GR11 Hiking

Preparation, Packing and…Panic! (Including Gear List)

I’m leaving tomorrow, so today is the day I’m freaking out as I try to fit all the backpacking gear for the GR11 into my tiny, tiny backpack. It’s not tiny, it’s about 40L. Not big either, but not tiny, but I swear it has shrunk.

Everything fits somehow, including the first three days of food and snacks. Whether I can actually carry it…we’ll see. I haven’t weighed it yet. According to my packing list it should be just under 11kg without the food. A little heavier that I’d have liked, but I didn’t want to blow my entire travel budget on the latest ultralight gear, so this is the compromise I’m dealing with.

Fit enough?

Three weeks before my departure date I got COVID. Even though I had a typical mild case, I still spend 5 days mostly in bed, and was very, very exhausted for the two weeks after. I went from not being able to stand up while showering or making food to at least being able to work full days, but going back to bed immediately after. Only since a few days I’ve been feeling somewhat like myself again, although my energy levels are nowhere near what they were.

I haven’t put my body to the test yet. I went for a very easy 5km run a few days ago to test how my heart would respond (I had chest pain for a few days during the initial infection and was worried that that would linger) and it was kind of ok. But a short run is not the same as long days hiking, so we’ll see how that goes. One way to find out!

Gear I’m bringing on the GR11

I’m not a gear nerd, but if you write about outdoor adventures without talking about gear the internet implodes so here we are.

With a background in cycle touring and trailrunning, I had a lot of equipment already. I figured I just needed a couple of backpacking specific items and then I’d be good.

And yet… when I started to do research for my GR11 hike I fell into the ultralight hiking internet black hole and suddenly everything I owned felt so wholly inadequate.

The last thing you want as a newbie hiker is to feel inadequate. You’re not convinced of your own abilities yet, so better make sure your gear can compensate for your shortcomings. You’re not sure what’s going to happen yet, so better pack for every imaginable scenario (i.e. packing your fears)

As a recovering perfectionist I’m trying to embrace the concept of good enough and apply that to my backpacking gear. I’m also aiming for a pack that’s kind of light without blowing my entire travel budget on ultralight gear.

Below is what I ended up with: a hodgepodge of gear collected over the years (tried, tested, and loved) and a few shiny new additions. A pack that’s kind of light but not ultralight, and a nice mix of high-end and budget gear.

All my backpacking gear spread organized neatly on the floor, with numbers corresponding to the list below.

The list!

  1. Sleeping bag: Alpkit Pipedream 600. With a -12˚C rating it’s probably overkill for summer season in the Pyrenees (although temperatures around freezing are to be expected) but I sleep cold and it is just so. damn. comfy.
  2. Sit pad
  3. Rain jacket, rain pants, thin gloves and cap
  4. Small towel & bandana
  5. Buff, sports bra, 2 pairs of underwear
  6. Clothes: grid fleece hoodie, merino longsleeve with 1/4 zip, merino short sleeve, running shorts, fleece joggers, 2 pairs of socks and a pair of gaiters
  7. Tent: a Trekkertent Drift 2, bought two years ago after deciding I want to do more hiking. It’s a two person tent which is really spacious for a solo thruhike…but it’s still light enough to not warrant buying another (expensive!) piece of gear.
  8. Water. A wide mouth Nalgene, random plastic bottle, and a 0,5L softflask. Total 2,5L capacity, which should be enough most of the time except the first few days (heatwave!) where I’ll bring extra
  9. Walking shoes: Inov-8 275 G. Light trailrunners. Used them last year on the Pass ‘Aran and they are very comfy.
  10. Sleeping pad: Thermarest Neoair X-lite women’s version + pump sack
  11. Camp/hut shoes
  12. Hiking poles (also tent poles)
  13. Notebook with a pen & pencil, trail guide, e-reader and passport
  14. Toiletry bag. I could probably cut some weight here but I have a very stubborn patch of eczema that needs to be taken care of, so bringing cream for that. And I tried washing my hair with organic soap and it was… not great, so call me vain but I’m bringing shampoo. On the right a small first-aid kit and a cork massage ball
  15. Cooking stuff! Campingaz stove, gas canister, titanium pot, knife, lighters, spork, Steripen for water filtration. Also: a tiny stuffed owl, something to remember my partner by, who is staying home.
  16. Puffy
  17. Electronics: wall adapter, USB cables, headlamp, InReach Mini 2, powerbank, headphones, sports watch. Also sunscreen, baby wipes, sunglasses & hand sanitizer
  18. FFP2 masks
  19. And finally, the infamous poopscoop 😉

Surely I’m forgetting stome things, and surely there will be stuff that I’ll end up not using and will ship home.

3 thoughts on “Preparation, Packing and…Panic! (Including Gear List)”

  1. Geniet met volle teugen. Ik ga eind juli/begin augustus de tour du mont blanc lopen. Fastpacking met een 40 l trailvest. Dus ook zo licht mogelijk. Nav je paklijst nog wat op mijn “nog aan te schaffen” lijstje gezet.

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