What to expect: The possibility of rain. Toting luggage on trains and buses. Changing temperatures. Working up a sweat while hiking. Tired feet.
What you need are clothes to layer so you can add or subtract easily and shoes that can get wet as well as soothe and protect while walking 4-8 hours a day. All in one bag that isn't too big to carry on as who wants to be slowed down at baggage claims. We finetune things each year as needed because we're smart like that.
The only thing you can be certain about the weather in the UK is that it will change. Especially on the coast. Often several times a day. We've been lucky over the years and have had only a handful of truly bad weather. (See the Lynmouth to Massive Storm post for an example.) We've learned to pack our raincoats in our backpacks every day. They don't weigh much and the raincoat doubles as an extra layer of warmth.
A half-zip pullover keeps you dry when you sweat, warm when you're cold, and dries overnight (for the most part). That, my friend, is an ideal travel buddy.
I take two short-sleeve Lululemon-type shirts, one of which I wear to travel. Because these dry overnight, two is plenty. Yes I get tired of wearing the same things.
As far as hiking pants, LLBean makes great hiking/travel pants The Comfort Trail Pants are lightweight and breathable for year-round wear and made of a nylon blend that's soft yet durable (this lingo straight from their website). But it's the pockets that I really like. There are plenty, one of which is big enough to hold a phone charger.
My nightgown so far has been cotton because I hate sleeping in synthetics and one needs cozy sleepwear at the end of a cliff- walking day. But, because cotton often takes too long to dry, this fall I will be trying something new. Not sure what.
Underwear: spend the damn money
Ten years ago we came up with the bright idea to save up ratty underwear for our trip. We'd pack six pairs, wash them all halfway through the journey, then toss them out daily the last six days. It worked in theory. But that year, when we finally found a washer & dryer (they didn't have them in our guest house), we set out to do the halfway-through-the-trip load of laundry and it wasn't easy. First I had to get change. Then I had to spend ten minutes figuring out how the damn machines worked (and I still got it wrong). Then it took forever for the cotton underwear to dry. I was tired but had to keep running back and forth to the laundry room to see if they were done. And they never were.
As I was spreading everything out across the spare bed and over the chairs and off the doors to dry so I could go to bed, I swore that on the next trip we would buy the damn travel underwear ("dries in hours") that I had come so close to purchasing before the trip. Unfortunately, in a fit of frugalness, I had stuffed the packages back on the shelf and walked away. At the time I felt virtuous: After all, at $18 a pop—-and we'd need two each—-I had saved us a small bundle. The night of laundry hell convinced me to spend the damn money. Which we did.
Lightweight backpack, minimal toiletries, a few bandaids, water bottle, walking poles, guidebooks for the paths we're doing, and phone cords, chargers, etc.
On the plane:
We almost always carry on our luggage. In May, 2022 we didn't feel like shlepping our bags around the airports so we checked them. Never again. Our flight to Ohio was delayed in Newark and even though our luggage was RIGHT THERE in the airport (thank you Airtag), we couldn't get to it. Neither could 1000+ other people. Hotels all booked. No car rentals. We ended up sleeping at the airport. (In the meditation room if you must know, which was, yes we know, against all rules.)
Here's the pdf list for October 2023.