Long-distance walks and backpacking


Escape the crowds with a self-guided walking holiday and explore the countryside at your own pace. Whether you’re heading off on hikes in your own country or travelling further afield, we’ve got campsites, holiday parks and glamping accommodation where you can rest at the end of a long day.

Couple hiking in the forest (Toomas Tartes / Unsplash)

Why camp and hike?

Long-distance walks are all about slowing down and tuning in with the natural world, so camping is an obvious next step. There’s something almost addictive about the rhythm you’ll get into start your day at sunrise and slink away through the fields, reaching your next stop before dusk to wind down around a campfire looking up at the stars…

Backpacking campsites

At their most basic, walking holidays involve backpacking – taking all the equipment you need with you and choosing low-cost options like basic campsites to keep costs low. Handily, many campsites offer pitches at a discounted nightly rate for travellers arriving without a vehicle or guests travelling solo.

Browse all Pitchup’s tent pitches

Other accommodation options when backpacking

Although traditional tent camping is probably the most obvious option, there’s nothing to stop you taking a campervan or caravan as your base for your walking holiday it will certainly mean carrying less on your back, and many routes have public transport options to help you get back to where you started out at the end of each day.

Find caravan parks 

Motorhome and campervan pitches

Glamping accommodation is another convenient option – this way, you won’t have to face the choice between either carrying everything you need or trying to find a way back to your campsite at the end of each day. After so much time on the move, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little luxury, after all.

Glamping for hiking breaks

What to pack for a long-distance walk?

While you’ll want to travel light while backpacking, there a few things you’ll definitely need along the way:

  • Sun cream and a hat that keeps the sun off your face

  • A bag with well-padded shoulder straps and a waist strap to take the strain off your back

  • Walking boots that you have already worn in

  • A water bottle with capacity for at least one litre (sometimes there may be long gaps between drinking water taps)

  • Flip flops or sandals for downtime

  • Waterproofs (yes, even in summer)

  • Spare socks (as soon as your current pair feel moist, you should change them)

  • Blister plasters 

  • A compact first aid kit

Ideally, your day bag should not exceed 10% of your body weight; if you are taking your tent and sleeping bag too, your load should not exceed 20% of your body weight. 

If you are bringing a tent, check its weight carefully before heading out. Look out for materials like aluminium alloys, titanium and carbon fibre for pegs and poles. If you’re walking as a group, remember that you can most likely distribute the weight of the tent between you, perhaps with one person carrying the poles, another carrying the fly sheet and a third carrying the inner tent. Find out more about how to buy a lightweight tent here.

How to plan a great backpacking trip

  • Download a route planning app so you can visualise where you’re going, how to get there and work out how long it will take.

  • Check to see if any backpack transfer services are available. On some routes, it’s possible to send on your luggage to your next overnight stopover for a small fee, leaving you with just a lightweight day bag.

  • Go at your own pace and be kind to yourself. Some people are able to walk 20 miles in a day, while others can only manage around 10. Being overambitious about your ability and stamina isn’t going to impress anyone and will mean that you miss a lot of beaches, pubs and beauty spots along the way. Slowing down will also help you avoid injuries.

  • Factor regular breaks into your daily itinerary. The key to not getting tired on long-distance walks is enjoying the experience, and what better way to do that than stopping every now and again for drinks, snacks or even a little siesta?

  • Stock up on lots of snacks. Bananas, nuts and granola bars will provide you with slow-release energy to keep you going for longer.

  • Organise your accommodation in advance for peace of mind. Pitchup has a great selection of backpacker and walker-friendly accommodation in the UK, Europe and beyond…


See all available campsites