Any hiker with decent experience knows that each additional kilo in their backpack can make a huge difference while walking the trail.
It’s important to pack light, but also effectively. And at the end of the day it’s always a question of increasing comfort or reducing weight, and which of the two is more important for you.
Below you will find my packing list for this particular trail. While I do not mind wearing the same t-shirt all trail long (as long as it is from merino wool), I prefer to have some comfort especially when not walking (hence the mouth harp, books, and other stuff you’ll find on the list).
My backpack had about 11.5 kilos, with half kilo of food and with one liter of water. When heaviest, it had about 15-16 kilos, which is okay for me. Stefan likes to have more comfort on the trail (two shoes, pajamas, and other things :)), and though I carried the tent (we had just one, Stefan carried the stove and gas bottle), his backpack was almost always 1-2 kilos heavier.
Okay, let’s look at the list!
Section one: Packs and clothes
- 55 liter backpack Penguin
- Small ultralight pack/bag (for shopping, swimming, after-hike activities)
- Sleeping bag (to feel comfortable on SNP trail in summer, an ideal sleeping bag has comfort temperature around 7-9 degrees. I walked with ultralight sleeping bag with comfort temperature 20 degrees Celsius, but I would not recommend this option… paid my price on some chilly nights)
- Sleeping mat, ideally inflatable
- Trekking poles
- Hiking shoes (I walked in running shoes from Altra)
- Sandals (for after-hike activities, time spent inside, etc; I had Luna Sandals, which can be used also for hiking)
- Three pairs of socks (you can do easily with two, but my hiking companion Stefan had six pairs on him :))
- Three pieces of underwear (ideally from Merino wool, I used the one from Icebreaker)
- Shorts for hiking
- Long pants
- Shirt with short sleeves (once again I vouch for Merino, walked the trail in one from Ortovox)
- Shirt with long sleeves
- Primaloft/down jacket
- Headband (to protect us from cold)
- Brimmed hat (to protect us from heat and sun)
- Small rainproof jacket/poncho
Section two, Cosmetics and “first aid”
- Mini deodorant
- Solid shampoo, bio quality
- Toothpaste (quarter a tube)
- Small towel (actually I didn’t use this since they nearly always have towels in huts and B&B, and when you go to swim or wellness you can get a towel from them, so towel isn’t even necessary)
- Hand disinfection liquid
- Earplugs (very important!)
- Rubber band and a small comb (if you have long hair as I do, this helps and weights nothing…)
- Few plasters
- Needle (not for drugs, but it can come handy when you fall, or when a head of a tick remains in your skin and you want to take it out :))
- 8 ibuprofen pills (for emergency reasons only, such as toothache, luckily we didn’t use a single one)
- Toilet paper
- 6 clothes pegs (comes handy for drying clothes, but you can do also without them)
Section three, Gear for cooking/survival
- Swiss knife (includes scissors to cut nails)
- Plastic/compostable spoon (but a durable one)
- Stove + Gas bomb + cooking pot (you can’t carry a bomb on a plane so if you fly to Slovakia you’ll have to buy a gas bomb here, which isn’t a problem at all)
- Two 0.7 liter Nalgene flasks
- One 1.5 liter Nalgene flask
- Lighter and a pack of matches (it’s better to have both, so if one fails you can still cook in the wildreness)
Section four, Electronics and leisure
- Mobile phone
- Mobile phone charger (I originally had also power bank, but there were so many places to charge the phone that I didn’t use it once)
- iPad (can help a lot on a difficult day)
- Small headphones
- Headlamp (very important, not only for going to pee/wee in the night around the tent, but also for a possibility of a tough late-evening finish)
- Book(s) (I had three books with me, but I read a lot :))
- Small notepad + pen/pencil (if you like to keep journal)
- French harp (or other small musical instrument)
Section five, Documents and miscellaneous
- ID card
- Insurance card
- Credit/Debit card (there aren’t many ATMs on the way, but you can pay with a card in many places)
- Some cash (we have Euro in Slovakia)
- Few plastic bags (for carrying dirty/wet clothes, etc)
- B12 in tablets (very important for me with my almost vegan diet)
- 0.5-1kg food reserve (some energy/raw bars, rice/couscous/buckwheat, chocolate, a bit of salt, etc).
Walking in spring/autumn
This was my packing list for walking SNP trail in June/July. I know it looks like I had many items with me, but I did not struggle to fit it in a 55 liter backpack, and at the end it had less than 12 kilo.
If you decide to walk in April/May or September/early October, I’d recommend a better sleeping bag (comfort temperature zero), and some warmer clothes. Other than that I see no big difference in what I’d pack.
If you want, you can download my packing list in a simple, one page long PDF: Packing list for SNP trail.