any scrambling a lot more comfortable.
….I struggle to stay warm so bought a really good sleeping bag and went a season higher than recommended…I definitely didn’t regret this decision!! Make sure you know all the tricks to staying warm in a tent so you are comfortable at night.
….Most items can be easily replenished along the way (toiletries and gas stoves for example) so only pack small amounts.
….Give everything in your bag a place as this will make packing and unpacking so much easier. For more tips on packing your bag read how to pack a hiking bag.
….Depending on the length of your walk, you might want to send ahead replacement clothes to the halfway mark. After about 6 weeks most of my clothes were struggling to stay together!
…..buy most of your gear second hand. You’ll save a fortune! Also, you’ll help the planet in the process!
For advice on funding, sponsorship (great if you are going to keep a blog or online presence) and planning, check out this Plan an Adventure page.
Got any questions? Just ask using the comments box below – I’m always happy to help.
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**MY BOOK ABOUT HIKING THE ISRAEL NATIONAL TRAIL!** Grab a copy of my published book, Three Stripes South. All about my hike on the INT and how it changed my life. Don’t forget to also sign up to my newsletter to stay up to date with future adventures.
HiGil and Bex.
this is frank frm Arise community school in Tanzania.
want to use this orpotunity to appreciate your good work you are doing for Ace and my community in large.What u are doing I want to asure u tht its going to bring forth good fruits..and change these kids lives.Only through education their lives going to be changed.
Many many thank you for your good work.
Frank n Salome.
Thank you so much for leaving us such a kind message. It’s a great morale boost. We are happy to hear that the money raised is being put to good use but really we know all the hard work is happening at your end!
Looking forward to meeting you soon 🙂
wishing u all the best in every steps you are taking.
Take good care of yoselves!
Frank n Salome.
I am about to set off to do the trail, and I am using your blog as my main reference for…. everything!!! Thank you so much for putting this together and sharing!
That is so great to hear…thank you!! Let me know if you have any more questions I’ve not covered.
Is there a way I can follow your journey? A blog? Instagram? 🙂
What is the total weight of your backpack without food or water?
(I also use the Anker solar panel and I’m happy, other than the weight, I think to go on a model lighter.)
Without food and water it was probably around 9kg. You wouldn’t want to go much heavier as food and water can add another 6 on the long stretches.
I never needed the solar panel in the end. A battery pack would’ve made much more sense and for the most part I was able to charge things in petrol stations and falafel shops along the way.
Good luck with the trip!
Thanks for sharing all of your expertise and experiences. One thing I’ve not read anywhere is whether or not the airlines allow us to carry in our checked luggage a fuel canister for our cook stove. Do you know? …or is it something we’ll need to find in Israel? Thanks, Glenn
No problem Glenn 🙂
As far as I know you can’t take them on the plane. You can get canisters easily in Israel from outdoor shops (most malls will have an outdoor shop). Also the petrol station shops and supermarkets en route usually sell them as they are used to catering for walkers.
Hope that helps! Good luck with the walk.
Looking at your packing list I can can recommend a few changes to save weight:
1) Use trail runners or lightweight hiking boots such as Solomon, Altra. etc. Saving 100 gr on your feet equals about 500 gr saving on your back!
2) use one of those superlight stoves instead of the jetboil – Lixada Pocket Camping Stove Mini Folding Backpacking Gas Stoves 25g Ultralight Portable Titanium Alloy Outdoor Cooking Butane Gas Burner 2700Whttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XQCWL2T/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
3) ditch the bowls and use the pot to eat out of
4) if you have one of the larger phones such as the Iphone 6/7/8 PLUS or similar Samsung device, you can use the Kindle APP on it and get rid of the Kindle. It also is sufficent for blogging so no tablet needed.
There are other savings to be had but these are the most significant ones.
Some top tips there Roman!
I think the biggest problem with the lightweight kit is cost. The lighter you go, the more expensive which is always a bit of a compromise when I do trips. Great idea in regards to the kindle on the IPhone, I have also upgraded to a plus recently and you are right that this works well for blogging so can ditch the tablet!
I am planning the hike for next year. Nobo starting 13th February. I am reading the guidebook and notice that he recommends mostly 6 ltrs. water a day. Did you really need that much? Thanks a lot!
It really depends on the distance you are hiking that day, how far until your next water source and also the temperature. For the long hot desert days, I easily got through 4-5 litres. You should always keep 1 litre spare.
The best is to start with 6 litres and then gauge how much you drink. I’d also suggest using the ‘camel technique’ and drinking a litre of water before you leave camp in the morning so you start the day hydrated.