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    Tim’s Top Ten Rucksack Essentials for a Walking Holiday in Scotland

    4 min read

    By Tim Willis
    More by Tim

    What to pack on a Walking Holiday in Scotland

    I always spend a good bit of time thinking about what I’m going to pack in my rucksack before heading off for the hills on any walking holiday in Scotland. Having the right kit not only keeps me safe but also allows me to enjoy the experience as much as possible – careful planning is a must.


    Rucksack Essentials for a Walking Holiday in Scotland

    Here’s my Top Ten things I pack in my rucksack for walking trips:

    1.  Camera

    An absolute must for capturing those breathtaking views from the tops of mountains, looking across endless snow capped peaks out to the ocean, or for those magical moments when you are surrounded by a cloud inversion, looking down on the clouds blanketing the glens beneath you.

    Having a good camera is great for capturing high quality distance shots where you want to make use of your zoom function.

    If you do not have a camera a number smartphones are capable of taking some good quality photos.

    Iona boats camera phone

    Camera phones can be a nice compact alternative to using a camera, although they may not be the best for long distant shots.

    2. Comfortable, waterproof walking boots

    When I am out all day on my feet, I want to be concentrating on the wonderful views and wildlife and having a well broken in pair of good waterproof boots means that I spend less time thinking about my feet, and more time enjoying being in our Highland Wilderness. There is something quite satisfying about trudging through puddles and streams knowing that my feet and toes are snug, dry and happy!

    hiking in Scotland what to wear

    Hiking boots with good ankle support.

    3. Hydration Pack

    I usually get carried away by the scenery and forget to drink, which is not very clever! I use a really well made and bombproof hydration pack which seldom leaks. It’s so easy for me to sip away whilst I’m out walking and keep hydrated. I have no excuses for not drinking these days whilst out on trails!

    4. SMW

    No highland sunset over a beautiful loch is quite as dramatic as it should be without a swig of Single Malt Whisky! My hip flask has been well used over the years and is a great way to finish off a wonderful day in the hills!

    Islay Whisky

    5. Base Layer

    I have a synthetic base layer that I have used for the last 15 years – it just does not seem to get wet. It weighs practically nothing and yet manages to keep me warm in all conditions. Combined with a merino wool second base layer, I know I am going to keep warm whatever the weather.

    hiking in Scotland what to wear

    Lightweight hiking trousers and merino base layer.

    6. Waterproof Jacket

    An essential piece of kit I have learnt to rely upon when the heavens open and the rain starts. You just can’t put a price on being dry and warm.

    hiking in Scotland what to wear

    Heavier mid-layer or softshell and waterproof hiking overtrousers.

    7. Energy Bars

    I use a lot of energy when I’m out in the hills and need to constantly top up with energy bars. I know which ones work for me and they do a great job.

    Glencoe Hiking

    Energy bars will help fuel your day so you can concentrate on exploring the beautiful wilderness

    8. Walking Poles

    It took me a long time to realise the importance of these and train myself to use them, but now I really rate them and my knees love me for using them! They are also great for balancing when crossing streams etc. I take them everywhere now.

    how to use walking poles

    Walking poles will help you in areas where you may need that extra balance

    9.  Map

    Even when I’m out on a hill or area that I know extremely well, I always enjoy sitting with a map at the top of a hill and trying to work out which hills are which on the distant horizon.

    Self Guided Walks

    10. Wine Gums / Jelly Babies

    These wee indispensable goodies always put a huge grin on my face when I remember I have a packet tucked away somewhere when my legs are getting tired before I reach a summit and can do with a little boost to get me to the top. Unfortunately one or two are never enough and these days I usually take a full packet into the hills and try my best to scoff at least half the packet without anyone else knowing – in the Wilderness Scotland office we affectionately know this as “pocket munching” and I am guilty in the first degree!

    Food at the Rathmullan House

    Don’t snack too much – you’ll want to leave room for some fine evening cuisine

    Bonus Item: A stuffed salamander?

    Proving the word ‘essential’ can have a different meaning to everyone – one of the guys in the office takes a stuffed salamander with him…random eh?! Whatever your wanderings, have fun and enjoy this stunning weather.

    Now you know what to pack – how about checking out one of our unforgettable walking holidays in some of the most beautiful areas of Scotland! Our full range of Wilderness Walking tours can be found here.

    Meet the Author: Tim Willis

    “Having travelled and enjoyed adventures in much of the world, for Tim there is nowhere more beautiful, dramatic and captivating than home in Scotland. Travel has made Tim realise just how lucky he is to live in a country with so much history, tradition, scenic beauty and incredible accessibility. In his words "It is a total pleasure and a great privilege to host and guide visitors to Scotland each year."”

    View profileMore by Tim

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