Finalising your packing list for the Wicklow Way? Here is some detail on what’s needed. You can download my Ultimate Wicklow Way Packing List at the end of this article
What to Wear
- Walking Socks
- Hiking Boots
- Hiking Trousers
- Waterproof jacket/top
- Cap or Wooly Hat
Everybody knows that good hiking boots are very important. I have a pair of Helly Hansen Rapide Mid HTXP Leather Hiking Boots that I got for when I climbed Kilimanjaro in 2014. These are really good quality boots. Consequently, six years later they are still going strong and utterly dependable.
However, what not everyone knows is the importance of the socks inside the boots. For the Wicklow Way, I alternated between 1,000 mile and Nike running socks. I had no blisters after doing 150km in 6 days and I put that down to the socks and footwear that I used.
For the hiking trousers, preferably these will be waterproof. If not, you will need to pack some overtrousers in your day bag. Rain is never far away in Ireland so waterproofs are a must.
I did the Wicklow Way in early September and was comfortable enough wearing just a T-Shirt and jacket on the top half of my body. Other layers may be needed depending on individual preferences and the time of the year.
Keep Track and Stay Safe
I usually wear a fitbit anyway but I especially like taking it with me doing long walks. In short, the statistics make for interesting reading. My highest step count from the Wicklow Way was 41,000 in one day.
There is a fair deal of road walking on the Wicklow Way and as such I would recommend some sort of high visibility clothing to make sure you can be seen by cars on the road. With such changeable weather in Ireland this can be difficult as you are taking on and off layers on a regular basis. As such, my advice would be for a high-vis covering for your backpack.
I usually make a call in the morning about whether a cap or wooly hat would be most suitable for my head.
Day Bag Packing List for the Wicklow Way
- Water Bottle
- Power Bar
- Warm Top
- Spare Contact Lenses
- Small First Aid Kit
- Face Mask
- Hand Sanitiser
- Sun cream (just in case)
I use a Karrimor X Lite 15L Running Backpack when I’m out walking. It’s a (very) small lightweight bag but has lots of pouches and holding areas so I can usually manage to fit everything in. When carrying a bag for such long stretches it’s important to have one with both hip and shoulder clips/straps.
I usually brought sandwiches, some fruit and chocolate with me each day. I would eat these either all at lunch or spread the fruit and chocolate out as snacks throughout the rest of the day. Water is very important. I brought 1.5L of water each day. This was enough for me.
I use the Runkeeper App to track my distance, pace and elevation. While this app is really handy, it can be a huge drain on your phone’s battery. As such, I always bring a fully charged power bar in case it’s needed. I used mine on two different days on the Wicklow Way.
Phone coverage is pretty good on the Wicklow Way. Calls to emergency services should work in the vast majority of places. In fact, you probably will have internet reception available on your phone for most parts also.
Layers are important so I try and keep a nice fleecy top in my bag.
What you Shouldn’t Forget
Firstly, tissues generally can come in handy. (Just to note, toilet facilities are pretty much non existent on the Wicklow Way).
No packing list for the Wicklow Way would be complete without first aid. I had insect repellent, painkillers, antihistamines, blister patches and some plasters in a plastic baggie in a pouch in my bag.
My one big first aid tip is to bring vaseline. The Wicklow Way is 127km long. You are going to be doing a lot of walking. Chaffing can happen. Vaseline will a) help and b) prevent this from happening.
In addition, I also kept any of my electrical items in this plastic covering. This kept things nice and waterproof.
Face Masks and Hand Sanitisers were packed as Covid precautions. Neither were generally needed along the Wicklow Way. I did use the hand sanitiser after opening and closing gates (especially in busier parts).
Larger Bag Packing List for the Wicklow Way
- Comfortable Runners
- Spare Walking Socks
- Normal socks
- Spare Underwear
- Spare Hiking Trousers
- Phone Charger
- Fitbit Charger
- Normal Trousers
- Spare T-Shirts
I used a luggage transfer service for my trip on the Wicklow Way. This makes things a lot easier for my Wicklow Way Packing List. I was not carrying a big load during my walks. For this bigger bag, I included spares of the walking items as required (T-Shirts, walking socks etc.) and whatever clothes I needed for the evenings after completing the walk.
How often do you change Hiking Clothes?
In reality, for through hikes of 6 days, a lot of people would bring very little spare changes of hiking clothes if they were camping out. The less spares you bring the less you have to carry being the mantra.
For my version of the Wicklow Way, I was staying indoors each night and had luggage transfers organised. Therefore I could be a lot easier on myself. For example I brought a change of walking socks for each day, two pairs of walking trousers and a change of t-shirt for everyday also. In other words, I definitely went easy on myself!!!
Items not included
Certainly it is a good idea to include a compass and map in your packing list for the Wicklow Way. In saying that, I didn’t and survived ok. However, if you don’t bring a physical map then you should preload/save the necessary google maps version so that it is available offline on your phone.
The Wicklow Way is marked out very well though. It is marked with a combination of brown signposts and posts with yellow walker markers and directional arrows. They are placed only at junctions and supposedly on longer straight sections at 500m intervals (note this is the case at the northern end of the trail but the posts do appear a little less often as you move southwards). There are a limited number of information boards also.
So if you do make a wrong turn you should quickly realise your mistake and as a result can retrace your steps.
More details on the Wicklow Way can be found on my Overview of the Wicklow Way.