Via Francigena

Equipment

As with any long walking trip, there are three key pieces of equipment that are critical to the success of your walk: backpack, shoes, and socks.

None of these should be overlooked, and each deserves a thoughtful choice and appropriate investment.

Backpack

We recommend a hiking backpack of 30-40 liters for a woman and 35-45 liters for a man, of excellent brand, lightweight, with well-padded shoulder straps and waist belt, possibly back with a mesh to distance it from the back and avoid excessive sweating. Buy it in a specialized store with competent staff and keep in mind that backpacks have various sizes depending on the height of the user. Therefore, make sure that it is your size or even better that you can adjust the size of the backrest. Be aware that there are backpacks for women, which have a different shape of the shoulder straps, and a smaller back size. Two pockets on the top closure and two external side pockets are essential, as well as the waterproof backpack cover and the pocket with a hole for the water bag.

The ideal weight of the backpack without water is 10% of body weight, so a 60 kg woman should be able to travel with a backpack of 6 kg, including the weight of the backpack itself. This will force you to a very useful exercise of frugality even in everyday life.

We suggest to use technical material and synthetic fibers; to help you to be within the weight limits we suggest to follow the list in the following page. The contents of the backpack should be placed in sturdy plastic bags, or better still lightweight waterproof bags, to protect it from rain. The backpack should be worn in such a way as to place the weight mainly on the hips, tightening the waist belt; the shoulder straps should be adjusted after tightening the belt so as not to weigh too much on the shoulders and it is important to close and adjust well the strap that joins the shoulder straps.

Shoes

Shoes should be well broken in (avoid walking in new shoes!) and at least one size larger than your usual size.

For the mountain sections we recommend high boots with Goretex: the trails are sometimes uneven and the gradients high, so the risk of sprains or joint problems with low shoes is greater.

On other routes we recommend low shoes for trail running or hiking. If you are travelling in the middle of summer, we would advise against wearing Goretex, which greatly increases foot perspiration.

We recommend that you do not take flip-flops with you, but trekking sandals, to be worn when you are resting but also along the way, in case of foot pain. Sandals are also useful when stopping: just a few minutes without shoes is enough to allow the skin on your feet to breathe and significantly reduce the risk of blisters forming.

Socks

Socks are a fundamental element in preventing blisters: they should be trekking socks, of excellent quality, with padded toe and heel.

Other accessories

Sleeping bags and towels are only necessary if you choose to sleep in hostels and “pilgrim” accommodation; if you opt for hotels or B&Bs you can lighten your backpack.

If you plan to use the app, we recommend that you bring a power bank of at least 5,000 mAh for your phone.

Telescopic walking sticks can be very useful: they take the weight off your feet and legs, help you to cross fords and walk on steep paths.