What to Take on a Trail: For Beginners

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What to Take on a Trail: For Beginners

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One of the most common problems beginners on the Great South West Path make is take too much. It’s is a 1000 km trail – every ounce you don’t need is sabotaging your chances of reaching the end.

So, here I what you actually need to take on the trail:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Good Clothes
  • Key items


hiking water

You already know you will need to drink a lot of water. The main question is how much water should you take. A full bottle adds a substantial weight, but you don’t want to run out of water. On the Great South West you will have plenty of opportunities to refill your empty bottle. So, around 1 liter bottle should be enough.


What kind of you should bring with yourself? Bring a bit of nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, dry cereal. Occasionally you will want a warm meal which you can get from street vendors across the trail. But is will be a rather rare opportunity – keep it in mind.

hiking food

On the same not, when you enter a town, stock up on a bit of fruit, as well – just for the change of texture in your mouth. You’d be surprised how motivating it can sometimes be.

As far as what you should avoid is mostly canned food. It’s not only less nutritious for you but also much heavier to carry around.

Good clothes

hiking clothes

If you are interested in taking the trail, invest in lightweight, windproof clothes and shoes. It will make a massive difference. We all know how much it rains in the South West. But the closer you are to the coast, the harder the wind is to endure, too.

So, see what the reviews have to say and pick something that fits your budget.

Essentials v. the smartphone

Last, but it is still incredibly important is your smartphone. Some will take the trail believing that all they need is smartphone. It has a GPS, a flashlight, various tools for measurement and identification. But how much do you trust your phone? Even if you believe that discharging is not a possibility. What if it breaks, falls into a pond or is stolen?

We are not saying it will happen, but just in case, make sure you do have a compass and a flashlight with you at all times. Phones are handy but, again, you are probably going on the trail not to be on your phone all day, right?

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