I packed my bag and in it I put..

How much you put in your bag makes a difference. If you're 12 stone, and you walk 9 hours a day at 3 miles an hour you consume 2993 extra calories a day. 9 hours is a lot of walking and three miles an hour is a sustained speed but this calculation assumes no climbing (using Naismith's rule you add half and hour for every 1,000 feet climbing). If you're 14 stone, you consume an extra 500 calories. Now I'm not sure if carrying a bag weighing 2 stone makes 12 stone person the equivalent of a 14 stone person (without the bag) but there must be a rough equivalence. An extra 500 calories a day is a lot, 90,000 calories over the length of the whole walk, or 30 days extra food consumption!

A helpful list for loading your bag is provided on the Confraternity of St James website (for walkers planning for the St James Way walk).

Not sure about the starting premise which says you need a 60 litre bag if your a man and a 35-45 litre bag if you're a woman. I guess it's assuming that you can carry more and that some of the items of clothing are bigger. Anyway 60 litres is a much bigger that any bag I've carried so I must be doing something wrong (or right).

I don't think you need much in the way of clothes. The key thing I guess is to be able to wash them and to make sure sure that everything is made of the latest quick/drip dry synthetic materials. Three tea shirts, shorts/trousers, fleece, waterproofs,hat, something to put on your feet in the evening and socks seems enough to me.

Wasn't much taken by the idea that you can buy specialist clothes with silver threads that can absorb oder for up to three weeks. Is that the same underwear for three weeks?

The suggestion that you rub your boots with wild fennel or mint whenever you get a chance seems like a good idea, particularly if you've been wearing your underwear for three weeks.

Anyway the top tens question I need to answer before packing my bag:

1. How long do socks last, how many miles?
2. How many pairs of socks should I take given that they take forever to dry?
3. How long do boots last?
4. Will I need to wear some boots in before I start or do your feet change shape after so many miles walking?
5. Will my clothes last 180 days of walking, or will I need to be sent supplies?
6. Given that I look like an idiot in a hat, what sort of hat should I get?
7. What is the very best stuff for keeping mosquitoes at bay? They will already know I'm coming.
8. Should I go modern and get one of those integrated watering systems (intravenous?)?
9. Will I need the same clothes in Austria as I need in Spain?
10.Should I take my ipod?


  1. Hi there

    These are many good questions.

    1. Find out what fits you best - wearing double layer of socks or single ones tailormade for left and right foot. Hard to say how long they will last.
    3. Your boots will last the 180 days given that you buy decent quality hiking boots.
    4. Hopefully your boots will change shape before your feet do. Get some good boots and wear them in your everyday life before setting off for the trip. Never start a hike in new boots - they have to be worn for a while.
    5. Bring some sewing kit. That should do it.
    6. It's a matter of trying on a 100 different models to get to that Indiana Jones look.
    8. Definately get one of those intramouthous watering systems. Even the slightest effort to get to your drinking bottle will make you drink too little. Drink a little, eat a little with short intervals so as to not overload your digestive system since your muscles is where the energy is needed.
    10. Bring your Ipod. Though you are out to meet the great outdoors, nothing boosts the experience more than having some 21st century entertainment along with you.

  2. 1. Don't know but it is easy to buy new ones on the road.
    2. Dry clothes on the outside of the pack during the day or on the heater if you stay at a hotel during the night. One dirty, one drying, one wearing, so three pair should suffice.
    3. About 3500 km. though your mileage may vary
    7. Some product containing DEET

  3. Hii John! I hope you reed this message...I've got a few questions and need a bit help now that I'm planning to do a 3000km walk, maybe even more.
    I'll leave you here an e-mail account I just made. Luxuduss@hotmail.com
    I hope you get in contact with me!:)
    Thanks and keep on doing your walks, you're great!!!

  4. Alfredo (Spanish foot catholic-pilgrim from Morocco to Jerusalem and beyond, throughout Europe, Asia and Africa)

    Hi john! Fist of all congratulations for the great trail you have achived and above all for having taken your time in relating the others your experience. That's something other great distance walkers as me either cannot do or have not the time to do.

    Anyway, I vill mend my laziness, just giving some pieces of advice to your readers:
    - I have always carry a 55l or 60+10l bagpack (rucksac)for walkings up to 1000km in a single month trough plain land (considerably less mileage on mountainous terrain). I am 1m 76cm and weigth 82 kg.
    - I never carry food, but I take as a rule to transport 2,5l of water inside the camelbag of my bagpack and a steripen to purify water (though I prefer to buy mineral water, if possible) I drink a lot (sometimes 4-5l a day under the heat) as the best way to avoid phisichal problems.
    - I do not believe in materials made to last for ever. As a clue, one pair of good trail-shoes with vibram soles last me for 800-1000 km.
    - I make tourism and above all I mix with local people on the walk, so I learn foreign languages and I stay as clean as possible.
    - I take seriously the security issues, so I always avoid any armed (= fool) person on my way and psychologigally prepare to face the dangerous packs of dogs crossing my way. I do not believe in guns as a method of self-defence

    1. Hi Alfredo - thanks for your comment, looks like you have done some amazing walks . Good advice as well, particularly the water. Definitely try and meet the locals although I must admit that my language skills are very poor. On security I don't remember ever feeling even slightly intimidated or threatened, perhaps a reflection of the route I took. The dogs often made a lot of noise, particularly in Spain, but walking sticks always felt like an adequate defence.

      Best wishes John