Treks – to carry your back pack or not ?

Our heart of Switzerland hike is carrying your stuff on your back – why?

So many women say they are put off by carrying their ruck sack and there is no doubt it can be a challenge. I was also hesitant!

I asked our Swiss Guide Claudia if we could have luggage transported. Of course you can she said. But it is so expensive as we are walking in remote areas where it is difficult to get cars. And Switzerland hasn’t yet got Sherpa’s, although we did help each other out with bag carrying!

The beauty is you can walk away from it all and get to stunning mountain locations. You also realise you do not need so much – you can be free and unhampered by stuff!

So for those intrepid trekkers ready to carry your ruck sack here are some tips..

First – find the right rucksack. Light and with lots of places to put things so you can find them. I hate rummaging around in rucksacks!

For my first Heart of Switzerland trek I bought an Ortovox 30 litre light weight rucksack Ortovox on Amazon  I could probably have managed with smaller but the trick is not to fill it.

It has a zip so you can open the ruck sack right up – easy to find things at the end of the day.

It also has pockets where you can put a phone charger and your phone, your snacks, your water, tissues …all the little things that often get lost at the bottom of rucksacks!

There are many brands and lots of people love Osprey Hiking Ruck Sacks

You can order online but we advise going into an outdoor shop to try it out. They can usually give you great advice.

Next make sure you have:

Comfy hiking boots that you have worn in. I love my Vivo Barefoot boots – not pretty but so comfortable from the moment I put them on. It is personal preference but I can say I have never had any sore feet, blisters or any problems.

TrksVivo Barefoot Women’s hiking boots

Walking Poles – there are some quite steep down hill and poles can help conserve energy and protect knees. If you don’t want to bring them as you travel it is possible to borrow or rent them.

Layers – very light merino wool is recommended. Apparently doesn’t smell and 2 very light t shirts will do you for the week. I like long sleeve merino for the evening – I love the Findra top’s as they are so soft on the skin. You can get them with our WalkingWomen discount FINDRA discount

My favourite top is the Fern Stripe Merino Base Layer and they often have a sale so take a look .. one long sleeve top in your pack will suffice.

merino fern stripe top Norway

Shorts or trousers – I walked in long shorts all week – you may want a pair of shorts and long trousers just in case.  I absolutely love my Rohan long shorts. I’d seen one of our WalkingWomen guests wearing them and she loved them too. Always good to go with recommendations I think. They are super light and hardwearing to last for ages. Rohan long shorts

Warmth in the evening – a light fleece is nice for the evenings. Some had this tied on their rucksacks or round their waist. Mine packed easily inside my rucksack and it wa nice to have. Mind you the restaurants are usually toasty in the mountain huts.

A light rain jacket is also useful just in case. I have a very light Rab one but there are lots that fold up exceptionally small. Rab Waterproof Jacket

Underwear – I took 2 pairs of each. You can wash and dry ( usually heaters around)

You then need some essentials. We do list them on our website in our kit list but no harm repeating WalkingWomen Kit List

 1 litre walking bottle – can be filled at many places as we hike. I prefer a bottle to the bag but again it is preference.

Wax wrap/cotton food bags or something reusable for lunch foods . It can be great to have a few nuts, dried fruit, energy bars ( someone had made their own) , chocolate or what ever is your favourite pick me up.

Some women bought the seat things (SIT MAT) for sitting on when we stopped for lunch – others just lay in the grass.

A sun hat, sun glasses and suncream – it can be very bright and sunny.

Mosquito repellent – incase there are any. Also stopping itching cream just incase.

A Swiss Army knife was useful – to open a bottle , cut fruit … we all bought one on our journey!

Toiletries – these can take up room so mini mini things recommended. We pass through villages and small towns so you can get more. No make up required!

Swiss AlpsA swim suit if you are shy – we did strip off and swim au natural. One of those swim towels that folds up minutely is handy.

Packable Towels

For the evenings it is nice to change out of your boots and sadly I hadn’t thought of this – everyone else had and had flip flops, slippers or very light shoes. Since then I bought a pair of the very very light Vivo Barefoot Light shoes

They now come everywhere with me for the evenings after hiking.

It is also nice to wear leggings or something comfy for dinner. A couple of the others in the group had a cotton summer dress that rolled up so small – they looked great at dinner! Others had track suit bottoms or leggings – the same every night.

Where we stayed provided bedding and towels so that frees up room. One place had lovely gingham duvets.

So just pack an adventurous sprit, a flexible mindset and a few important items and you are all set for a once in a  lifetime journey.

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