With its searing daytime heat and cool nights, Georgia’s Svaneti region can be a finicky destination to pack for hiking adventures. Even during its peak season between the end of June until late September, travellers can experience roasting afternoon jaunts and evenings huddles with down jackets and mugs of tea, all in one day.
If you’re considering hiking some of Georgia’s trails, such as the Transcaucasian Trail, then check out my packing suggestions below:
- Shampoo bar/soap – Not all guest houses provide toiletries, so make sure you bring your own. Opt for eco-friendly and zero-waste alternatives where possible to keep Georgia looking stunning.
- Sunblock – Georgia’s rays are intense; don’t get burnt to a crisp on the trails, and apply a lotion with an spf before venturing outside. Make sure you apply it again later in the day, too.
- After-sun lotion – For pale, freckly hikers doomed to be burnt, it’s best to have a back-up plan. Find a lotion with aloe vera, cocoa butter, or my personal favourite, pawpaw ointment.
- Pawpaw ointment – The Swiss army knife of body products, this magical ointment appears to be a panacea for all mundane ailments; cuts, sunburns, chapped lips, etc. A tube seems to last forever, which is handy, as others will be asking to borrow it once they discover its effectiveness.
- Antibacterial hand sanitiser – This is a no-brainer.
- Sunscreen – Pale and freckly hikers in particular take note: Georgia’s rays are fierce. Bring a big bottle of sunscreen and make sure you pack it in your day bag for mid-afternoon top-ups. Trust me, you will need it.
- Large rucksack – Even if you are not carrying your full rucksack along the trail, it’s better to use a rucksack than a suitcase. Not all the roads in Georgia’s mountain villages are paved, and some accommodation might require you to carry luggage up steep flights of stairs!
- Day pack (between 15 and 30 litres) – A trail essential, look for features such as a ventilation frame, pockets for snacks, and waterproofing where possible.
- Dry sacks – Waterproof bag covers are the customary option, but these only provide waterproof protection for a few hours; the wind always manages to sneak rain into the corners of the bag. The best defence against soggy possessions are dry sacks. These handy bags provide all-day waterproofing, and they help keep your rucksack more organised.
Hiking clothing for Georgia
- Down/fleece jacket – Georgia’s Svaneti region is roasting in the day, particularly in July and August, but the mountains can get breezy at the top. Not only that, but after the sun sets the temperature drops rapidly. Stay comfortable and bring some cosy layers with you – that way, you can also enjoy Georgia’s lesser-known stunning landscape: its night sky.
- Waterproof coat and trousers – When it rains in Georgia, it absolutely pours. Sometimes the rains even damage roads, submerge paths, and continue for hours at a time. Choose coats and trousers with sturdy waterproofing that can withstand the elements all day (not a mac-in-a-pac), such as a waterproof membrane.
- Hiking base layers – For bottoms, look for breathable, lightweight trousers/leggings and shorts that can tackle Georgia’s variable terrain. For tops, I prefer packing a variety of vests, t-shirts and loose, lightweight, long-sleeved shirts.
- Hiking boots – A sturdy pair of hiking boots is essential for trekking around Svaneti. The trails can sometimes be slippery, or have loose rock on steep sections. Look for boots with waterproofing, and ankle support is a good option too. If in doubt, check out my guide to buying hiking boots.
- Flip-flops/sandals – After a day of wearing hiking boots, let your feet breathe around the guesthouse and bring a pair of lightweight, packable sandals.
- Warm hat – Evenings can be cool in Georgia’s Svaneti region, even in the summer. Bring a beanie or bobble hat that can pack down small, just in case.
- Peaked cap – Protect your face and/or neck from the intense heat when hiking, and bring a hat.
- Gloves – This is optional, but when hiking in Georgia during chilly evenings or wet days sometimes a simple pair of waterproof gloves are handy to keep the goosebumps at bay.
- Hiking socks – Keep several pairs of cushioned hiking socks handy. Ones made from merino wool are good for hikers that need their socks to do several days without a wash.
- First aid kit – As the scouts say, its best to ‘be prepared’, particularly when hiking in Georgia. Blister plasters (Compeed are particularly durable), plasters, menstrual supplies, antiseptic cream, safety pins, shoelaces, stomach ailment relief pills, etc. Basically, look for small, portable remedies to any niggles or ailments that might prevent you from fully enjoying Georgia’s great outdoors.
- Water bottle (or two) – Keep your hydration levels topped up when hiking in Georgia is important for preventing heat stroke. Alternatively, try a water bladder.
- Headlamp – Electricity is intermittent in Georgia’s mountainous accommodation. In fact, most places only have electricity for a few hours each evening. If you need to make any midnight dashes to the toilet, bring a headtorch.
- Sunglasses – This is also a no-brainer.
- Quick-dry towel – The amenity offerings at guesthouses vary greatly between villages, and bathrooms are frequently shared between rooms or dorms. Don’t get caught streaking to your room by fellow hikers, and bring a travel towel.
- Camera – Whether you simply bring your phone or an SLR camera with all the lens is up to you. Just don’t forget a charger or spare set of batteries!
- Trekking pole – Whether you’re hiking the Transcaucasian Trail or simply exploring Svaneti’s landscape, chances are you’ll be hitting more than a few hills.
- Snacks – Occasionally there are snack kiosks or ‘supermarkets’ on the trail, but if you get the sugar grumps hard when hiking, pack a few emergency granola bars or Haribo in your bag.
Do you have any go-to hiking accessories? Share below!