Hiking is an activity that allows us to connect with the natural world and is beneficial for both our mental and physical health!

But Trekking, especially when combined with wild camping, is a travel EXPERIENCE worth living, which is inevitably leading us to a deeper connection with the natural world, our companions and -sometimes- a region’s culture!

However, the mountain environment – as nature in general – is a dynamic one, so any trip should be organised seriously, taking into account many factors such as:

  • the season
  • the weather forecast
  • the area’s characteristics (eg climate, weather patterns, altitude, terrain, water sources, the availability of possible resupply points, the distance from the nearest roads / settlements / medical centres)
  • the duration of our trip
  • each individual’s experience, skillset, backpacking style, pace, goals 
  • group dynamics etc

Choosing the right gear is very important for our comfort and above all our safety and contributes (to some extent) to an enjoyable trip experience.

The following list is suggested  for “3 season” backpacking in the Greek mountains (ie the period when there is no extensive snow coverage and no additional winter equipment is required) having in mind the backpacker who wants to travel lightly and safely.

Disclosure: I have to clarify that the products shown in the photos meet my personal needs (durability, reliability, lightweight and compact). I do not imply in any case that no other products exist with almost similar technical features!

Backpack ( 40-60 litre capacity )

Lightweight (less than 2kg), with ergonomic design that offers freedom of movement, good load stabilisation and back ventilation. It is important to have additional storage areas ( at the sides and top) for quick access and be compatible with various water transportation systems.

Regarding the volume, in unsupported trips for example, I usually carry a 55 litre backpack for transporting gear and all my food supplies for up to 2 weeks.

Click HERE for how we organise our trekking backpack !

-Pack liner (waterproofing of backpack’s contents)

Raincovers are unreliable in driving rain and they tend to be blown by the wind, so it is advisable to put all gear in a waterproof bag inside the backpack. A very practical and cheap solution is a trash compactor bag. If you want something that will last for years, then it is worth buying a lightweight and waterproof pack liner.

Walking poles

A Trekker’s “best friends”. Click HERE for the reasons why in detail!

Sleep system

– “3 season” Tent

A lightweight (no more than 2 kg) one with ergonomic design, good ventilation and above all suitable for the adverse conditions encountered in the mountains. It is also important to meet our personal needs.

For my personal choice click HERE!

Sleeping bag (or quilt) down / synthetic

Lightweight (0.70-1.10 kg). Down is lighter, less bulky and warmer per weight than any synthetic. Synthetic bags on the other hand are a better solution for very wet climates like HERE. A very warm (winter) sleeping bag is NOT practical for “3 season” use.

I usually prefer quilts for 3 seasons due to the wide temperature range in which they are suitable for and I can use them in combination with my insulation layers even on colder nights than their Comfort temperature (-2 C for the one in the photo ).

-sleeping pad (air or closed-cell foam)  

Most of the heat loss during sleep in camp is due to our contact with the ground. Mattresses are doing just that. They insulate us from the ground.

A good sleeping pad must boast an insulation score (R Value) of 3.2 as a minimum. Air pads offer comfort that is … highly appreciated on multi-day trips while closed-cell foam pads are more practical on rough ground.

-pillow ultralight 

Alternatively you can use a stuff sack filled with clothes.

Cooking system

-Stove Lightweight and reliable

for boiling water and cooking a simple meal. Some hikers go stoveless even in low temperatures (like my friend Argyris HERE). For others, like me for instance, it is a daily “ritual” to prepare and enjoy a hot meal at the end of a full day out in nature.

– Pot (Titanium or aluminium)

A quite versatile item that also serves as a bowl, mug and storage container.

-Butane-propane gas canister 


-lighter / fire starter or waterproof matches

Food supplies

Prefer foods dense in calories and avoid bulky packaging. It is good to bring on the trip a variety of flavours for snacks (eg sweet-savoury) and textures (eg crunchy-chewy) such as sandwiches, sweets, nuts, dried fruits, etc. Ideally dinner should consist of a proper meal.

Due to the long duration of the trip, make sure that part of your supplies are of high nutritional value. Calculate how much you will need and don’t bring too much. Each person’s energy needs are different, but on a multi-day trip with many hours of hiking per day these needs are far increased in comparison to everyday life. Calculate 2500-4000 Kcal / day and 0.65-1.00 kg of weight / day carried in your backpack.


-Water Storage (~ 1-2 litres) on a reservoir, flexible/ hard bottle

Make sure to start each day well hydrated and carry a sufficient amount depending on the conditions and after gaining reliable information (from a map, hiking guide, locals, etc.) regarding the availability of water sources or man-made infrastructure (eg open huts) where you can refill / buy along the way.

Water purification

Collect clear – and no smelly – water away from grazing animals. In some areas this is not always the case, so it is very important to use a purification method. I personally use the following:

-Steripen Adventurer

With UV rays, inactivates by 99.9% the DNA of bacteria, viruses and protozoa while not altering the taste to the slightest. It’s also Fast (purifies 1 liter in 1.5 minutes) and the solution I use in almost all my multi-day treks abroad (since I suffered giardia 15 years ago on a solo trip in Patagonia).

Chlorine dioxide tablets

Also effective, but have a slightly noticeable chlorine aftertaste. The advantage of using tablets is their low weight and volume and they are a good choice on trips where weight reduction is a priority like HERE. Water is potable after ten minutes.


-Hiking shoes/ boots or trail running shoes

suitable for the terrain encountered. Ideal WITHOUT Goretex (except at the beginning and end of the 3 season period) for better perspiration. Keep in mind that every kilo on your footwear is equivalent to carrying 5 kg of load on your back.

Footwear selection is a quite subjective issue and no matter how good reviews you have read about a specific brand or model, you should definitely try it before you buy! They may NOT suit you. Footwear must be comfortable and by no means narrow because your feet WILL swell.

-Socks (x2) synthetic or woolen

(NO cotton)

** CROCS or sandals (Optional)

For rest. The former, in contrast to sandals, dry immediately and are super comfortable and light.

** Gaiters

They keep mud, dirt and pebbles out of your shoes.

** Microspikes

in case snow covers even small exposed sections along the route ( collecting reliable relevant information is part of the trip planning ).


-synthetic or woolen underwear (x3)

-hiking pants/ shorts that dry quickly or leggings or running shorts

-Baselayers (x2) lightweight short / long sleeved synthetic or woolen

that dry fast (NOT cotton)


-Thermal Underwear (pair)


(windproof with good breathability that do not limit dexterity),

warm beanie and extra pair of warm socks for the extremities

-Lightweight down or synthetic jacket

for breaks, camp and even sleep if needed.

** lightweight fleece

(Optional at the beginning and end of this period). 

Click HERE for the reasons why !


Rain protection

-Waterproof jacket

A Lightweight one that dries quickly and has an adjustable hood with pre-shaped visor. Indicatively, a raincoat for mountain hiking should boast a minimum of 10,000mm (10k) of waterproofing and 10,000gr / m2 / 24h (10k) of breathability.

-Waterproof lightweight pants


-Mobile phone

 (mostly in flight mode for battery saving). The emergency number in Greece is “112”.

On a trekking trip it is good to carry a Power Bank (portable charger).

On the contrary, I do NOT consider solar panels practical for the activity (as I found out with well-known models even HERE)!


-printed topographic maps and compass 

and ability to use them properly ( in the photo for example are shown Printed maps for HERE )!

-GPS device or mobile phone with topographic map installed in a GPS app

that shows our position even when we are offline

-Route description

from hiking guide / notes in printed / electronic form

Sun protection



-sunscreen with a high SPF protection index

for the exposed parts of the body

-lip balm

Emergency equipment

First Aid kit (small personal)

A plethora are available on the market but you can organise it by yourself too if you wish.

Emergency Blanket, Elastic Bandage, Homeostatic Spray / Cotton, Saline, Antiseptic Wipes (for Wound Cleaning), Antiseptic Paste, Disposable Surgical Gloves, Sterile Gauze in Various Sizes, Sterile Gauze for burns, triangular bandage, Steri-strip for stitches, Compeed for blisters (in various sizes), Hansaplast, micropore medical tape, Almora for dehydration, Antihistamine gel, Paracetamol Pills (x4), ibuprofen [anti-inflammatory] Pills (x4) and Pills for diarrhoea (x4).

Note: In case you do NOT intend to camp in the open by staying in huts or hostels (where they exist), keep in mind  that in the mountains you should ALWAYS carry a few but potentially life-saving small items, just in case get immobilised out there!


A simple Emergency blanket is not enough! Try to see how it “blows” in the air…

Thermal bag

 A Highly practical and cheap solution!

It should ALWAYS be on the bottom of our backpack… even if you never need it! Lightweight and with minimal volume.

You enter the bag leaving only your face uncovered. Waterproof and windproof, it retains 90% of your body’s thermal radiation. You WILL sweat,  but who looks under comfort when survival is at sake!

Bivvy bag

A MUCH better – if affordable – solution!

Very lightweight. It reflects 90% of our body heat. It has excellent perspiration and we can use it -apart from emergency use – in combination with a sleeping bag and in planned bivouacs under the stars!

-Headlamp with extra batteries

International distress signal: flash 6 times, pause for one minute, repeat… until someone finds you.


International distress signal: 6 whistles, pause for one minute, repeat… until someone finds you.

-lighter/waterproof matches or firestarter 

(mentioned above) for lighting a fire.

“Leave No Trace” kit

-hand sanitiser, trowel , toilet paper / tissues (NO baby wipes), ziplock bag.

-bag for our trash

Don’t leave NOTHING behind in nature including organic waste like banana peels!

Even if there are bins / baskets at the trailheads, keep in mind that trash is not collected so often from there and can attract animals. It is far better to dispose them later in a village / town.

Personal hygiene

(all in small quantities / packages)

– Hand sanitiser 

– Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Liquid biodegradable soap

– Cotton swabs

– Deodorant

– Tissues and Baby Wipes


Lightweight with microfibres that dries quickly


-Swiss army knife (basic )

for example Victorinox Classic

-Gorilla / Duct tape


-Needle and thread

Personal items

-ID card / passport 

-credit card



-Photo Camera / Action camera

-notebook and pen

IMPORTANT: You should ALWAYS inform a trusted person in writing about the trip’s plan!

Which route will you follow? Will you be alone? And if not how many of you and who? When do you expect to return at the latest? Both during (if possible) and after the end of the trek it is good to inform the person about your progress.

I hope you found this article useful and would like to wish you Safe and Enjoyable Trekking/ Backpacking trips in the mountains! 😊✌️

PS: A useful Dayhike Gear List can be found HERE!

Α lightweight fleece jacket is a very useful piece of clothing for hiking and trekking.

Its principal role is to offer the right balance of insulation (warmth) and moisture management to the upper body, while hiking in cold, wet & cold or cool conditions.

Not every type of fleece is suitable for the activity.

Wearing a bulky 300-weight fleece for instance (weight is measured in gr/m2 of fabric) we would be overheated, soaked in sweat and finally overcooled even when hiking in cold conditions.

Heavyweight fleece jackets are more suitable for rest breaks or for camp use but they are less thermally efficient for their weight than lightweight down and synthetic jackets that most of us use nowadays.

Moreover, it’s not designed to offer supreme protection against wind and rain. Models offering a fraction of such features are more likely to have breathability issues. With other words, it’s not ( and there’s not in general ) a piece of clothing that excels in everything.


On the other hand, a lightweight fleece jacket is an important part of the layering system and can be worn:

  • as an outer layer on top of a breathable hiking shirt/ baselayer.
  • as a mid-layer between the baselayer and a windaproof/waterproof shell, a down/synthetic jacket or both.

I personally use it as follows:

Cold conditions 

I usually wear it throughout the hike as an outer layer on top of my hiking shirt or as a midlayer ( when it’s windy) between the former and a light windproof shell ( eg rain jacket, softshell). When resting at camp I tend to wear it below my puffy jacket for extra insulation.

Wet & Cold conditions 

During wet and cold days I wear it as a midlayer between my hiking shirt and waterproof jacket. It keeps me dry and most importantly warm, a thing even more important during multiday trips in wet environments ( eg Scandinavia, Scotland).

Cool conditions 

At the start of the hike, before getting warmed up, I wear it as an outer layer on top of my hiking shirt.

Mild conditions 

In areas with more exposure to the cold ( eg ridges, passes ).


Lightweight fleece jackets are available in a variety of qualities and styles. Usually – but not always – the pricier models use fabrics that are lighter, wick better and are sufficiently – and not excessively – warm.

For hiking the below characteristics are important:


A fleece weighting less than 200gr/m2 is considered lightweight.


It should have elasticity in order to move freely with the wearer, not restricting his moves. The seams should be flat and soft to prevent irritated skin. The collar should be soft as well to allow the free motion of the neck.


It should excel in moisture management ( allowing sweat to escape quickly ) in order to keep us dry and comfortable while on the move.


To have at least a half-length zip or – even better – a full one.


It should have a slim and comfortable athletic fit in order to be easily worn under other layers of clothing.


Not all fleece fabrics are equally durable in heavy use. It should feature a modern abrasion resistant technology.

Personal choice 

My choice is the technical SALEWA Pedroc Polartec Full Zip Men’s Fleece that ticks all the above boxes and has performed exceptionally during the last 3 years of heavy use.

The new version of the jacket is SALEWA Pedroc Polarlite Men’s Jacket .

If you do not own a lightweight technical fleece, think about it. Products with similar characteristics are readily available. No matter the one you choose, the truth is that a lightweight technical fleece is a very practical “tool” for years of use on hiking and backpacking.

Happy trails! 😊✌️

Hiking pants are one of the most important pieces of hiking apparel.

They may not vent as well compared to shorts, but overall they are a far better choice for hiking, as they protect the lower body from direct exposure to the wind, cold, intense sun, insects, thorny vegetation etc.

Personally, I’ve used hiking pants in nearly all my treks and thruhikes in a wide range of environments and conditions ( Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Nepal, India, Iceland, Jordan, Sweden, Norway, Scotland ) except the GR20 in Corsica and the traverse of the Pindus, where I tested this item.

My hiking pants of choice for the last 3 years are the SALEWA Pedroc Durastretch 2/1 Softshell Men’s Pant.

It’s the piece of hiking apparel that I’m wearing the most. I mean  -literally- hundreds of days of use in the mountains, during travel and pretty often in the city, as I love wearing my comfortable outdoor apparel there as well. 

These are my impressions:


They are really stretchy (made of a lightweight fabric with a 4-way stretch) without restricting my moves, no matter how intense they are. The seams are flat and soft and have never irritated my skin.

 The ergonomic waistband gives extra flexibility, and in conjunction with the belt loops, offers the advantage of feeling comfortable even if I gain or lose a little bit of weight.


Its fast and easy convertibility to a bermuda – thanks to the zippers – offer the much appreciated ventilation when conditions dictate it, making the pants suitable for summer use.


Its synthetic fabric  (Durastretch) wicks sweat away and dries really fast!

Protection from the elements

 Durastretch technology and the DWR finish ( which is PFC free ) make it wind resistant and water repellent.

Even when wet ( as it’s not waterproof ) it takes a lot of time to absorb water. But after all, if we are to encounter heavy rain,  we should use our lightweight waterproof trousers that must always be available in our backpack.😉

Versatility and Style 

The market is full of specialised apparel for every single activity. Nevertheless, when traveling for instance, we usually don’t have the luxury of carrying many items due to the added weight and bulk. In these occasions, it’s more practical to use pants that serve as “multitools”, pants like these.

They have a slim and comfortable athletic fit and are a very practical and stylish choice for hiking, travel and everyday use. 

Its convertibility to a bermuda offers me the advantage of wearing it year-round except when hiking in winter conditions.

Reflecting details provide security at night.


Extremely abrasion resistant in the field, in contact with rocks and thorny vegetation. After hundreds of days of use and many laundry washes it still is in a surprisingly good condition.


There are two -sufficiently deep- zippered pockets for the secure storage of valuables.

I personally find other trousers with huge side pockets an overkill for the activity. After all, we go hiking with a backpack. Its hipbelt and other peripheral pockets can provide storage space for the small items that we want to keep on handy. It’s not quite pleasant to carry too much stuff in our pants pockets…


During multiday hikes, when “necessary”, I only wash the detachable legs (that get the most of the mud and dirt) and they dry really fast.


The most practical hiking pants I’ve used so far !


Note: I was given the reviewed product by SALEWA as part of our collaboration. Despite that, I didn’t have any obligation to write anything about the product if I didn’t want to. I have never recommended a product – nor I will do so in the future – without checking it thoroughly in the field and being really impressed by its performance !



On every hiking trip – no matter its duration – the stuff carried in our backpacks ( clothes, equipment, food and water supplies ) can contribute – to some extent – to a safe and enjoyable experience.

The way that the pack’s contents are organized does play an important role as well to the quality of the experience.

The article was written having multi-day backpacking trips in mind ( where the equipment used is way more ),  but the tips outlined below can prove useful even for organizing a pack for a day-hike.

Safety / Stability 

First and foremost, everything should be placed – if possible –  INSIDE the pack. A plethora of items strapped to the outside – an image often accompanying people new to hiking / backpacking – should be avoided. 

These items are at risk of being damaged or lost ( dropped ) but most of all they affect our stability, thus compromising our safety in challenging terrain !

A loaded backpack is pulling us backwards, so we automatically lean forward in order to get back to our neutral position. The heavier the pack, the more energy is required to put things into balance.

The backpack’s negative impact on our stability can be minimized by efficient load distribution.

Load distribution 

Bulky but low-density items ( sleeping bag for instance ) should be placed at the bottom of the pack. 

The heavier and denser items should be placed :

  • at the pack’s middle height 
  • close to our body ( against the back panel )
  • centered to the spine, dividing equally the weight on both sides.

In contrary, the lightest and low-density items ( such as clothing ) should be placed:

  • at the top of the pack 
  • away from our body 


Waste and shoulders straps should be adjusted in a way that the weight is “resting” more on the hips (~70%) than the shoulders (~30%). During the hike we readjust accordingly in order to release pressure.


Similar items ( clothing for instance ) as well as bulkier items ( shelter, quilt / sleeping bag, food supplies ) are better organized in ultralight waterproof stuff sacks !

Ultralight dry sack with clothing for the Pindus crossing ( Greece-September 2020 ).

Items that we’ll probably use during the day’s hike should be stored in external pockets and the top of the pack to be readily accessible, thus to avoid stopping every once and while to open our backpack.

More specifically, our stuff are better organized by height inside the pack as follows:


Bulky but low-density items that we won’t use until setting up camp ( quilt / sleeping bag, air sleeping mat, clothes worn during sleep ).

Middle height 

Our food supplies ( by far the heaviest we carry during multi-day unsupported backpacking trips ), our cooking system, paper maps for the remaining days and our shelter ( if it fits and it’s dry ).

Food supplies -those that could fit on the table- for the unsupported crossing of Iceland ( 2017 ).


Top of the pack 

  • clothing ( with waterproofs, insulating jacket / fleece, gloves and beanie placed on top )
  • first aid kit, toiletries, repair kit 

External pockets 

  • snacks for the day’s hike 
  • water bottle 
  • paper map, compass, GPS
  • sunscreen, lip balm 
  • poop kit ( toilet paper, trowel, lighter, antiseptic hand sanitizer )
  • the tent’s fly ( if it’s wet ). 


A waterproof liner containing all our stuff should be placed inside the pack – no matter the weather forecast – in order to protect them from getting wet. Backpack rain covers are unreliable in driving rain, so even if we use one, our backpack should be lined as well.

Wet environments… extra protection ( Norway-2019 ).

A reliable and cheap solution that I’ve been using for many years now is a trash compactor bag that can be used for multiple times.

Backpacks: My personal choices 


Thruhikes ( Multi-day trips ) : Salewa Alptrek 55+10L

Full autonomy for up to 2 weeks ( lightweight clothing and camping equipment plus all the food supplies ).


Overnights ( 2-3 day trips ) : Salewa Alptrainer 35+3L 

Autonomy for 2-3 days.


#Speedhiking excursions (day-hikes) : Salewa Ultra Train 22L

Super light and efficient for the short in duration but yet so rewarding day hikes !



Imagine yourself wandering in a dark forest at night …

The forest is really vast and dense  …

Within this mystic environment YOU are constantly moving …

Sometimes you walk … sometimes you run …

And everything is so quiet that the only things that you hear are your own breathing and the crackling sound of the rotten branches as you pass by them … (more…)

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