How much is too much? Packing for the Pennine Way. Why am I even doing this?

Do we need more “stuff” as we get older? Is it just that as we accumulate more, those things become necessary? Whatever the reason, my pack is too heavy. I got around to having a trial pack last night. 45 pounds.

Based on this, I think that maybe I don’t need 3 pairs of spare trousers, 8 pairs of socks and food for 7 days. I can cope with 1 spare pair, and resupply food every other day. Or can I? What if ‘X’ and what if ‘Y’ ? I am starting to overthink this 🙁

I unpacked everything, and walked away. Time to look at my motivation for walking the Pennine Way and how I would like to walk it.

  • I want to walk the Pennine Way, not any other route, because it is my first, and this route was the first National Trail. I like the symmetry in that.
  • Being the oldest route, it is less favoured than some of the sexy new routes, so it will be quieter. Quiet is good, I like quiet.
  • It is described as one of, if not the hardest paths. If I can do this, I can do any
  • I was brought up in sight of the Pennines, They become a part of you, and I would like to get to know them better.
  • I am not trying to achieve survival in the face of adversity, pitting my stamina against nature. I don’t want to feel hungry and also some level of luxury would be good.
  • I am nearly 50, If not now, then when?
  • I would like to wind down. Get away from the rat race, wake up to sunrise, fall asleep with a sunset. Romantic, but valid even so.

So what I need to take is my tent, my sleeping kit, warm clothing, cooking gear, navigation essentials, food and water and some little luxuries to make the trip a pleasure.

There is a compromise I think. On the one side carrying every conceivable gadget to give the most luxurious of overnights, but struggling to drag the weight. On the other side, an Ultra Light pack that is a dream to walk all day with, but lacking any rudimentary comforts or essentials to enjoy the camp.

One “essential” I am going to take is a big down jacket (the one I wore to Stoodley Pike in February). It is quite a bit of weight at 1 1/2 pounds, but I suspect I will be grateful for it.

Other “non-essential, but I am taking anyway” items include a blow up mattress (a good nights sleep will more than compensate for the weight), A pan that fits on the Primus (so much nicer than cooking everything in a mug).

A more reasonable 30 pounds has been achieved, and this time I remembered to put the camera in. There is time to tweak the contents, still, I think the pack will feel quite heavy for the first days.


2 thoughts on “How much is too much? Packing for the Pennine Way. Why am I even doing this?”

  1. The Pennine Way passes close to quite a lot of shops so you could take a chance on leaving a few of the should-I-shouldn’t-I things out.

    But control of consumables is more important as uneaten food and unburnt fuel cost money and add completely unnecessary weight. I’ve taken to making up day bags for my food. The bags stop me from cherry picking and chide me to eat when I haven’t.

    We definitely need more stuff as we get balder – a warm hat and a sun hat, in my case.

    1. I like the idea of ‘Day bags’ I will definitely be using that. Less of a problem with balder though, I am in the middle of a ‘mid life crisis’, growing my hair long. Somewhere between Hippy and Dougal of magic roundabout fame.

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