Here is our West Highland Way essential guide
Large rucksack – 65-75 litres is recommended for camping, 40-60 litres for using bunkhouses, 30-40 litres for B&Bs – preferably with a waterproof cover. If you don’t have a waterproof cover, then a waterproof liner or pack clothing inside plastic bags to keep dry.
Depending on where you plan to sleep, you may require a sleeping bag and cooking stove. Most bunkhouses normally supply these facilities though, so check when you book. There are lots of B&Bs along the way and there is, of course, The Drovers, so you may only require a basic kit.
Depending on your choice of accommodation on the West Highland Way, you may need food and cooking utensils. However you will always require some snacks for sustenance and water. You can drink the water from streams but you should pack some kind of purification.
Carry only the minimum of toiletries (leave your hair straighteners at home!) including soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, razor, deodorant, ladies sanitary products and loo roll (remember and pop that in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get wet!). In summer you will need sun-cream and a decent insect repellent.
You should always carry a small first aid kit which should include paracetamol or aspirin, plasters or band aids, blister treatments or plasters, a triangular bandage, an elastic knee support and some sterile dressings for wounds. You could also include antiseptic cream, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, safety pins, scissors and tweezers.
A map is absolutely vital, as is a whistle, a torch with spare bulb and batteries, emergency food (chocolate, dried fruit and energy bars are good), a pen-knife or multi-tool, a watch with alarm and plastic bags for rubbish disposal. If you don’t have a sleeping bag, you could take an emergency Bivi-bag or survival blanket.
Hiking poles can be a useful aid, particularly on the more rugged terrain, although they aren’t essential. Similarly many people like to log their journey through a camera and notebook. Sunglasses and binoculars are also useful but not necessary. Please remember that large chunks of the route don’t have a mobile reception, so your phone may not work. When walking with a group, it’s worth trying to get a number of networks covered, to ensure as much mobile reception as possible.
Check out www.west-highland-way.co.uk for loads more useful tips on how to prepare for your journey.