What to Take – A Kit List

Graham, an early walker of the Via Beata and very seasoned camper and explorer has put together a helpful list of equipment that you might want to take with you when you walk the Via Beata route.  The equipment can be varied and might depend on where you will be sleeping, eating and so on.  Some people prefer to travel as traditional pilgrims and take very little with you, whilst others may want to come prepared for any eventuality.

This is taken from Graham’s blog of walking the Via Beata which can be found here: 

Equipment recommendations:   

Walking Poles

I walk with poles. They are a pair of old Black Diamond ones that I borrowed from my wife about 5 years ago. I liked them so much that she never got them back.

Poles take a lot of strain off my feet, ankles and legs- I don’t think I could do a walk like this one (around 500miles) without them. I use rubber ferrules (feet) on my poles to give grip and to soften the sound when road walking.

I’ve just discovered the red ferrules from Decathlon – Decathlon ferrules – they are by far the best I’ve tried. I’m currently conducting an experiment. One of my sticks has had one fitted from before the start of my walk (it’s still going strong at 200+ miles) and the other one is on its 4th black ferrule from the same supplier. The red ferrules also have better grip and they make less noise than any other I’ve tried.

Leki ferrules are my second favourite but are quite expensive.


MSR Hubba NX

Several people have asked about my tent. It’s an MSR Hubba NXI which recently replaced the old Vaude Lizard IL tent that’s seen me through many an adventure.

Why did I replace it?

Well, it was getting a little tatty mainly through burn holes caused by trying to cook in a vestibule that is too small. In this case – size really does as matter. As I get older and wiser I realise that for longer trips, such as this 500 mile hike I’m currently undertaking, I need a tent that I can get in and out of easily, can sit up in and that has a decent sized vestibule.

Weight is also absolutely critical. I think I chose well. I can’t fault the Hubba yet and I’ve spent some 20 nights in it so far. I have made a footprint for the tent out of an old builder’s tarp which, so far, is working well. Having the footprint makes it easy to erect the tent fly first if required. This technique is useful if you want to dry a wet fly sheet before inserting the inner or if you want to keep the inner dry during heavy rain.

I’ve added additional guys to the tent where attachment points have been provided but I’ve not needed to use them yet even in quite gusty conditions.

This Hubba is not sold as a four season tent. It’s not designed for the Scottish mountains in winter but it’s perfectly good for my long walks. Four season tents tend to be heavier, more expensive and suffer from condensation problems due to lack of ventilation. The MSR has pretty good ventilation with the fly sheet remaining a couple of inches off the ground along with a mainly mesh inner tent.

It weighs in at around 1.1kg plus a little for the footprint. I’ve added some extra mesh pockets that I hang from the loops in the top of the inner tent.


I always work with both digital and paper OS 1:25000. Once I started researching this route it became apparent that the Via Beata pilgrimage route shared the same start and end points so I have used quite a lot of that route.

I carry a Garmin Oregon 700 loaded with full UK OS maps and the gpx track as above. I also load lots of points of interest including potential wild camping sites, stone circles, pubs, anticipated (target) daily pitches etc. My Garmin is set to display the proposed route in pink and my walked track in blue.

When I walk I can simply glance at my trusty Garmin and see if I am on the pink line – if not I can make corrections. For this trip I’m using rechargeable batteries in my GPS which I charge from a power pack which, in turn, is being charged from a 10watt solar panel that is usually hung on the top or back of my rucksack.

Sleeping Equipment:

I use a Thermarest NeoAir inflatable mattress which is a good few years old now. It’s small (when deflated), light, and takes around 30 lungfuls to inflate. I’m not sure what it’s R value is but it keeps me nice and warm. A good mattress is essential for a warm, comfortable night’s sleep.

Next is my Thermarest Vesper sleeping quilt which is on its first big outing. I love it. It’s like a down sleeping bag without a bottom so that you don’t feel constricted like you do in a coffin style bag. My Vesper is rated down to -20 degrees so is nice and toasty even in extremely cold conditions.

I have a Sea to Summit Thermolite liner that’s old and much loved. For a pillow I usually use one of my dry bags with my buff (neck warmer) stretched over it. This set up has worked well so far on this trip – I especially rate the sleeping quilt.
I’ve stopped using the Thermarest Vesper stuff sack as I found it too much of a pfaff. I now use a 13L dry bag which is convenient and easy to stuff. It does mean that the quilt is less compressed and consequently bigger.


I’m not sponsored by any manufacturer or supplier so the below comments are unbiased.


Tilley – great at giving extra sun protection, reducing glare and keeping the rain off my glasses.

Can be a bit hot and give you hat hair!

My old Tilly (Organic-Airflow) now has a couple of brown rust stains on it from hanging it on an old metal coat hook while wet. Other than that it’s standing the test of time, and many long trails, really well. It has become a good friend.


Decathlon – Worn around the neck – keeps you warm and makes a pull up mask for going into shops. It also stops water running down your neck when it’s not raining enough to have the hood up. Can be worn as a wrist band or attached to your pack strap. Good for cleaning glasses, mopping sweat etc.


I took one long sleeved shirt, a long sleeved t shirt and two short sleeved t shirts.

My first long sleeved shirt is from Craghoppers. It’s now quite old but I love it. It has loads of pockets including one big enough for an OS map. Importantly it dries quickly – you don’t want to be carrying a wet shirt around with you and it’s too big to tie on the side/back of a rucksack.

My long sleeved t shirt is a merino wool and from Aldi (Crivit long sleeve merino wool). This is super comfortable and I used it as a night shirt most nights on my trip. I also wore it on colder days – it never seemed to get smelly! This is one of my favourite new items on this trip. Well done to my wife for spotting this bargain!

T- shirts on this trip were from Polartec and North Face, the latter being new and the former several years (and long walks) old.

They both dry quickly when pinned to the side of my rucksack.


Two pairs of Merino wool Forclaz from Decathlon and one pair of ExOfficio give-n-go boxer shorts. The latter pair are a looser fitting boxer type and the former are a snugger fit. I did suffer from some sore areas on the inside top of my legs when wearing the boxers but still liked the loose, cooler fit in hot weather.

Having said that, the Decathlon pairs performed very well and seemed not to get smelly even if worn for more days than I care to remember. All of them dried quickly.

Thankfully, no photo for this item.


One pair taken and worn almost every day of the walk. I usually wear Craghopper shorts but decided to give the Decathlon pair a go as they are slightly shorter. They performed really well but I do miss having a rear left hand pocket and having a map pocket. They look a little smarter than the Craghopper pair and seem plenty tough enough. They have 3 zipped front pockets and one rear.

Long Trousers:

I took my old Craghopper trousers on this trip because they are tough, have loads of pockets, and they dry quickly. One of the pockets is big enough for an OS map.

Waterproof Over-trousers:

Berghaus – I’ve had these for ages and really like them. Mine have a couple of barbed wire tears that I’ve temporarily repaired with tenacious tape. The repairs have lasted several years!

If the forecast is for persistent rain but it’s not cold I use these instead of ordinary trousers or shorts.

I like the very long zip which makes it easy to pull them on over my walking boots. I also like that I’m able to unzip from the top and vent the trousers.

On this trip I have, on a few occasions, slipped my overtrousers on to protect my legs from stinging nettles and brambles.


Three pairs taken, one pair of my old favourites from Bridgedale, and two pairs of my new favourite (in hot weather) the Solonac hunting socks from Decathlon.

The latter have performed amazingly well. They’ve been worn for up to three days on the trot without getting over smelly or unpleasant and, importantly, a quick wash in a stream and a day pinned to the sunny side of the backpack and they were ready to go again. These socks were really good on this walk and I suspect they would also be good in colder conditions but haven’t tried them yet. What’s more they’re cheap!


On this trip I took a pair of Hanwag boots.

For my LeJog walk I used Meindl boots which were great but the soles wore through at around the 500 mile point.

The Hanwag feel a little heavier and stiffer which is fine with me. They’ve now done well over 500 miles and are showing considerable wear on the heals but I suspect that they’ll remain serviceable for a few hundred miles more. The insole on the right boot is deteriorating at the heal and both boots have some nicks and scrapes but that is to be expected on a hike of this length.

Hanwag – a pair of old friends

Most importantly my feet are fine. I’ve had no serious issues at all. There can be no doubt that the Hanwag have out performed the Meindl boots.


Mountain Equipment (Gore-tex Pro) – luckily I didn’t have to wear this much as the weather on my walk was generally good. I purchased this jacket several years ago for my LeJog walk and it also looked after me well on Wainwright’s C2C last year and numerous other shorter walks. It’s also my dog walking jacket so, in other words, it has been very well used!

I love the zipped pit vents and good, deep pockets. I find it a little heavy (as most of the time it’s in the back pack) but would rather have extra weight than get wet. I also find it noisy, it rustles when I’m walking, but I’ve yet to find a good quality jacket that doesn’t.

Puffer Jacket:

My Rab puffer jacket is a favourite of mine. It’s so light and small that it’s hard to believe that it can keep me so warm. I use it mainly in the evenings as the sun goes down and the temperature drops. The jacket is also extremely comfortable and snuggly. I love it!

I hope this answers a few of the questions I’ve had about the kit I took along.

Other important items to consider:
First Aid kit including E45 (or similar) cream
Water bottle(s)
Maps (for the current sections – post home when used and buy new for next section)
Postal bags and stamps (for maps)
Emergency snack bars/nuts etc.
Head torch
Spare shoelaces
Gaffer tape
doggie bags for rubbish
toilet paper