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Wherever you’re heading on your next trip, make sure you go prepared for the adventure. While your complete packing list will vary based on exactly where you’re going and what you’ll be doing when you get there, there are some absolute essentials that you’ll need to think about.

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up must-pack items for walking holidays, cycling holidays, wildlife adventures and winter trips from some of our favourite outdoor brands.

The ultimate packing guide for every type of adventure

Walking essentials

Most of our walking holidays include luggage transfers or full porterage on point-to-point trips, but you’ll still need a roomy backpack to hold everything you need for a day’s walking. Exodus Day Rucksack is the ideal 35-litre bag with enough space for water, snacks, sun protection, extra layers, and other essentials.

Even if you’re hiking in warm weather, perhaps in Jordan or Sicily, you’ll need layers if you’re setting off early or hiking once the heat of the day subsides. One of our favourite sustainably-minded brands, Patagonia, has a Nano-Air Light Hybrid Jacket that provides all the breathable warmth you need, but its low-bulk design means it’s easy to pack neatly away when you don’t need it. Pop it over Exodus’ ultra-lightweight Technical T-shirt, a hard-working piece of moisture-wicking and deodorising clothing.

A hat is an essential piece of kit when you’re hiking under sunny skies. You’ll need something that gives you complete protection — baseball caps can expose your neck. Instead, choose a wide-brim hat with sun protection and air vents to keep your head cool. We love Lululemon’s UV Protection Wide Brim Hat, a unisex option available in two colours.

The ultimate packing guide for every type of adventure

Cycling essentials

You’ll need easy access to vital sustenance when you’re on two wheels. The perfect cycling bag, such as Osprey’s Raptor 10 with a reservoir for on-the-go hydration, is a good start.  You’ll also want on-the-go access to snacks — the Exodus Cycle Jersey has plenty of pockets to access everything you need quickly.

If you don’t opt for a bag with in-built hydration, choose an insulated bottle to keep your water cool during hot spells, and make sure it’s one that’s designed to fit into your bike cage. Consider One Green Bottle’s Ocean Swell Evolution stainless steel bottle for a plastic-free option and admirable sustainability credentials. Not only does it have excellent temperature regulation, but this certified B-Corp is actively recovering plastic bottles from the ocean.

For long-distance cycling holidays, such as Cycling in Japan or Cycling in Mongolia, invest in the Assos Equipe R Bib Shorts for an aerodynamic silhouette with reduced pressure across your abdomen and stabilising and shock-absorbing properties in the main body panels. You’ll be grateful for the little things that help keep you comfortable on the ride.

Even in warmer climates, go prepared for some blowy conditions on the route with a lightweight wind jacket. The sustainability credentials of bike brand Rapha are excellent, with impact commitments we get on board with. The Brevet Flyweight Wind Jacket protects you on a cool descent, but it packs easily into a jersey pocket or seat pack. Plus, like Patagonia, they offer free repairs, so you know you’re investing in an item you’ll use for years.

The ultimate packing guide for every type of adventure

Wildlife holiday essentials

Heading out in search of wildlife? Whether you’ll be scouring the landscape on safari or off bear-spotting in North America, you’ll want to be ready to savour every moment. First thing first: don’t let bugs spoil your experience by choosing an effective insect repellent. Jungle Formula Maximum is suitable for destinations worldwide, including areas with malaria. For extra protection, look out for anti-insect fabrics, such as Craghoppers NosiLife Adventure II Long Sleeved Shirt, which also offers sun protection.

Wet bags are a handy piece of kit on a wildlife trip. If you’ve taken a dip – perhaps in the hot springs in Costa Rica, between toucan spotting in the rainforest – they’re good for keeping wet things away from dry. The Exodus Wet Bag is equally great at protecting your dry stuff in a downpour, as when it’s rolled and sealed, it’s highly water resistant.

Wherever you’re going, you’ll want to make the most of your experience, so binoculars are a must — if you wait to borrow someone else’s, the moment may have passed. Look for a specification of 8×40 or 8×42, as this suits both birdwatching and mammal viewing. The Nikon Monarch HG binoculars are a mid-range, robust pair with a nitrogen-filled body that keeps them waterproof and free from internal fogging.

The ultimate packing guide for every type of adventure

Winter essentials

The right kit is vital if you’re heading off on a winter trek or polar expedition. Start with your feet — you’ll need something that suits the temperatures you’ll be hiking in. In -10 to -20 degrees Celsius, the Canada Goose Armstrong Boot is a hard-working and comfortable option that is durable and waterproof. For polar tours, you may want to think about the Arctic-ready Snow Mantra Boot for ultimate cold-weather protection. Pop a pair of Thermal Heat Socks from Danish Endurance underneath for excellent insulation, and you’ll be all set.

Next, choose a substantial coat. A sustainably made option is the Summit Briethorn Hooded Down Jacket from The North Face. It’s made from recycled material and filled with cosy and lofty down insulation while being lightweight and easy to travel with.

The right hat is also an essential piece of a cold-weather kit. You’ll also want to consider your neck and face in the harshest conditions. Made with responsibly sourced merino wool and recycled polyester, the Capilene Air Gaiter from Patagonia is a versatile snow item because you can use it as a balaclava, a neck gaiter or a hat. As it’s seamless, it’s very comfortable, causing no distractions from the sensational snowy scenery.

Here at Exodus, we’re the experts in adventure travel. Not only do our local guides take you to places beyond the guidebook, but our team of adventure specialists are always on hand to provide great travel advice, both before, during and after your trip, so walk away with incredible memories. You can find out more about our experts here.