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 make great trekking shirts for woman.
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!
Icebreaker make a great woman's base layer. We would recommend 2 pairs for a standard 12 day trek.
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.
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 woman.
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.
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 woman.
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!
Clothing To Avoid On The Trek
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 Salomon 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 to look out for in a great hiking boot.
The first thing to get right is the size. 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 No products found., 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.
Trekking Trainers For Camp
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.
Make sure any thermal socks you purchase have flat seems as raised seems will quickly irritate your feet. Other recommended brands for woman are Wigwam and Bridgedale.
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.
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.
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. Here are some great woman’s trekking hats, like Wide Brim Sun Hat.
You should also bring SPF30+ sunscreen to avoid getting your face burned.
Beanie / Head Band
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! Petzl headlamps are our top recommendation, but here are some other headlamp brands that you might find just as practical for yourself.
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. 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.
Inflatable Pillow And Ear Plugs
The last thing you need after a long days 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 for the trek.
If you really are a light sleeper and need the extra comfort, there is the option to bring and inflatable pillow for trekking and inflatable pillow for trekking[/easyazon_link]. 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 woman we suggest a 60-90L duffel bag. The TYTN Duffel Bag could be a good option as its pretty light for its size. It also can work as a backpack because its got two additional straps. However, 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.
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. Black Diamond backpack for women is an excellent option.
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. But here are more day packs for you to choose from.
Pack Rain Cover
Dehydration is always an important issue when trekking and can often be very dangerous. Keeping well hydrated is super important and woman should look to drink between 2 and 3 litres per day whilst on the trail.
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.
Waterproof Zip Bags
Playing Cards And Other Small Details
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.
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.
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 isotonic tablet drinks we recommend.
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, accident 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…
Swiss Army Knife
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 Lipbalm
Last but not least are Baby 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 information on packing lists and useful websites, please see: