It is recommended that hikers travel with only essential items for personal safety. When hiking longer distances, we recommend storing unnecessary luggage at your hotel.
We encourage you to purchase a lightweight, comfortable backpack that will provide you with free movement without pain or irritation of your muscles and joints. An appropriate backpack should release the weight from your back and shoulders to more evenly distribute it throughout your hips and legs. Prior to selecting a multi-day backpacking pack, we suggest getting fitted at a professional gear store.
The shoes you choose to walk in should be well broken in, comfortable, and well-fitted, or you may experience painful blisters. Clothing should be modest for certain parts of the trail, high quality, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking to provide the most comfort. Be sure to check the weather forecasts for the duration of your trek and bring the necessary weather gear.
Consider bringing lightweight, calorie-dense, and electrolyte-filled (salts and sugars) snacks and meals; load up on proteins and carbohydrates.
REI’s Expert Advice web site contains a wide range of other suggestions, tutorials, and articles from outdoor experts on gear selection and packing.
MORE ON FOOTWEAR
We do not suggest choosing inexpensive footwear over quality, invested footwear; you will benefit from visiting a quality gear store to be fitted by a professional. Your shoes should have a stiff sole and ankle support, such as light hiking boots or trail running shoes, and they should be comfortable. We recommend trying on the shoes you plan to hike in later in the day after walking a few miles, as your feet tend to swell during the day and after walking longer distances. Try to wear the same socks with your footwear when trying on the shoes. All of this preparation will contribute to your overall comfort on the trail.
No matter the type of shoe you choose, they should be thoroughly broken in, and we recommend you hike multiple trails while wearing them with a backpack similar to what you will carry on the trail. This should give you a good idea of how you will feel on the trail and an opportunity to deal with any issues with blisters, discomfort, etc. Socks made of merino wool and synthetic materials wick sweat better than cotton socks, and if you have a history of blister development, we suggest wearing a thin liner sock underneath your regular hiking socks. You can also avoid blister development by keeping your feet clean and dry (prevent chafing with baby powder), stopping often on the trail to air out feet, and bringing comfortable sandals or flip-flops for evenings. We recommend not wearing waterproof boots or shoes, as these are not necessary and may contribute to blister development by preventing airflow.