So you’re planning a trip to the Lake District. Fantastic! The Lake District is an adventure playground with some of the best scenery, cycling routes and walking trails in the UK. But what should you pack for your trip? You’ll probably be spending lots of time outdoors exploring lakes, mountains, forests and everything else on offer, so comfort is key. English weather is notoriously wet and unpredictable, so you'll want to bring a rain jacket and warm layers. Check out this list of essential items for the Lake District.
1. Sturdy shoes or walking boots
If you plan on doing lots of walking, definitely consider investing in a pair of proper walking boots if you haven’t already. Unlike standard trainers, they will protect your ankles and also prevent you from skidding on rocky or steep paths. Don’t make the mistake of not breaking in your boots before the trip as you might get blisters, and blisters are never fun.
2. Walking socks
Walking socks are specially designed to keep your feet warm and comfortable while helping them breathe – you'll thank yourself later! You can get socks with different thicknesses for each season.
The Lake District is one of the dampest places in England. The weather can change suddenly (especially when you're out on the fells) even when the forecast predicts clear skies and sun. A reliable waterproof jacket is an absolute must no matter when you visit. You can get some pretty nifty ones nowadays that are super light and roll up small to pop in your bag.
4. Warm and breathable layers
Regardless of when you visit, you should pack base and mid-layers. If you’re planning an autumn or winter trip, warm thermal layers are vital. It’s cold on the ground and even colder up on the fells and summits. You might need thermals in spring depending on how cold it is as the weather can be hit or miss – warmer weather might arrive early or it might still be bitterly cold. You shouldn’t need thermal layers in the summer. A breathable sports vest and t-shirts should do the job.
Next on the list are mid-layers. Pack some long-sleeved tops or shirts, a jumper/hoodie and a fleece. These items will serve you well for all seasons.
5. Walking trousers
If you’ve come to the Lake District for a walking trip, you’ll need a trusty pair of walking trousers and/or shorts. Ideally they should be waterproof, especially during the wetter months in autumn, winter and spring. Walking trousers maximise comfort and will keep your legs warm at higher elevations.
6. Hat, scarf and gloves
A warm woolly hat, gloves and scarf are essential in the cooler months, but you should always pack them just in case. British weather can be iffy, so these items will come in very handy if a wind blows in or the temperature drops.
7. A daysack
A 20-30 litre daysack is usually big enough to carry your essential items such as snacks, water bottle, waterproof jacket, drybag, torch, etc. You should probably go for one that’s waterproof for an added layer of protection. You don’t want a bag that’s too big as it needs to be light enough to wear all day when you're walking or cycling.
Bring suncream with decent SPF to protect your skin. Apply it before you set off for the day and keep topped up. Remember, you can still get sunburnt even if it's cloudy (and yes, this still applies to the UK!).
9. A drybag
When it rains in the Lake District (or anywhere in the UK for that matter), it pours! The last thing you want is your mobile phone or spare t-shirt getting soaked and putting a dampener on your day. Even if your daysack is waterproof, it might still let in some water. Dry bags are a godsend and will keep your items dry. Pop in whatever stuff you want to keep dry and put it inside your daysack
A head torch is one of those items that you’ll thank yourself a million times over if you get caught in the dark. They’re lightweight and take up hardly any room. Even if you follow a walking trail, it’s handy to have a torch just in case you get lost, especially in the winter months when it gets dark really early.
There are many villages around the Lake District where you can get food, but it’s always good to have snacks to refuel in between meals, or in case you’re out on a trail for the whole day. High energy snacks like cereal bars, nuts, crisps, chocolate and fruit are all good options.
12. A reusable water bottle
It’s important to drink enough water when you’re out exploring. Reusable water bottles are an eco-friendly way to stay hydrated. There are loads of water refill stations throughout the park, villages and towns. You could even bring a thermal flask to keep your water cool or bring a flask of tea for a very scenic cuppa-on-the-go.
13. A first aid kit
It never hurts to bring a first aid kit (or at least it’ll hurt a lot less). A mini first aid kit can come in very handy if you or your travel buddies encounter any trips, slips, bumps and grazes when you’re out on the fells.
Our Lake District tours & holidays