A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: into-thin-air

"Tips" for Long Distance Walking

Tips on Footwear - Choosing the correct option for your walk

Choosing the correct footwear is always a slightly contentious issue as there are many different views on what is “Correct” so the following “Tip” is what I have learnt myself, this based on my own long distance walking experiences over the last 25 years.

The first thing people have to decide is whether to walk in boots or some kind of training shoe (Trail-Runner) or Trekking Sandals
Over the years I have tried all of the above and, for me, personally, I would now opt for boots. Specifically, “Gortex” fabric type boots as these tend to be lighter than leather’s, need very little maintenance and, in hot dry weather, your feet can breath, and in wet weather, your feet remain dry (When walking in wet weather I also wear gaiters to prevent my socks getting wet and the water then wicking down them to give me wet feet)
Whereas with sandals, stones keep getting into them and I have to keep stopping to remove them and I don’t find that trainers give me enough support nor keep my feet dry in times of rain (Or snow).

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Above photo shows Rob’s (Author) boots 300 miles into a 1,000 mile walk

So – Once you have a good idea on what sort of footwear is going to suit your own walk, the next thing is to go out and buy them. Here I would recommend that you go to a reputable outdoor footwear shop where you can try on lots of different options, some places even have the facility of measuring your feet, which isn’t totally necessary, but it can save time ;-)
Don’t be too hung up on a particular make, brand or model, it is the size and fit that are the important things, they shouldn’t be too tight and nip any part of your foot, but neither should they be too big letting your foot wobble around insider them, there should be a little room between the tips of your toes and the front of the inside of the boot so that your toes don’t touch when the boot is laced up, this will help prevent then hitting the front of the boot on downhill sections which would cause blistering.
There shouldn’t be any movement with your heal at the back of the boot, this should be a snug fit at the rear with no movement, as this would again cause blisters.
You should go shopping for your footwear being prepared to try lots of different pairs of boots until you find a pair that fit you correctly, and once you have found them, keep them on for a little while and walk around the shop in them to be as certain as you can be of the fit.

Another thing that is well worth mentioning is socks – I used a combination of Bridgedale liners and Thulo outers for many years, then on my Big 1,000 mile walk, I was given some appropriately named 1,000 Miler’s and I have to say that there were fantastic as I walked my 1,000 miles and didn’t get a single blister. But like boots, different sock combinations suit different people, so getting the right one for you might take a little trial and error, but never-the-less, you should make sure that you are wearing the same sock(s) when shopping for your boots as you will when you will be when walking.

I Hope that the above “Tip” helps you with deciding what sort of footwear (Including your sock(s)) that you will buy, but Finally, DO make sure that you thoroughly test them before heading off on your walk – And test them wearing the same rucksack that you will be using as the weight that you will carry will also be a factor.

Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking
Rob

Posted by into-thin-air 02:47 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged walking trekking socks kit boots footwear Comments (1)

First of all, how to look after your Rucksack

If you are travelling Anywhere and using a Rucksack as your luggage then I would Strongly recommend that you use some form of Rucksack Protector !!

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This tip is from my own personal experience, as I have had Big Problems having my Rucksack damaged or even destroyed by airlines, particularly on Airport Carousels,
What can happen is that one of the straps can drop in-between the lats on the moving Carousel and then as your Rucksack goes around a corner, the strap gets ripped off, I lost the entire back and carrying system from one of my rucksacks !! You Definitely don't want this to happen, Especially on the way out to start a walking holiday !!
As The Rucksack Pro-Tector has the second function as a water-resistant liner for your rucksack. It is a particularly useful piece of kit for Camino walking, Other rucksack protectors leave you with the problem of having to carry it around with you for the walk with no useful function !!
I have tried many of the Rucksack Protectors that are available on the market and was disappointed with how they performed, So after having many problems with these decided to design and have my own ethically manufactured in Nepal
Further details about this are written up on
So, Obviously my own recommendation would be to get your Rucksack / Backpack Protector from us :-).

Posted by into-thin-air 09:00 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged security backpacking airports airlines transit backpacks rucksacks Comments (0)

Next – Choosing a Rucksack

I can’t overemphasize the importance of having a good fitting, well packed rucksack and this “Tip” is to try to explain the best way of achieving this – Based on my own experiences of around 25 years of Long Distance walking, Trekking in Nepal and Camino Walking

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First of all, choosing your rucksack.
Rucksacks come in many different shapes and sizes, so you need to have an idea of the volume of the equipment that you are going to carry, I have never seen any reason for buying an overly small rucksack, and then strapping extra items on the outside (Tents and Carry- Mats being the exception to this “rule”).
There are Rucksacks specifically designed for females (After all, Females and Males differ in shape so it’s Definitely not a “One Size Fits All”.
Many rucksacks have double entries and /or are compartmentalised, so these can be useful as you can keep lighter things like your sleeping bag in the bottom section, while still having it easily accessible at the end of a day’s walking without having to unpack the rest of your rucksack to get at it. The main downside is that you then can’t use a one piece rucksack liner.
Modern Rucksacks have several adjusting points so that you raise and lower the ride height, Lengthen and Shorten the shoulder straps, waist belt and chest strap, as well as adjustments to tension the sides to bring the bottom of the rucksack into the waist belt and also an adjustment to bring the top of the rucksack in towards your back. This all might sound a little confusing at first, so if you are at all unsure then it is worthwhile buying your rucksack from a reputable outdoor shop as then the assistant can explain what all the adjustments do as well as roughly fit your chosen back to your own body.

Posted by into-thin-air 08:55 Archived in Spain Tagged security backpacking airports airlines transit backpacks rucksacks Comments (2)

Packing your Rucksack

The first thing to mention is that rucksacks aren’t waterproof, so you either need to use some kind of liner, or pack things into waterproof bags before putting them into your rucksack (Some rucksacks now have rain covers and these are useful as they keep the outside of your rucksack reasonably dry, but rain still gets down the back of them, so you should still take the additional measures to help ensure that your kit is dry at the end of your days walking, no matter what the weather has thrown at you)
Personally I use the Rucksack Pro-Tector as apart from it protecting your rucksack on the journey to the starting point of your walk, it has valuable second function as a water resistant liner for the inside of your pack.

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The most common myth is that you pack your heaviest items into the bottom of your rucksack
So – Ideally you want have light items in the bottom, the heaviest items in the middle and light items on the top. The reason for this is that the centre of balance of your rucksack will reflect the centre of balance of your body – If heavy items are packed in the bottom, this pulls your rucksack down and increases the weight on your waist strap, therefore you have to keep this overly tight to prevent the rucksack slipping down and when this happens it increases the weight on your shoulder straps causing you sore shoulders as well as an increased risk of back pain.
You also want to ensure that you distribute the weight evenly left and right inside your rucksack, therefore keeping it evenly balanced – You would be surprised at the number of walkers that I have seen wearing rucksacks tilted over to one side, this putting extra strain on one side of the body and again increasing the risks of back and shoulder pain.
Finally, once your rucksack is fully packed, you then need to fine tune the adjustments.
Before putting the rucksack on, ensure that all the compartments are buckled / zipped up and compression straps are adequately tensioned
Then put your rucksack on - The waist strap needs to be snug enough so that it is carrying the bulk of the weight of the rucksack, the shoulder straps need to be reasonably snug, but not over tight so that there is a slight gap when standing between the shoulder strap and the top ofyour shoulders, you should also pull your chest strap reasonably tight to help prevent any movement. The bottom tension adjusters should be pulled in evenly so that your rucksack is a snug fit to the waste strap and the top tension adjuster should be pulled in so that the rucksack is parallel to your body when standing upright.
As you start to walk, you will no doubt find that small adjustments are needed, getting the ride height takes a little bit of doing, there isn’t a simple answer to this but personally, I find that a higher ride height is more comfortable than a lower one
When ascending a big hill, it is worthwhile loosening the top tension adjusters and letting the rucksack fall back a centimetre or two as we naturally tend to lean forwards when going uphill, so by loosening them off a little it keeps your rucksack upright.

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I Hope that you find the above info useful - It might well sound like you have an awful lot to do before even taking the first steps of your walk, but I would Definitely Recommend that you choose the right rucksack and pack it carefully as an ill fitting rucksack is something that can Ruin an otherwise wonderful trekking experience

Posted by into-thin-air 08:50 Archived in India Tagged security backpacking airports airlines transit backpacks rucksacks Comments (0)

Finally – What to put inside it.

"A Walker with happy Feet is a Happy Walker"

My advice when putting your kit list together for a long distance walks (Or even just a weekend walk) is to pack as light as possible because everything you put inside will ad to the weight and that weight then has to be transmitted through your feet – and one thing I can say in all certainty is that “A Walker with happy Feet is a Happy Walker”

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Rucksack
Rucksack Pro-Tector (To get your rucksack to your destination safely, then to use as a water resistant liner when walking)
Thurlo outer socks x 2
Bridgedale inner sock x 2
Gloves (Depending on walk and season)
Head-band ?
Sun-hat
Long Sleeved Thermal T-shirt x 1
Short Sleeved (None cotton) T-shirt x 2
Trekking Boxers x 2
Towel (Compact / travel)
Wash Gear (Compact)
Sun Block and Lip Salve
Sandals (Lightweight)
Shorts x 1
Fleece jumper
Single shell Gortex Rain Jacket
Gaiters
First Aid pack + Any extra medication
Camera / Phone + Charger & spare batteries
Water Bottle
Pocket knife
Head-Torch
Trekking Pole(s)
Maps and Guide Book
Glasses (If necessary)
in-soles & ankle / knee supports (If necessary)

Pro-Tector Travel Pouch (Can be worn under rucksack my day and if necessary, in bed at night)
E111
Passport
Pilgrims Passport (For Camino walking)
Air / Train / Bus-Tickets
Money / Euro's/ Credit card / Debit card
Insurance documentation
Address book
Pen

Wear
Boots (Lightweight fabric Gortex type are my own preference)
1000 Miler Socks
Walking Trousers
Wick-Away T-shirt (And either rain jacket or fleece jumper form packing list if necessary)

Links to my own Camino’s

Posted by into-thin-air 08:45 Archived in Spain Tagged security backpacking airports airlines transit backpacks rucksacks Comments (0)

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