Last week the sun shone practically every day. This week it’s raining, and we’re all glad for that — the land needs it. But when it comes to hiking in the great outdoors, unpredictable weather doesn’t help us pack, now does it?! So I always come prepared for any event. I mean, hopefully it will be sunny when vacation comes — and Portugal is a great place to visit for that matter, with an average 26 sunny days per month, between April and end of October — but we always need to pack for those 4 unwanted days, when they come. So what do I usually do?
Layering. Layering is the best way to stay warm and keep cool. Though it may not rain, sometimes the sun can be shy. To keep me protected from the elements and feeling cool on a hot day, I always carry light rain gear to start the day and use a breathable synthetic t-shirt. I also avoid cotton fabrics while exercising — the absorbent qualities prevent wicking and insulate poorly when wet.
My regular, comfortable walking boots are the foundation of an enjoyable walking holiday. My feet and legs will have to take the strain and the right boots will reduce the chance of sore feet, so that I can enjoy a blister-free trip. I recommend choosing walking boots with good ankle support, to cope with slippery or uneven paths and, if possible, bring another pair of lower cut boots, or trail shoes (a cross between trainers and boots) especially if your feet get hot in summer. Lightweight and waterproof materials are encouraged. I also try to bring several pairs of hiking socks, which normally have a more cushioned sole for extra comfort.
Comfort is essential. The more comfortable I feel, the longer and further I want to go! Then it all depends on which kind of hikes and trails I go about, doesn’t it? It’s completely different to pack for a two-week Himalayan base camp trekking than for one-week hike in the Douro valley, sometimes with a wine tasting and boat ride in the mix, like the one we just did recently.
To ensure one’s comfort on the hike, it is important to wear the appropriate clothing. On these lighter, yet daily walks, I always try to wear quick dry, lightweight walking t-shirts, pants and shorts, which will help wick moisture away from my skin and prevent from becoming chilled or overheated. When possible, I bring a mid-weight fleece, ideal for layering with the t-shirt, and can be rolled up small to go in the rucksack when not in use.
- layering (lightweight and waterproof materials)
- light rain gear
- breathable synthetic t-shirt
- mid-weight fleece
- pants and shorts
- comfortable walking boots (with good ankle support, mid or lower cut)
Take a look at our suggested packing list for our Walking Tours in Portugal and be inspired!