Walking in the Cotswolds is generally a pleasant experience. However, this 'green and pleasant land' did not get so green by sunshine alone! With this in mind, we wanted to offer a comprehensive guide to what you should be packing for your walking adventure in the Cotswolds.
You'll need two bags; a small day backpack for the essentials you want to take on the trail, and an overnight bag.
A good daypack should have a waist strap and ideally chest strap. Osprey packs are one of our favorites - www.ospreypacks.com
Your day pack is the bag you carry with you on your walk containing food, water, spare clothes, cameras etc. It can be anything from 15 - 40 liters capacity (around 30l is ideal for walking in the Cotswolds). It should be a rucksack with a waistband to help distribute the weight and support your posture and back, and if you can get one with a chest strap even better. A helpful extra is a built-in rain cover, although you can buy a waterproof liner bag to fit any rucksack too.
Your overnight bag should be a maximum of 20kg (for our baggage operators). Rucksacks are often more manageable for the baggage team to handle, although you can take any bag for this. Bear in mind you won't have access to this during the day.
Sensible footwear will get you through those (occasionally muddy) fields
Good walking boots are an absolute must. Don't try to walk in the Cotswolds in anything other than hiking boots or shoes. We would recommend boots for their extra ankle support and more protection from the elements, but for some people, walking shoes are more comfortable, and comfort is the end goal. If you are buying new boots, head to an excellent outdoor retailer who will give you advice, and make sure you gradually wear them in before starting the trail.
Side note: Socks!
There is no point spending money on boots and then not using the right socks. Wearing one pair of good quality walking socks is ideal, and take a minimum of two pairs on your trip and preferably three (you can hand-wash at your accommodations). Bridgedale is a brand we love, and opting for a merino wool sock is a great way to keep the feet warm, dry, and able to breathe. We also have some tips for avoiding blisters on the blog.
- Good walking boots/shoes (worn in)
- 3 x Pairs of good quality walking socks
- 3 x Baselayer tops - ideally thermal, and Merino Wool is once again excellent.
- 1 or 2 x Mid-layer tops (e.g. fleece)
- 2 x Trousers (or 1 x trousers 1 x shorts, but ideally zip-off trousers/shorts for the best of all worlds)
- Hat for warmth or shade
- Waterproof and breathable jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- 1 x extra warm layer. A natural or synthetic down vest or mid-layer is a great extra - easy to pack away, light to carry during the day, and perfect for keeping the chill at bay when you stop to rest or in the evening.
- Casual clothes & footwear for evenings. Remember you won't need much as you'll only be wearing it for a short time, perhaps for dinner. A couple of outfits and a comfortable lighter pair of shoes to give your feet a rest from the walking boots should suffice.
- Nightwear and underwear (a set of tights or "long johns" can be useful for under the trousers on colder days)
- Day rucksack + waterproof cover or liner bag
- Water bottle
- Sunglasses & suncream
- Toiletries (don’t forget your toothbrush!)
- Small first aid kit
- Prescribed medication
- Blister Plasters
- Insect repellent
- Antiseptic gel or wipes
- A little washing detergent for handwashing clothes
- Electrical socket adapter (non-UK walkers)
- Phone and charger
- Camera and charger
- Map and compass (maps provided by Macs Adventure)
- Book to read or Kindle,
- Notebook and pen
- Energy snacks
- Walking poles
- Extra rechargeable battery pack for your phone
- Neckwear/headscarf, for example, a “Buff.”
- Thermal or fleecy cold-weather trousers or tights
Macs Adventure will provide you with maps and guidebooks, which you should carry with you on the walk, and although the Cotswold trails are well-waymarked, a compass is a handy extra to help navigate "just in case" or if the cloud closes in. Always carry a well-charged mobile phone too, with which you can download the Macs App and use it to ensure you never get lost. Much of what you pack is down to personal preference, but it is always important to be prepared for every weather eventuality as even a completely clear forecast can change. Thankfully both waterproofs and sun protection are relatively light items to pack, so make sure you don’t forget either. Happy packing, and have a safe and fun adventure!