I spent five days to hike the Great Wall of China in September 2019. I was lucky enough to be able to have such a long Great Wall holiday before the outbreak of COVID-19 from China. Great Wall Adventure Club had given me a full list of packing that I need for an off-the-beaten Great Wall experience.
The items listed below are purely recommendations for a successful hiking to the Great Wall, however please take into account your personal preferences and common sense. If, after taking part in the challenge you have suggestions for this list we’d love to hear from you!
In the list below we’ve indicated which items are essential and which are [optional]. They are more for hikers who take multiple-day expeditions on the Great Wall. However, those who hike only for one day or two days certainly should also check this list for a good preparation.
Good footwear and care of the feet is most important. Well brokenin walking boots should be worn. Trainers are too flimsy for wilderness treks. Sandals leave the feet exposed to sunburn, abrasions, thorns, insect and animal bites. Desert or Gore-tex boots are satisfactory.
The SingleAdventures.US philosophy regarding packing is simple: Travel light! Bring as little as possible but bring everything you need. Travelling light is much less of a hassle, so do not bring things you can do without. If you need to wear jewelers, keep it simple and inexpensive. The general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it.
Your main bag should not weigh more than 15kg. Additionally, in line with our responsible tourism policy, it is important not to overload the transfer agents who have to carry and transport it. Your hand luggage should not exceed 5kg and maximum dimensions of 56x45x25cms (correct at time of press – please confirm with your airline). Please make sure you pack your rucksack/kit bag yourself, and do NOT under any circumstances take any items through customs that are not yours or that you have been asked to deliver for someone else.
Keep extra cash, passports and house keys in your hand luggage. Also, as the flight to China is quite long it is sometimes a good idea to take toiletries such as a toothbrush to freshen up before arrival but please do remember that there are strict regulations governing the transport of liquids in hand luggage (the cabin crew on your flight will often give you toothpaste if you ask nicely!).
Don’t pack valuables, cash, fragile or perishable items in your hold luggage. Airlines and insurance companies will not accept liability for them. When leaving the US, we recommend that you wear your trekking boots and trekking gear, and take as much as possible in your hand luggage. This is to ensure that in the unlikely situation that your bags do not arrive at your final destination, you are still able to make a start on the expedition while we relocate any missing baggage. During the challenge itself we recommend that you keep all valuables with you at all times, especially electronic items such as cameras, iPods and mobile phones.
Large rucksack or holdall [YES]
Day rucksack (for sun-cream, camera, water bottles, lunch etc) [YES]
Hiking boots for the best while sneaker or any sport shoes will do [YES]
Long-sleeved shirt (to avoid scratches from plant life) [YES]
T-shirts x 6 minimum [YES]
Lightweight fleece [YES]
Sweatshirt (x 2 March and October treks only ) [YES]
Trousers (such as lightweight cargo trousers, avoid jeans) [YES]
Shorts x 2 [YES]
Good quality fleece (for March and October treks only) [YES]
Gloves (for March and October treks only) [YES]
Warm hat (for winter) [YES]
Underwear (light and loose) [YES]
Socks (hiking / leisure. Thick socks for winter) [YES]
Waterproofs (jacket and trousers) [YES]
Walking boots (sturdy well worn in boots) [YES]
Trainers or Sandals/Flip flops for evenings [YES]
Wide brimmed hat [optional]
Sightseeing clothes (casual) [optional]
Toothbrush & toothpaste or Listerine mouth wash, soap (anti bacterial or bio-degradable), towels, shampoo/conditioner (bio-degradable), lip salve with sun protection, antiseptic wipes, toilet paper/tissues, antibacterial dry hand wash [YES]
Insect repellent (containing DEET) [YES]
Sun protection (factor 20 minimum) [YES]
Razor & cream, sanitary products, shower gel, travel towel, deodorant, hairbrush/comb, Vaseline [optional]
Insect killer [optional]
After sun / moisturizer [optional]
Mouth-wash water (Listerine)
Documents (we recommend leaving a copy of all travel docs with your next of Kin)
Passport [YES] and Photocopies
Chinese Tourist Visa [YES]
Air travel tickets (issued at the airport) [YES]
Travel insurance (please bring a copy of your insurance certificate with emergency contact number) [YES]
Copies of vaccination certificates (these aren’t required to enter China, but may be useful if you require medical attention) [YES]
Travelers’ cheques (not very widely changed) [optional]
Credit card [YES]
ATM cards - You can withdraw 2500 Chinese RMB each day each card [YES]
Cash in your currency or in RMB [YES]
Re-sealable plastic bags (for dirty washing etc) [YES]
Walking pole(s) [YES]
Water bottle (two 1litre bottles minimum) [YES]
High energy snacks (tracker bars, dried fruit and nuts) [optional]
Contact lenses (bring spare lenses, and glasses in case of dust) [optional]
Gaffa tape (for emergency repairs) & cord or string [optional]
Sewing kit [optional]
Note book and pen(s) [optional]
Alarm clock / watch [optional]
Spread for toast (marmite, jam etc) & hot chocolate / fruit [optional](hotel supplies are basic)
Torch (with spare batteries & bulb, head torch recommended) [optional]
Ear plugs [optional]
Spare boot laces [optional]
Camera (plus camera film/spare memory cards, spare batteries) [optional]
First Aid Kit
Pain killers [YES]
Rehydration sachets x 2 per day [YES]
Adhesive dressing (plasters), Compeed blister pads [YES]
Diarrhea tablets [YES]
Any medication you usually use [YES]
The program I used was offered by Great Wall Walk, the dedicated tour provider of Great Wall Adventure Club. They also have a more comprehensive service across China. As they name it New China Tours, the tour programs offered are for adventures, rather than regular tourists to China.