What to pack for a Wild Atlantic Way Road Trip
We’ve all seen the magazine shots of blue skies, fluffy clouds and open roads. We’ve all imagined gazing over the ocean as the sun fades beyond the horizon. In awe of the afterglow turning the sky wild with colour over the green and lush wilderness. I hate to break it to you, but Ireland’s weather isn’t all heatwaves and refreshing sea breezes. Regardless of the time of year, you need to prepare for the weather to turn. If you’ve not packed with this in mind, you run the risk of ruining an otherwise epic driving adventure. So what to pack for a Wild Atlantic Way road trip?
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing – Alfred Wainwright
I took this photograph at about 3pm at the end of August near Dursey Island on the Beara Peninsula.
Wild Atlantic Way Weather
No matter what time of year you take on the Wild Atlantic Way, the chances are you’ll have a mix of weather. The seasons will determine the temperatures. Suffice to say, winters are cold while a fine summer’s day can be scorching. Spring and autumn can see some glorious fair weather too. Even so, it can turn at short notice. If you’re out walking, prepared only for the weather to remain the same all day, you may get caught out. Some days can be damp in the extreme. Not so much with rain but with sea mists. The fog can descend so fast, you’ll wonder where Ireland went to! Then there’s the wind. Big gales tend to be forecast but windy days on cliff edges up mountain tracks can take your breathe away.
What to Pack for a Wild Atlantic Way Road Trip
Layers and more layers
You want to pack for any weather and layering is the golden rule to follow. By packing clothes suitable for any weather, you won’t be using up valuable packing space. Make sure all your items are versatile. Combat trousers are great for walking in the great outdoors. Get those with removable legs to allow you to turn them into shorts if the weather turns fine. Short and long sleeve t-shirts are ideal and easy to peel on and off in variable conditions. They’re lightweight so won’t make your day pack too heavy to carry.
I took this photograph about 3 hours after the photo above from exactly the same spot.
Invest in a pair of decent walking boots
Even in the summer months, some of the wild countryside of Ireland is soggy underfoot. Boggy ground will rarely dry out. Even on a glorious day, you could find yourself walking through wet heathland. A pair of lightweight, waterproof boots are expensive but they’re great value for money. My last pair lasted 9 years before I finally needed to buy a new pair.
A waterproof, windproof shell jacket is what you need. They’re lightweight so ideal year round. Coupled with an inner fleece for the colder winter months, this is a fine investment. I’ve lost count of the people wearing budget raincoats returning from a hike looking as though they’ve been for a swim rather than a walk! Not dressing for the conditions is a sure fire way of ruining your day.
Fancy taking a walk in the English Lake District?
You need something you can throw on your back and keep your hands free. There’s plenty to choose from on the market these days but make sure its lightweight. Don’t forget, if you’re bringing a camera, make sure the backpack is waterproof too! Hindsight is a marvellous thing!
Talk about versatile! After losing a camera to the weather in Nepal, I’ve learnt my lesson. Even so, I’m still paranoid and my camera stays well away from raindrops. I even go as far to put the camera inside a bin liner, inside the waterproof bag! I said I was paranoid. Bin liners are great to use as a make shift seat on wet ground too. No need to lug around bulky waterproof lined picnic blankets. Unroll a bin liner and you have an instant ground cover to rest on without getting a soggy bottom.
I took this photograph about 1 hour after the last photo above. Again, from exactly the same spot. That’s how quickly the weather can turn.
Now you know what to pack for a Wild Atlantic Way road trip
You’ll get most enjoyment from Ireland’s epic coastal route from spending more time out of the car than in it. Now you know what to pack for a Wild Atlantic Way road trip, you won’t let the wether dictate if you have a great time or not. If you forget something, who cares? So long as it’s not your passport, anything you might need is available in Ireland. Enjoy your Wild Atlantic Way road trip. You’re in for a real treat!
Most of all, pack a smile, a sense of humour and enjoy!
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