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Preparing For A Big Walk: It's All in the Planning

We are 140 days out from our next big walking trip. Believe it our not; we have started packing. To be more accurate, we have started sorting & checking gear, compiling shopping lists, and lining up items. It's quite the endeavor. Checkout how our backpacking equipment has taken over one of our guest rooms. And this room will be solely dedicated to travel for the next few months. Not all of the gear pictured is headed to Europe. Over the weeks, and months ahead Roy and I will analyze the 'need' for each piece of gear. We are packing for both a cold, buggy Scottish climate & a July walk that covers a good portion of Portugal. We estimate that we will hike over 600 miles this summer. That is a conservative estimation too. If you have to carry something that far, you become a little more selective about necessity.

Keeping in mind that we have extreme weather situations to plan on, to complicate things more, we are packing to both wild camp and cook outdoors; as well as, stay in hotels and play tourists. The trick is space because everything we need for two and 1/2 months needs to fit on our backs. What will we wear to the London theater? What will we wear during a rainstorm on The West Highland Way in Scotland? What gear do we need for wild camping in Iceland versus day touring in Gibraltar? We will divide out the gear and collectively carry everything. There will be no room for extra stuff. There will not be room for 'it would be nice to have, but not essential' items. The problem is agreeing.

So, this is all part of the planning. It is also part of the fun! Could you just stuff and few things in a bag and take off? Yes, but you'll save a ton of money if you take some time to plan your gear. When we hiked the El Camino de Santiago, we learned how much you ditch on the "Way" when you begin walking and shaking down what you need vs want. I don't want to ditch expensive gear somewhere because we over-packed. Nor do I wish to purchase pricey gear somewhere because we didn't bring it. I have been there done that on previous trips.

This is how we do weekends this winter and spring. Planning it all over steamy cups of coffee, or a cold beer. Our dining room table can be found with a travel guidebook or map laid out, and well, our guest room looks like this.

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