I always try to pack as light as possible for hiking adventures because it really does impact on your enjoyment if you are carrying too much. You can download my printable West Highland Way packing list here. This beautiful hiking route through the highlands of Scotland is incredible and if you are properly prepared you will get so much out of the experience.
My goal is to not carry more than 10kg, while being prepared for anything the mountains might throw at a hiker. I have invested in an ultra lightweight hiking rucksack but other than that my gear is fairly standard. Don’t be this guy with a massive backpack, your body will not thank you for it:
The most important thing to note when planning what to wear on the West Highland Way route is never wearing cotton clothing next to your skin (or at all) when hiking and to think about layering your clothing. I wear a base layer made of sports wicking fabric and then add layers of light fleece or merino, down and waterproof/windproof outer clothing as required.
It’s vital to look after your feet so good hiking boots are a must and you should spend some time walking in them before the trip. Socks are almost as important as the boots – I have great merino hiking socks that cushion and protect my feet (and don’t stink out the dorm room at the hostel). Carry a blister kit and use the plasters to treat any ‘hot spots’ before they develop into blisters. You can read my advice on packing a first aid kit here.
How much water to carry on the West Highland Way
Regarding water, it’s heavy to carry so remember there are water points to refill on the way – check with your accommodation. I’m a girl and peeing in the woods is something I try to minimise so I tend to make sure I hydrate at breakfast and at the end of the walking day. Remember to only sip small amounts of water at a time during the day so you don’t fill your bladder up to the point where you need to pee.
If you’re staying at hostels you will need a small towel and check whether they require you to bring your own sleeping sheet – many provide bed linen these days and you can sometimes hire a towel.
Food on the West Highland Way
I mostly carried lunch and snack food during the day to give me flexibility and save money but if you are not on a tight budget there are often nice places to stop and eat, which would cut down on what you are carrying in your pack.
Likewise, budget accommodation often has kitchen facilities to help you save money but I tended to splash out on a nice hot meal at a pub each night – I feel like I’ve earned it!
West Highland Way baggage transfer
I carried my own pack on the trail but I admit to feeling a bit envious of fellow walkers who were utilising a West Highland Way baggage transfer service. The left their bag by the door of their West Highland Way accommodation in the morning and when they reached their destination that afternoon it was waiting for them. You just need to carry a day pack with an extra warm layer and waterproofs, water and snacks, and of course your West Highland Way map. I also used the West Highland Way guidebook from Cicerone, which was very valuable both for guidance and background information.
I hope you found my tips on packing and the West Highland Way packing list helpful. You can read all about my experience on the West Highland Way in this post. If you have any questions feel free to drop them in the comments below. Have a great time on one of the United Kingdom’s best long distance hikes!
If you want to save this post for future reference why not pin it…