Gear and General Advice Please


Posted: Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 20:46

Hi All,

I have been planning my hike on the GR20 mostly from info on this forum so I would firstly like to give a massive thank you to everyone who posts and gives advice here regularly.

I will arive in L'Ile Rousse by ferry from Nice on the 14th Sep and leave the same way on the 28th Sep. I will solo hike the North section and maybe some or all of the southern section, time and weather dependant, hopefuly I will meet some of you along the way.

I want to hike as light as possible (learning from my mistakes on the TMB a couple of years ago) but dont have ultralight gear, I should be able to get my pack to about 8-8.5 kg minus food and water. But, I will have to be pretty Spartan and leave my cooking kit behind; unfortunatly can't afford to buy breakfast and dinner in the refuges. I am happy to eat whatever is available in the small shops in the refuges and use the cooking equipment provided, but, should I bring my cook pot (it is aluminum so not too heavy) or will I be able to get one at the refuges easily enough, same goes for a bowl/plate etc. I will be camping the whole way if this makes a difference, maybe I can't get into the cooking area at some sites if not staying inside?

Also, I will have 2x t-shirts, 2x shorts, 1x trousers, a light waterproof jacket and will get a light gilet/vest before leaving. Will this be enough to be somewhat comfortable and more importantly safe? I will also carry an emergency space blanket, a 3 DEG C comfort sleeping bag and a light thermarest mat. Should I bring a long sleeve warm top or will the gilet and waterproof jacket be enough? Same question for gloves and hat. I am coming from Ireland and am therefor a little more tolerant to the cold and wet than the average European... unfortunatly.

I will be wearing inov-8 roclite 290's (trail runners), will I be able to enter into the refuges and shops with these or do I need to bring sandals/flip flops.

I had some knee pain, behind both knee caps (no previous injuries or arthritis etc) on the final descent of the TMB and am planning on bringing some elasticated neoprene knee support straps, does anyone have experience with these? did they help? Unfortunatly I wont be able to do any steep and long enough hikes to test these out before I leave. I will have two hiking poles also.

I will try to hitchhike from the ferry to Calenzana, might this be possible?

If you had 2 or 3 days after the hike to spare what would you do? From Vizzavona without a car and on a tightish budget unfortunatly, returning to L'ile Rousse. Beaches, towns vinyards etc. I know this is a very broad question and the information is available online, but I am curious as to what other hikers like to do on the island after the trek.

Any other advice about my gear/trip etc is more than welcome and appologies if I have asked the same questions as others have previously.

Thanks in Advance,



Posted: Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 5:45

From what I can ascertain, I think you are a bit light on in the warm clothing and sleeping bag department for this time of year. I would at the very least throw a pair of thermals (long johns and top) in and a silk inner for inside your sleeping bag (nice and light and very warm). Also, from my experience and also what I have read, I would be wearing proper sturdy hiking boots - and take a pair of walking poles, they make all the difference on the knees.

Regarding food, I carried all my own food and a light weight stove and cooking container - they are quite cheap these days (estimate about 25 pounds in your money) and will help ensure you can cook where and when you want - and as your going by ferry, you can get the gas canisters and take them with you.

If your flexible with when you do the trek, give it a miss till next year and train up so you can handle a bit more weight.

Good luck


Posted: Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 8:49

Unless you plan on carrying your own tent, you don't need a Thermarest mat. If you hire tents at refuges, you will have an inflated mat already in place. If you stay in the refuge, you will have a mattress.

Nor should you need a cooking pot. Whatever accommodation option you choose, the fee you pay to the refuge includes the use of a cooker and kitchen equipment.

Hope that helps. Best of luck.


"Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?"
Norman McCaig


Posted: Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 10:06

your pack weight is about right ,
i did the GR20 a couple of weeks ago with a 8,5 kilo pack ( without water/food/poles) i did not carry any food, bought food at the refuges.
I did carry a tent however(recommended, 1200 gram from Decathlon)
my previous GR20 was with heavy pack, I really enjoyed hiking with a light pack.
you might want to add a good quality fleece can be unpredictable up there.

shoes are a personal choice, whatever you feel confortable wearing.
i did the GR20 twice on proper mountaineering boots, this year i came back and did it on my vibram fivefingers.
i have been running on fivefingers for years, and wanted to try hiking on them.
not recommended, but i enjoyed every minute of it.
you are the only one who can answer that question.

you can hitch a ride to calenzana, or walk up ( about three hours from calvi )
due to the road condition forget about walking up at night, the road is just plain dangerous at night.

Poles are recommended,

now enjoy your trip...


Posted: Fri, Sep 6, 2019, 0:04

Thanks for the reply MrFaulty,

I will throw in some thermals to be sure.
I appreciate the advice but I'll leave the cooking kit and food behind, I'm not in bad shape, I just much prefer to hike light.

Next year is too far away and I'll be on to the next adventure by then.

Thanks Again.


Posted: Fri, Sep 6, 2019, 0:07

Thanks for the reply Argonaut,

I'll have a tent as well, unfortunately not free standing (Vango Blade 100) but I'll figure it out.

It's great to not have to bring a pot, it's light but once you start adding little things here and there it all adds up.

Thanks for the luck also.


Posted: Fri, Sep 6, 2019, 0:13

Thanks for the response Huberc,

I'll have a one man tent with me as well. I will leave the light gilet/vest and bring something warmer so.

I have used the five fingers also, but am currently running in Merrell Vapour Glove's. Couldn't imagine hiking in that terrain with five fingers, fair play.

I will do my very best to enjoy the trip thanks.


Posted: Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 15:49

There was frost outside my tent this morning at Usciolu. Also, there's no water between Usciolu and Prati as it's been too dry this year. Fill up to last between those refuges.

And that's my wifi done!


Posted: Mon, Sep 9, 2019, 23:40

Thermals will definitely be coming along so.

Thanks for the reply GRRR 20.
The internet is overrated anyway :D


Posted: Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 19:32

Probably not. The forecast is pretty reasonable now, snow the tops looking a bit unlikely I'd say now


SwissMountainLeader - Leysin, CH


Posted: Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 20:49

Great, Thanks SML


Posted: Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 20:49

Great, Thanks SML


Posted: Thu, Sep 12, 2019, 16:56

Glorious September weather actually. Pretty much perfect.


SwissMountainLeader - Leysin, CH