Okay, ladies, the wilderness is calling, and you’ve booked a multi-day trek! But what to pack?
Don’t panic, we’re here to help you and take you through all those nitty gritty details you may be struggling with. Packing for a multi-day trek is all about conserving weight and space.
Whilst multi-day treks can last anywhere from 3 days to 30, we have decided to base this list upon a 12-day trek. If you’re trekking for a shorter or longer period, then just do the math in terms of amount of clothes to bring.
Many of the world’s most popular treks such as Mount Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp and the Inca Trail, take hikers through a myriad of climate zones. Therefore, getting kitted out properly is essential to your enjoyment levels. We’ve seen so many hikes ruined by lack of preparation!
Remember, almost all treks that require porters have weight limits. This means that your pack needs to hold your bare essentials and no more. No frills in the wilderness ladies!
So here it is girls, the Ultimate Ladies Hiking Packing List for a Multi-Day Trek!
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Women's Hiking Clothing List
You’ll no doubt get a good sweat up at some point on your trek! Therefore, having a few trekking shirts is vital. These need to be of high-wicking material to allow moisture to easily pass through.
Lightweight and breathable is key. You’ll have to face the prospect of wearing the same shirt for a few days in a row, so always avoid cotton if you want people to come anywhere near you!
We recommend taking at least three shirts, possibly 4 depending on temperatures. Make sure one of these is long sleeve for those slightly colder days. Icebreaker makes great trekking shirts for women in particular.
Here are some great quality hiking shirts for women.
Trekking Shorts / Trousers
Quick-dry trekking trousers are the ideal hiking pants. You’ll need two pairs for a 12 day trek.
One of those pairs should be convertible, meaning they can be zipped off half way to form shorts. This saves money on buying shorts separately.
If you’re trekking in a warm environment, then both pairs should be convertible. Craghoppers make a great ladies pair.
Breathable Underwear (Undies And Bras)
Make sure your underwear is 100% merino wool. This material is by far the most comfortable and breathable.
A little tip here is to also bring a stash of slimline cotton panty liners – we suggest two per day. In terms of numbers for the merino wool underwear, we recommend 4 pairs. Icebreaker makes great ones!
Icebreaker are also top of our list for merino sports bras! They’re super comfortable and quick drying. We recommend taking two pairs.
Cold Weather Clothing
Regardless of where you’re trekking, you’re going to need to layer up. Weather patterns can change in the blink of an eye and as you ascend and descend in altitude you’ll want to layer up and down.
This is especially true in winter when temperatures often hit well below freezing!
We generally recommend three key layers when hiking a multi-day trek at altitude or in cold environments.
Whilst they’re not one of the sexiest things on the planet, your base layer will be one of the most important items in cold weather. The Icebreaker Womans Base Layer clings to you like a second skin and reduces airflow to keep your core temperature up.
Top tip though, it’s essential that your base layer is made of a high-wicking material such as merino wool. This allows moisture to pass through the material whilst still keeping you warm. This is great for obvious reasons as we don’t want to be stinking out the joint!
Base layers are generally not needed on warmer weather treks. However, even in hot climates, the weather can get pretty darn chilly at night!
We would recommend 2 pairs of base layers for a standard 12-day trek.
Here are some great quality base layers for women.
The second layer is often known as the fleece layer. Like your base layer, your fleece needs to allow great breathability. We see many girls turning up in hoodies. Whilst these are fine for everyday use, they hold sweat in and become smelly relatively quickly on a trek.
A specifically designed fleece like a merino jacket fleece will stay fresh far longer and keep your skin drier and warmer because of its high-wicking properties.
Here are some great quality fleece jackets for women.
The third layer is your outermost layer, known as your core or shell layer. This is generally a warm, durable and weatherproof style jacket.
There are tons of great jackets out there, but like many things, quality comes at a price. Personally, we recommend the North Face Nuptse Jacket for Women. This is a superb jacket that will literally last you years! Although slightly less versatile, the North Face Resolve is a more affordable option that is still super durable and warm.
Other brands to consider when purchasing your jacket are Mountain Hardware and Patagonia.
Here are some great quality hard shell jackets for women.
Down trousers or fleece lined tracksuit bottoms are great in colder climates. Whilst not the most fashionable items, these trousers will keep your legs super warm at altitude! Top tip – ski pants will often do the trick if you have a pair lying around! Helly Hansen and Trespass make great trousers for women.
Here are some great quality hard shell trousers for women.
If you make the brave call to trek in the monsoon period or somewhere where you know heavy rain is inevitable, you’ll need something that protects your entire body from the rain!
We suggest a full body, lightweight rain poncho. These can be stored up very small and packed away in an easily accessible bag pocket.
Here are some great quality rain ponchos.
For lower altitudes, you can use an athletic rain jacket as they are easier to trek in than full on third-layer winter jackets. We've reviewed the best rain jackets available this year, so if you are looking to see what else is available, check our full list here. Although it features male rain jackets, most of them available as women's jackets also.
Here are some great quality rain jackets for women.
Clothing To Avoid on the Trek
I admit, I wear skinny jeans almost every day, but there is no way I’m packing them for my trek! Jeans absorb water like a sponge and lets all the heat out of your body. Plus, they are super slow drying!
Like jeans, any cotton made clothing traps in moisture, stinks out your body and is incredibly slow drying!
Below, we have outlined the five key pieces of footwear that are essential to any multi-day trek. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for here, then check out these hiking boots' reviews for more tips and recommendations.
Hiking Boots For Women
High heels, flats, Jimmy Choo’s and sandals are definitely out. What’s needed instead is a solid pair of hiking boots. As you will be walking for long periods of time, your hiking boots are understandably one of the most important pieces of kit you bring with you.
However, choosing the right boots can often seem overwhelming, therefore, we have quickly outlined the key characteristics below to look out for in a great hiking boot.
No one wants blisters on the trail and getting the right size boot is one of the best lines of defense against them.
The best way to check in store is to push your feet all the way to the front of the boot and stick your index finger down behind your heel. If your finger fits snugly (not too tight or too loose), then that is a good indication that the boot is the right size for you.
In terms of functionality and quality, the key characteristics to look out for are as follows: Make sure your boot isn’t too heavy. Whilst it might feel fine on the shop room floor for a few minutes, try to imagine hiking in them for 6 hours. Will your calves and ankles get tired? Generally, full leather boots are basically a no go as their way too heavy. Partial leather can be okay.
Look out for boots with deep lugs on the soles and make sure the lugs have a high rubber content for durability. High top boots are great for ankle support but will obviously make the boot heavier, so just try them on and see how they feel.
The lacing system should incorporate speed hooks for quick lacing and strong ankle support. Last but not least, whatever you do, make sure the boot is waterproof!
Some of the best brands are Meindl, Salomon, Berghaus and Mammut.
Always remember to break in your trekking boots properly before starting your multi-day trek! We suggest taking at least three long day treks prior to beginning your trek.
Here are some great quality hiking boots for women.
Trekking Trainers for Camp
Hiking boots are great for your day trekking, but when you arrive in camp for the evening, you’ll want something slightly more light and comfortable to wear around. We suggest some durable trekking trainers or some basic lightweight trekking shoes.
Here are some great trekking trainers for women.
Trekking Sandals for Women
For those warmer days when you'd like your feet to breathe a little, choose some durable trekking sandals with socks (style icon!).
Here are some great quality trekking sandals for women.
Hiking socks are a must. Remember though, no cotton! Otherwise, you’ll find you have blisters quicker than you can think! You’ll need at least 5 pairs of good quality, high-wicking trekking socks.
Here are some great quality trekking socks for women.
If you’re on a colder trek or at high altitude, you’ll need some thermal socks to keep your feet warm. Smartwool make great pairs that are super warm and comfortable.
Make sure any thermal socks you purchase have flat seems as raised seems will quickly irritate your feet. Other recommended brands for women are Wigwam and Bridgedale.
Here are some great quality thermal socks for women.
If you are planning a trek in a destination that gets lots of rain or if you plan to go during a rainy season, then keeping your feet dry is important. It may be worth packing a pair or two of waterproof socks. We find that DexSheel Ultralite socks do the job and don't cost a fortune!
Here are some great quality waterproof socks for women.
Gaiters, whilst not fashion statements, are great in protecting your calves down to your boots from rain, mud and dust. There are loads of gaiters out there on the market but almost all do the exact same thing, therefore, we’d recommend purchasing a mid-range gaiter, like Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain High Gaiters for Women.
Here are some great quality gaiters for women.
Gloves and Trekking Poles
Keeping all your extremities warm during a multi-day trek is vital and this is certainly true of your hands. Even in hotter climates like Tanzania, gloves are still needed at night and during the colder months. The two types of loves needed are listed below.
These need to be durable, warm and waterproof. The Dakine Sequoia gloves are a great option for women.
Here are some great quality outer gloves for women.
Line your base layer clothing, your inner gloves need to be extremely breathable and quick-drying. A lightweight fleece material is essential for this. Dakine and Karrimor make great inner gloves.
Here are some great quality inner gloves for women.
They may not look like much, but a good set of trekking poles will greatly reduce the stress on your joints, particularly when descending. Researchers believe trekking poles take up to 20% of the stress off your joints! When purchasing trekking poles look for lightweight adjustable ones that are easy to store away.
Here are some great quality trekking poles.
No matter where you trek, the sun is almost certainly going to appear. Therefore, you will need to protect your head and face from the sun’s heat. This is particularly important in hot climates where sun stroke can be a major factor. Your hat should be lightweight, breathable and easily folded and packed away.
You should also bring SPF30+ sunscreen to avoid getting your face burned.
Beanie / Head Band
Beanies are great for high altitude or cold weather treks. They can also come in useful at night if your sleeping bag isn’t quite keeping your head warm. North Face and Berghaus make excellent beanies and head bands.
UV intensity is often very high when trekking, particularly at high altitude and snowy climates, like the Himalayas. We suggest taking a pair of 100% UV protection sunglasses. The leading brand in trekking sunglasses is Julbo, but you can check our latest reviews on other major sunglasses' brands. Vermont, Blackfin or Oakley are all great options too.
Here are some great quality sunglasses for women.
Trekking at night should be avoided because of dangerous footing, however, sometimes it cannot be helped such as during summit night on Kilimanjaro. To avoid any accidents, the best option for trekkers is a headlamp.
Not only are headlamps useful when trekking, but they’re also great for getting around camp at night, especially for midnight toilet breaks! Headlamps like the Petzl Tikka are our top recommendation, but here are some other headlamp brands that you might find just as practical for yourself.
Here are some great quality headlamps.
A warm and comfortable sleeping bag is crucial. Mountainous treks are often cold at night and staying warm is vitally important. Unless trekking in a very warm climate, we always suggest buying a Western Mountaineerin duck or goose down sleeping bag. You can see a number of reviewed sleeping bags here.
However, these are more expensive than synthetic sleeping bags and you will need to take this into account when deciding.
If you do choose a synthetic option, make sure it has a high enough warmth rating for the particular area you will be trekking in. The North Face Cat's Meow would do the job. We generally find the mummy shaped sleeping bags to be the best for comfort and insulation.
A sleeping bag with a two-way zipper will also add greater insulation. Fantastic mummy shaped sleeping bags include the Brooks Range, Feathered Friends and Kelty Tuck.
Additionally, if your tour operator doesn't provide these for the trek, you could pick a sleeping pad from our reviews also.
Ear Plugs and Inflatable Pillows
The last thing you need after a long day's hike is to be kept at wake at night by other trekkers and unfamiliar noises. Therefore, we strongly recommend bringing a set of ear plugs for sleeping during the trek.
If you really are a light sleeper and need the extra comfort, there is the option to bring an inflatable pillow. However, this will reduce space in your luggage, even when deflated and folded away.
What bag you choose to bring and what size will very much depend upon what trek you are doing. If you plan on trekking with an agency who provide porters, then your best option is to bring a good sized duffel bag.
Porters actually prefer carrying duffel bags to backpacks as they carry the bags on their heads! The ideal duffel bag will be made from a laminate material and will of course be waterproof.
Remember though, don’t get the biggest duffel bag possible as you’ll still be lugging it to and from the airport/hotel. For women, we suggest a 60-90L duffel bag. You can see the full list of the best duffels in the market here.
Remember to also bring a small lock to keep your duffel bag secure.
Here are some great quality duffel bags.
Rucksack / Backpack
If you’re trekking without an agency (solo), then you need to take a smaller bag that fits securely on your back. A 50-65L rucksack should be plenty.
A mountain style backpack is the best option as these will have easy access opening tops and be made with durable material. The Black Diamond backpack for women is an excellent option.
Here are some great quality rucksacks/backpacks.
If you have a porter carrying your main luggage, you’ll still want a small daypack to chuck all your essentials in like water, sunscreen, hat etc. Make sure your pack has compression straps to help reduce the stress on your back.
A good daypack will have plenty of pockets, including good sized side pockets for your water bottle. The Osprey Talon is our recommendation of choice as well as the REI Co-Op Flash 18 if you're hiking on a budget. But here are more day packs for you to choose from.
Here some great quality daypacks.
The same as you might need waterproof socks, having a small dry bag is not a bad idea when going on any hiking adventure. A dry bag is a good way to keep valuables dry and secure.
Here are some great quality dry bags.
Pack Rain Cover
We don’t want our personal items getting wet, do we?
A rain cover for your backpack is easy to stow away and won’t let you down in the rain. Make sure to purchase one that fits though!
Here are some great quality rain covers for backpacks.
Dehydration is always an important issue when trekking and can often be very dangerous. Keeping well hydrated is super important and women should look to drink between 2 and 3 litres per day whilst on the trail.
Depending on the size of your backpack, you should take two 1L water bottles or a 2L like the CamelBak Crux Reservoir, which is a great option. Here are some more reliable hydration packs for your trek.
Here are some great quality hydration packs.
A small travel towel is always useful for drying off after a quick clean or dip in the river. Discovery and LifeVenture both make great quick-drying trekking towels.
Here are some great quality trekking towels.
You will never want to forget the incredible scenery and vistas that you witness on your trek. Therefore, we always advise trekkers to take a photo camera or a video camera with them.
Make sure your camera is lightweight and has a long-lasting battery! We've put together a list of our favorite hiking cameras currently available to help you choose the best one.
For videos, there is nothing better for trekking than the GoPro. Simply awesome versatility and video resolution.
Books / Kindle
If you’re a big reader, then definitely bring some reading material. We always suggest a Kindle for obvious space saving reasons. Why not get yourself in the trekking mood with a book like 'Into Thin Air' by Jon Krakauer!
Here is our list of great reads for Nepal and Aconcagua.
Waterproof Zip Bags
Waterproof Zip bags are great for keeping your essential items dry such as wallet, passport, camera etc.
Here are some great quality waterproof zip/stasher bags.
Blisters are often unavoidable, and you’ll need to bring some good blister patches and duct tape on the off chance.
Here are some great quality blister treatment packs.
Playing Cards and Other Small Details
A game of cards with your fellow trekkers never hurt anyone. There is zero TV in the wilderness, so get ready for some games of snap.
Don't forget to bring small locks to keep your bags secure and locked.
Medication And Personal Gear
Basic First Aid Kit
This is particularly important if you’re trekking without a guide. When trekking with an agency, your guide will always have a first aid kit on hand.
The mountains and wilderness can often be dangerous and having a first aid kit is critically important. Make sure you get a compact first aid kit that can be packed away easily.
Here are some great quality first aid kits.
Water Purification Tablets And Pens
In many countries, the water you drink will need to be filtered. Water purification tablets are the best and easiest option when trekking. Always remember to check carefully how many tablets are needed per volume of water.
We suggest taking 100 tablets to be on the safe side. The alternative is a UV water purifier such as SteriPEN Adventure.
Here are some great quality water purification tablets.
Isotonic Drinks (Powder and Tablets)
If you’re not used to trekking, then a multi-day trek can be tough. Therefore, drinking energy replacement drinks is a great way to keep up your energy on the trail.
Here are some great quality isotonic drinks.
For headaches and general aches and pains, Paracetamol is generally recommended. Take a bit more than you think is enough as headaches from exhaustion might be more persistent and require more medication.
Also remember to take Imodium as Delhi Belly is by no means restricted to Delhi!
Always remember to use purified water to brush your teeth with! We always advise bringing at least two rolls of toilet paper.
These can usually be purchased near your trek, however, there is no guarantee of quality.
If you’re not completely comfortable using a Shewee, then we advise not bringing one. If you want to use one, we recommend getting it well in advance to, well, practice using it. Because unless you’re a pro with one, accidents can easily happen and you may find yourself walking along with soaked trousers and underwear (not a pleasant thought!).
Therefore, you may need to get to grips with the idea that you will have to rough it behind a bush with your pants down if you find yourself busting during the day! At least you’ll be getting a good squat workout.
Here are some great quality peeing accessories.
Swiss Army Knife
Usually the domain of a man, there is no reason why a lady shouldn’t carry a Swiss Army Knife for those unexpected camping and hiking needs.
Here are some great quality Swiss Army knives.
Diamox is used to combat the effects of altitude sickness and should only be taken when trekking to high altitudes. It is by no means essential, and you should always consult with your doctor before taking it.
Please Note: Diamox is not a cure. The only sure way of curing Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is to descend. For more information on Diamox, please click here.
Sunscreen And Lip Balm
Sunscreen is important for obvious reasons, particularly at altitude! Make sure you purchase at least 30SPF.
Some sunscreens can also double as a lip balm, but you might wish to get a separate UV lip balm to keep in your pocket at all times to prevent drying lips.
Here are some great quality lip balms.
Hand Sanitiser is great for keeping hands clean after a long day trekking.
Here is some great quality hand sanitiser.
Last but not least are baby or wet wipes. Showers are often not common when trekking and wet wipes come in super handy when this is the case. They provide an easy and fast way of cleaning.
To avoid polluting the environment while enjoying pure nature, we suggest collecting them and asking your porters to burn them while making dinners or bringing them back to dispose of them.
Here are some great quality wet wipes.
If you have any further questions, please just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Thank you and happy trekking ladies!
For more packing lists, see our hiking resources page or choose from one of our popular gear lists below: