Hiking Gear for a Hadrian’s Wall Walk (or almost any walk)
Below is a roundup of most of the gear that we used (or didn’t use) on our Hadrian’s Wall walk.
This was our first long-distance walk, and we learned what worked and didn’t work for us. These are only the items we wore or carried in our daypack, as we used a service to transport our luggage each day of our walk.
Hadrian’s Wall Path guidebook
Hadrian Wall Path by Gordon Simm and Jacquetta Megarry was an essential guidebook both planning and during our trip. This book has maps and detailed descriptions of the path for west to east walkers, but it also includes notes for those walking east to west. The trail is well signposted, but it’s easy to miss a turn if you aren’t expecting it, so a guidebook like this or a detailed map is essential.
Merrell Hiking Boots
These were my first hiking boots, and I used them every day except the last, which was mostly an urban paved path. They made it so much easier to walk on the hilly, sometimes muddy, sometimes rocky terrain. They’re waterproof which prevented our feet getting wet, but also makes them less breathable. Overall still recommended as the grass and ground was often wet on this trail even when it wasn’t raining.
Marmot Kompreeor Daypack
I initially had another daypack, but after trying Darrell’s I bought one the same as his. It’s very comfortable and lightweight, with enough room for all our gear.
We each bought a Northface raincoat before the trip and it kept us dry and was less awkward to walk with than a poncho. (my initial idea). These are high quality, a nice length, and they also kept us warm in the sometimes chilly drizzle.
We bought these inserts to make our boots more comfortable. They did that, but also it made mine a little more snug, which may have contributed to me getting blisters. I would recommend the inserts, but make sure your boots still fit with them in.
This was our first time using walking poles and I loved them. They made walking up and down the steep hills a lot more fun. I almost brought gloves to use with the poles, but the pole handles were cushioned so they weren’t needed.
We really appreciated having this survival blanket along, mainly as a super-lightweight waterproof ground cover. Sitting on wet grass was no problem with this blanket. This one is also covered with life-saving tips for almost every conceivable real emergency.
We bought these inexpensive 2 litre water bottles that we filled the first couple sunny days. We carried a little less on the remaining cooler days. Very simple but they did the trick. There are many versions that have a long straw so you can leave the bladder in your pack.
The rest of our walking gear:
- Daypack Rain Cover: Essential to keep your pack and contents dry. Our pack came with a waterproof cover as a bonus, but they usually have to be purchased separately.
- Gaiters: These are long or short cuffs that prevent rocks or water getting into the top of your boots, and also protect the bottom of your pants from getting wet. We didn’t use them, but wished we had on one after walking through some tall wet grass. The gaiters were inexpensive, and I’ll take on our next walk.
- Socks: We each bought lightweight merino wool socks, and a heavier pair with more cushioning. The heavier pair turned out to be too hot for the weather, so I would only use those in colder weather. Each day we brought an extra pair in case our feet got wet or sweaty.
- Hat: Essential for sun protection.
- Water resistant pants. I found lightweight water-resistant pants that I wore almost every day.
- Waterproof pants: We didn’t use these as they made us too hot.
- Map, compass, GPS or map on phone: A compass is easy to carry and essential. You can’t rely on your phone, so a map is essential. For us the maps and detailed instructions in the Hadrian’s Wall Path guidebook were all we needed. Most of the time the trail is well signposted, but it’s easy to miss a turn if you aren’t expecting it.
- FirstAid Kit: BandAids, Second Skin or Compeed to treat blisters, gauze, duct tape, needle and thread, antiseptic cream, painkillers, sunscreen, lip balm, scissors, antibacterial hand gel, safety pins.
- Ziplock bags: to keep things organized.
- Portable speaker: completely inessential, but kinda fun.
- Portable flashlight
- Granola bars