The Last Hadrian’s Wall Packing List You’ll Ever Need

In May 2018, I spent six days walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path, an 84-mile trail that stretches across Northern England. The path follows Hadrian’s Wall, a 2,000-year-old Roman wall built by the emperor Hadrian. I absolutely loved my experience walking Hadrian’s Wall, and wanted to share my packing list as I haven’t found a Hadrian’s Wall packing list specifically for women.

Walkers on Hadrian's Wall

When it came to packing for Hadrian’s Wall, I wasn’t too stressed, as I had completed a much longer walk (the Camino) the year before. In the end, what I packed ended up being fairly similar to what I packed for the Camino, but a bit lighter (no sleeping bag or travel towel) and with more waterproof gear. This is England we’re talking about.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Hadrian’s Wall

This post is divided into several sections, so if you’re only interested in a particular section, you can jump straight to it.

Hadrian’s Wall packing list (for women):

Backpack

The ultimate Hadrian's Wall packing list: What you need (and what you don't)

For Hadrian’s Wall, I recommend bringing a hiking backpack around 20-40L in size. You can bring a smaller bag because you won’t need a sleeping bag (the accommodation along Hadrian’s Wall, mostly B&Bs and pubs, will have bedding).

RELATED: Hadrian’s Wall Accommodation Guide: Where to Stay During Your Walk

I recommend getting a backpack with hip straps, as it will take the pressure off of your shoulders and back. I also recommend having your bag fitted by a professional in REI or a similar store, so you’ll be as comfortable as possible on your walk.

Here’s what you need:

  • Osprey Women’s Tempest 40L Backpack – On Hadrian’s Wall, I used the Quechua Forclaz Air+ (which I also brought on the Camino), and as usual, it sucked. I will be upgrading to an Osprey backpack soon, specifically the Osprey Tempest 40L. Like all Osprey bags, it comes with a lifetime warranty. Compare prices on Amazon and REI.
  • Rain cover – It tends to rain a lot in Northern England, so if your bag doesn’t come with a rain cover, make sure to buy one.

Tip – Your fully loaded backpack should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, make sure your bag weighs 15 pounds or less. Without a sleeping bag, this should be easy.

Footwear

My super detailed Hadrian's Wall packing list: Everything you need to bring

I walked Hadrian’s Wall in hiking sandals (similar to these ones) and as a result, I struggled with the terrain at times. For the Hadrian’s Wall Path, I recommend wearing a sturdy, waterproof hiking shoe.

That being said, I don’t think you need hiking boots. At worst, the terrain is hilly at times – hiking boots would be overkill unless you really need the ankle support.

Additionally, it’s important to break in your shoes before your walking Hadrian’s Wall. if your shoes are too small and give you blisters, you may have to end your walk early.

Here’s what you need, footwear-wise:

  • Lightweight, waterproof hiking shoes – If I could do Hadrian’s Wall again, I would bring the Merrell Siren Edge Q2 Hiking Shoes. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and waterproof — I used them for Havasupai Falls last May and loved them. Compare prices on Amazon and REI.
  • 2-3 pairs of Merino wool socks – Merino wool is great for long-distance walks because it’s comfortable in any temperature and naturally resists odor. I used these ones on the Camino and Hadrian’s Wall Path and they were great.
  • Reef Ginger Flip flops – I like to change into different shoes after hiking, so I loved having a pair of flip flops with me. I’ve worn the Reef Ginger flip flops since 2009 and they’re so comfortable — they mold to your feet.

Tip – Size up your hiking shoes. As your feet tend to swell throughout the day (especially when walking miles upon miles), it’s always a good idea to have slightly large shoes.

Clothing

When hiking Hadrian’s Wall, you need to be prepared for all types of weather, including rain. (Though I got lucky and it didn’t rain once on my hike!)

You don’t need to bring a lot of clothes; you only need two hiking outfits, and maybe a pair of pajamas.

Here’s a list of the clothing you’ll need:

  • 1 Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Jacket – My favorite rain jacket: breathable, waterproof, and windproof. It’s an investment, but so worth it for the quality, GORE-TEX material, and attractive design. Check current prices on Amazon and REI.
  • 1 pair of yoga pants – Great for sleeping, layering under hiking pants, or lounging in after hiking.
  • 1 sports bra
  • 1 regular bra
  • 1 pair of pajamas – 1 pair of athletic shorts and 1 cotton t-shirt
  • Baseball cap
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Wool beanie

Tip: Don’t pack cotton, as it takes forever to dry and stinks like crazy.

Toiletries

As I was staying in B&Bs, I packed the bare minimum of toiletries:

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Tweezers
  • Deodorant
  • Razor
  • Body sunscreen
  • Elta MD Sunscreen SPF 46 – Even though England can be cloudy, it’s still important to wear sunscreen. I love Elta MD because it goes on like lotion and has zinc oxide.
  • Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream – After hiking in the wind and sun all day, I love treating myself to a luxurious, heavy-duty moisturizer. It’s the little things.
  • Wet Brush – for detangling your wild, wind-whipped hair.

Medical Supplies

Sycamore gap on Hadrian's Wall (with the famous Robin Hood tree!)

This is the standard first-aid kit I bring for long-distance walking trips. I recommend bringing the bare minimum for Hadrian’s Wall; there are plenty of pharmacies along the path, so you can pick up anything else you need.

  • 1 small tub of Vaseline – To prevent blisters, liberally coat your feet in Vaseline every morning. While you’re walking, stop and take your socks off every few hours for at least ten minutes to dry out your feet, and then apply even more Vaseline. Once I started doing this on the Camino, I never got blisters again. It worked well on Hadrian’s Wall too!
  • Anti-inflammatory cream – massage your calves with this every night after walking. It will save you from experiencing muscle pain down the road.
  • Medical tape
  • 1 small pair of scissors
  • Band-aids
  • Chapstick
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Ibuprofen
  • Neosporin
  • OB tampons

Snacks and Water

The ultimate Hadrian's Wall packing list: What you need (and what you don't)
A typical Full English breakfast at a B&B on Hadrian’s Wall.

The food on Hadrian’s Wall walk is delicious and hearty — I seriously love full English breakfasts and pub food. That being said, it’s important to pack snacks as well. I found several of the pubs and restaurants were unexpectedly closed, so I was grateful to have my own food. I also recommend bringing your own water supplies.

Here’s what I recommend:

  • Jerky and cheddar cheese (or other non-perishable, high-protein snacks)
  • 3L Camelbak water reservoir – I LOVE having a Camelbak on long-distances walks — it’s so nice to take a drink whenever you need one. I usually filled it up halfway in the morning and refilled as needed during the day.

Technology

I didn’t bring much technology-wise, but here’s what I packed:

  • Kindle – It’s nice to be able to read after a long day of walking.
  • 1 UK plug adapter  buy a plug adapter with two USB ports so you can charge two devices at once.

Miscellaneous

A few more items I brought and enjoyed:

  • Ultra-lightweight Black Diamond Hiking Poles – I know not everyone likes hiking poles, but I loved having them on Hadrian’s Wall. They support you going downhill, propel you forward, and take the pressure off your back by better distributing your backpack’s weight. Highly recommend.
  • 1 small crossbody purse – Useful for having your phone/money handy. Mine is cheap (from H&M), so I don’t mind if it gets wet or dirty.
  • 3 large Ziploc bags – I used these to separately store my toiletries, medical supplies, and food.
  • Notebook and pen
  • A guidebook — I didn’t bring a guidebook, but the guys I met on the trail luckily had a copy of the “Hadrian’s Wall Path” guide by Trailblazer. It’s a fantastic guide, so I’d recommend packing it. It has hand-drawn maps and useful information about prices, accommodation, and itineraries for all types of walkers. The most recent edition is from 2017, which was what we used.

Travel Insurance

Hadrian's Wall

Travel insurance is crucial for any trip, but especially a long-distance walk or hike. No matter how prepared you are, you can never fully prevent the chance of getting injured or ill. Worst case scenario, you’re stuck with buying a last-minute flight yourself or paying medical bills out of pocket. I have used World Nomads for the past five years and made sure to buy it for this walk as well.

What Not to Include in Your Hadrian’s Wall Packing List

Travel towel – As any traveler knows, quick-drying travel towels are the worst. Thankfully, you won’t need one on this hike, as you’ll most likely be staying in B&Bs or pubs that will provide towels.

Sleeping bag – You don’t need to bring a sleeping bag on Hadrian’s Wall, so all you’ll need is an eye mask and earplugs.

Laptop – I brought my laptop on my walk, as I was doing freelance work at the time, and ended up cracking the screen. If you can avoid bringing your laptop, do it!


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Have you ever walked Hadrian’s Wall? What was the most essential item in your Hadrian’s Wall packing list?

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