Scotland | 5 Essentials to Pack for a Highland Adventure

Living and travelling in Scotland, we've seen some incredible sights in our beautiful country. From baggings munros to road tripping islands and camping on the North Coast 500, we've also seen our fair share of stupidity! When getting out and about in the Scottish countryside, you can never be too prepared.
With that in mind, I've put together this list of absolute essentials that you must pack for any highland adventure. If you plan on exploring the great outdoors, you need to invest in these items.

Hiking Lochnagar, Scotland [Essentials to Pack for a Highland Adventure]

When we hiked up to the Old Man of Storr on Skye we witnessed tourists tackling the walk in converse or dress jackets carrying handbags! Some didn't even bother to bring a bottle of water. Whilst the Storr walk isn't described as difficult, the initial ascent can be deceiving and as all Scots know, the weather can change in a matter of minutes. You should always be prepared for the worst!

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Scarpa Cyrus Womens Boot [Essentials to Pack for a Highland Adventure]

Hiking Boots

First up, a decent pair of walking boots. Even if you're not planning anything too strenuous, just visiting places like Smoo Cave on the North Coast 500, or the Fairy Pools on Skye, will need some sort of sturdy, waterproof footwear. We both wear Scarpas and swear by them!

They've taken us up Ben Hope, the Storr, the Fairy Pools, Bennachie and much more. Not once have we suffered wet feet or blisters. I wear the Scarpa Cyrus Women's Mid Gore-Tex Boot and he wears the Scarpa Men's Terra GTX. They both have a similar style (pretty good looking for a walking boot!) with great ankle support. I can't recommend ours enough but there's no better way to pick the right shoe for you, than going to your local outdoors shop and trying some on!

Skiing at the Lecht [Essentials to Pack for a Highland Adventure]


You can start a day's adventure in glorious sunshine and end it in a complete downpour - the weather is so changeable in Scotland! Always pack a pair of waterproof trousers and a jacket too. I tend to wear my North Face Thermoball Hoodie as it's nice and cosy but can also be packed away into it's own pocket if I get too warm.

However, it's not waterproof so I also carry a Peter Storm packable jacket and waterproof trousers which are only £15-£20. They're super lightweight and hardly take up any space in your bag, but they'll fit over your other clothes (layers are you friend!) and keep you bone dry in the rain. I've even worn the jacket skiing at the Lecht!

Osprey daylite backpack, hiking Ben Nevis [Essentials to Pack for a Highland Adventure]

A Backpack for Day Trips/Walks

A small back pack is a must for heading out into the Scottish hills. I've had my Osprey Daylite Backpack for a couple of years now. It doesn't look much, but fits all my daily essentials and has seen me through hikes up Ben Hope, Ben Nevis and Lochnagar. I even take it on smaller walks (such as Clachnaben) as you could end up out there for longer than planned - it's easy to get disorientated if the fog sets in!

My Osprey fits my waterproofs, hat, gloves, buff, first aid kit, hand warmers, tissues, torch, emergency survival blankets, my camera and lenses, a power bank, snacks and a bottle of water. I pack every one of these things for a days hike no matter what!

Mountain Warehouse Hiker First Aid Kit [Essentials to Pack for a Highland Adventure]

First Aid Kit

I don't think I can say this enough - things can change quickly and drastically. Luckily I've only ever had a couple of grazes from slipping coming downhill, but you must be prepared for anything! Get yourself a wee first aid kit that can easily fit in your handbag, backpack or glove box.

We have the "Hiker" kit from Mountain Warehouse which is pretty basic but contains bandages, plasters, alcohol wipes, safety pins and scissors. I've managed to squeeze a few extra bits into the bag such as blister plasters, painkillers and antihistamine. Amazon sell a similar kit here.

Reusable water bottle on NC500 [Essentials to Pack for a Highland Adventure]

Reusable Water Bottle

Plastic pollution is a worldwide problem, so ideally you should be carrying a reusable bottle wherever you go, but especially here in Scotland. We have some of the safest and freshest tasting tap water in the world, so there's no need to buy bottled water. Last year we spent a whole week camping along the North Coast 500 and used tap water only for all our drinking and cooking needs. It's readily available at all camp sites and most bars or restaurants will happily fill up your bottle for you too. There really is no excuse!

I use this blue Nike bottle, a really handy collapsable Trespass bottle as well as a couple of stainless steel Trash Hero ones we picked up in Thailand.

Ben Nevis Summit [Essentials to Pack for a Highland Adventure]

I hope you enjoy your highland adventures, wherever they may take you!
Is there anything else you think should be on this essential packing list for Scotland?

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5 Essentials to Pack for a Highland Adventure

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