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How to prepare a light backpack for the GR® 20?

How to prepare a light backpack for the GR® 20?


The GR® 20 is a trekking objective for many hikers and trail enthusiasts. This diagonal that crosses Corsica is magnificent, aesthetically pleasing, engaging and rough at the same time. Whether you are tackling the GR® 20 by trail running, hiking and spending your nights in huts, or in complete autonomy, the question of the backpack is always raised. What should you put in your backpack to travel light enough but with peace of mind?

Properly pack your backpack


The weight of your backpack will heavily depend on how you choose to tackle the GR® 20. Will you go for the trail running or active walking method? Will you opt for the hiking method? Will you spend your nights in huts or tents? Will you challenge yourself and travel in complete autonomy or are you going to eat your meals in dedicated huts?

To prepare the perfect backpack, let's take a look at Maslow's Pyramid.

Begin filling the backpack with the first two levels of the pyramid: all the equipment required for physiological needs (sleeping, eating, drinking) as well as everything related to safety and protection (from the cold, rain, heat, sun, etc.).

Finally, if the backpack is not too heavy, you can add some equipment that falls into the Love/Belonging level of the pyramid (cameras and card games for instance).

The last two levels of the pyramid - self-esteem and self-actualization - are reached in the completion of the GR® 20.


What should you put in your backpack?


To prevent your GR® 20 from becoming an ordeal, it is better to pack your bag carefully: take only the essentials and travel light.
 

Some useful tips:

  • Take a comfortable backpack that is neither too big (otherwise you tend to fill it) nor too small (to keep it comfortable). For a GR® 20 in complete autonomy, try not to exceed a volume 60 litres. For a GR® 20 where you plan to stop in huts, a 30/35 litre backpack for hikers and 20 litres backpack for trailers should do the trick.
  • List all your equipments several weeks ahead.
  • Weigh all your equipments individually. If you some items are too heavy and your budget allows it, buy lighter gear.
  • If you're planning to travel with several people, evenly distribute the equipment among yourselves.



THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CLOTHING:



 vêtements pour le GR20
      • Lightweight and breathable T-shirt: it will allow you to stay dry all day long during your hike.
      • Shorts: a good pair of shorts will let you move with ease and will keep you cool!
      • Merino wool tights: merino wool is an ideal fabric for sports enthusiasts: these tights give you extra warmth. It's a close-fitting and warm layer. In addition, the friction between the tights and the pants also generate extra warmth.
      • Merino wool top: as mentioned above, merino wool keeps you warm while maintaining excellent breathability.
      • Pants: or zip-off legs (if you're wearing convertible trousers).
      • Socks: to keep your feet dry and warm.
      • Light down jacket: it's the hiker's best friend. Warm and compact, it will easily slip into your bag when you don't need to wear it. Choose a light down jacket and protect yourself from the cold and the wind.
      • Waterproof and breathable rain jacket: here again, opt for a jacket light enough to keep you at an adequate body temperature, and compact enough to be slipped into your backpack with ease.
      • Beanie: you should bring a beanie even if you leave in the middle of summer! Everyone knows that the weather is unpredictable and that it can change from hot to cold in a matter of hours. Bringing a beanie is always useful, even in the middle of August!
      • Flip-flops: after an entire day of hiking with your heavy shoes, you will want your feet to feel a bit lighter as night falls. Simple and convenient, bring a small pair of flip-flops!



The different types of bags to consider:


 Le rangement du sac à dos

      • Backpack: to choose the capacity of your backpack, please refer to our blog article "a backpack for the GR20". It explains how to choose and adjust your backpack. 
      • Waterproof bags: Since you can never be sure if the weather will turn, a waterproof bag is always useful on a hike. If you have something wet or damp to carry, get yourself a waterproof bag to store it in so you don't get all your stuff wet. 
      • Freezer bags: these small reclosable plastic bags are very practical; you want to pack food, clothes, bottles so that they don't leak into your bag? Use freezer bags! 

 

HYGIENE:

      • A light towel : No need to take your everyday towel, a light microfiber towel will do. In addition to taking up very little space, microfibre towels dry very quickly: a real plus when you've got a long way to go! 
      • Toothbrush : for a winning combo, don't forget your toothpaste! 
      • Sun cream : Protect your skin against UV rays, even if the sky is overcast, you are never safe from sunburn! 
      • Fisrt Aid kit: for easy treatment of sores, blisters or minor injuries.



OTHER:

 Le reste de l'équipement

      • 2/3L water bladder : We can't say it enough, you need to hydrate as much as possible while you exercise. Even if there are water supply points all along the GR20, get yourself a water bladder so you don't run out of water.
      • Nutrition:energy bars and snacks for the day's walk.
      • Photo equipment :device + cover + battery). The GR20 is in Corsica and Corsica is known for being beautiful! Don't forget to take enough gear to capture the landscapes of this magical hike. 
      • Documents and cash :you never know when or where you might need these essentials. 
      • E-book : After a good day's walk, nothing beats a little quiet reading at the foot of a tree. 
      • Sifflet : Hikers, as you well know, there is not necessarily phone signal on remote trails. You should carry a whistle to warn others if you get into trouble.
      • Map/compass/altimeter : something to guide you, if the path is not marked out.
      • Mobile phone: because nevertheless...there's gotta be a bit of signal in Corsica ;) 
      • Reusable bag :because they always come in handy. 
      • Something to snack on : a little snack is never a bad thing! 




BEDDING: (if you're setting off alone) 

 Le couchage

      • Sleeping bag : Depending on the time of year, choose a sleeping bag that is suitable for the outside temperature.(do not take a down duvet designed for expeditions to Alaska if you go to Corsica in August, for example!). 
      • Foam mat : Here again, choose your mattress according to your criteria (size, comfort, thickness).
      • Storage bags/covers :

        In order to be able to store your mattress and duvet without taking up too much space in your bag, don't forget a storage bag!

For those who are doing the GR20 completely alone, (i.e., sleeping and eating outside), you will also need a stove, a pan for cooking and a good supply of food. 


 

 

Don't forget anything 

to guide you in your packing, take a look at our Excel document which includes all the important items to remember to pack in your backpack.

The document has 4 different tabs. :

      • What material to have on you (underwear, socks, breathable t-shirt, convertible trousers, sunglasses, cap, poles)
      • The rest of the equipment in the backpack (protective and thermal clothing, flip-flops, toiletries, water, headlamp, sleeping bag liner, sleeping bag if trekking on your own).
      • Food (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)
      • Common equipment when walking with others (first aid kit, lighter, GPS, map, altimeter, compass, notebook and pencil, soap, handkerchiefs, tent and kitchen equipment if trekking alone).

In addition to this article, take a look at our our tips on how to choose your pair of shoes for GR®20