CAMPING ON THE GR34 : wear the right equipment on your hike in Brittany
Your holiday in Brittany is the ideal opportunity to enjoy a glorious walk along the GR® 34, the famous customs officers’ path that takes in the whole of the Breton coastline from the bay of Mont Saint Michel to Saint-Nazaire. But before you set off on what was voted France’s favourite long-distance footpath in 2017, here are a few words of advice for campers who are planning a spot of hiking in Brittany. What clothes and equipment will you need and why. Here we have the answers.
The first thing you will need is a good pair of shoes. If they are not the right fit, they could ruin your walk and your holiday !
For an easy hike, choose hiking sandals which are lightweight, soft and comfortable. Ideal for mellow terrain with few inclines. On more rugged terrain, we advise hiking shoes or boots which support your ankles and reduce the risk of sprains.
Don’t forget that after several hours of walking, your feet tend to swell. So make sure you choose a size above your usual shoe size. And, don’t wait until you arrive at the campsite to wear your brand new shoes ! You must wear them in beforehand by wearing them for short distances over several days.
One last piece of advice, don’t forget to pack a few items to prevent and treat blisters: hiking socks, blister plasters (Compeed for example), anti-chafing cream etc…
Your backpack is just as important as your shoes and an absolute must when hiking in Brittany! For a one-day hike, a 25-35 litre backpack will do the trick. No need to weigh yourself down with a heavier backpack as the distance between each stop along the GR34 is relatively short : an average of 20 km which is roughly 6 hours of walking.
However, if you are planning a longer hike around the coast of Brittany, we advise you invest in a metal-framed backpack. To preserve your back and shoulders, your rucksack should not weigh more than about 20% of your body weight. You should also place heavier items at the bottom and make sure you place the items you need frequently within easy reach:
- Water, at least 2 litres of water a day per person.
- A sun hat (with neck protection), sunglasses (photochromic or polarised), suncream.
- A first aid kit : antiseptic creams, precut plasters, blister protection, tweezers, bandages, plasters...
- A guidebook, satnav or hiking application on your mobile phone.
The clothing you need for a hiking and camping holiday in Brittany in the summer is simple : a lightweight top, comfortable hiking trousers and shorts will do the trick. Loose clothing also protects you from ticks.
However, the weather can change very quickly in Brittany, which is why many campers don’t travel without a waterproof jacket to protect them from the drizzle.
In the winter, experienced hikers recommend the 3-layer technique to stay warm and dry. Each layer serves a different purpose : breathable (synthetic t-shirt), thermal (fleece) and protective (waterproof jacket).
A few ideas of hikes along the GR34
- Finistère : Bay of Morlaix, Crozon peninsula, Pointe du Raz, Dinan, Pen-Hir and Cap de la Chèvre headlands.
- Morbihan : Quiberon peninula, Auray river, Gulf of Morbihan.
- Côtes-d'Armor : Pink Granite Coast in Ploumanac'h, cliffs of Plouha.
- Ille-et-Vilaine : Emerald coast from Cancale to Cap Fréhel, Rance estuary from Saint-Malo to Dinard.
- Loire-Atlantique : Guérande peninsula, Côte d'Amour from Saint-Nazaire to Pornichet.