What to Pack for a Walking Holiday in Ireland
While Ireland’s capital city of Dublin swells with travelers from around the world, trekkers easily escape the crowds and find peace on the trails across this deep green and pristine island. One of the many perks of a self-guided walking tour with Macs Adventure is that we take care of transferring your overnight bag for you. But regardless of your route – The Dingle Way, The Burren Way, The Kerry Way, or any of our other inn to inn tours around Ireland – there are a few essentials you’ll want wear and have on hand in your day pack as you trek around the Emerald Isle.
"There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing"
To begin, it is no secret that the weather is variable in Ireland. Though the temperatures generally remain even-keeled, precipitation and wind are unpredictable and an ever-present potential, which can make a hike feel especially cold. Luckily, it is the Irish weather that gives the landscape its famous rich, green color and makes the already dramatic landscape features extra impressive. And of course, any weather but sunshine will make the pint of beer or taste of whiskey that much more enjoyable each evening (or lunch!).
As they say in Ireland and the rest of the UK, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” We can help make sure that every traveler has what they need to fully enjoy and embrace both the sunshine & the rain while exploring the lovely Emerald Isle.
#macsmoment by Christine Harrold, Giants Causeway Ireland.
To begin, you will need a small day pack to carry all that you will need for a given day. This can be anywhere from 20-40 liters in size, so long as you can comfortably fit all of the following items for your days adventuring in the countryside. We recommend hip straps and a water reservoir. Be sure to wear it prior to travel so that you get used to it! It is also important to have a pack cover that fits your bag, but we still recommend a dry-bag within the pack to ensure your extra layers stay dry! Note, when packing each day, be sure to pack in reverse – i.e., the things you will need least or last go in first.
Let’s start with clothing – think layers. If we could sum up Ireland’s weather in one word, it would be “variable.” You may start your morning walking through the cool mist and by the afternoon the sun is shining and you’re working up a sweat. In this climate uncertainty, layers help to regulate your body temperature and ensure that you can combine clothing in a manner that is appropriate to your surroundings. Always use a non-cotton base layer, and then add/remove on top of that. We recommend a mid-layer (or two) and a vest, followed lastly by a hooded down/puffy jacket and a wind & rainproof top. Lastly, consider carrying an extra base layer each day in case you get wet and need to stop hiking.
As alluded to above, we recommend two jackets – one down layer for warmth, and a wind & waterproof layer as your outer most article. For the down layer, make sure it is packable and warm – light water resistance is a plus. For the outermost layer, the two most important factors are windproofing and above all, waterproofing. Rain coats lose their effectiveness over time, so test your layer before departing on the trip.
In variable weather, it is important to have two pairs of pants. First, your main trekking pants complete with pockets and tested comfort. Second, you will want an over-rain pant to put on if the weather goes south. It is important to keep the whole body as dry as possible, and rainproof pants are essential to this.
Shoes and Socks
Your hiking boots should provide ankle support and fit well – it is imperative that you wear your boots before the trip to ensure the fit and so that your feet get used to them. Almost important is your socks: bring 3-4 similar socks intended for hiking and take 1-2 extra with you each day. There is nothing more satisfying than changing into fresh socks for the last leg of your afternoon hike!