The small but mighty island of Madeira is beautiful and packed with a massive range of diverse environments, so it’s important to have the right gear on hand to be ready for everything Madeira can throw at you.
While this isn’t as intense of a destination as the most remote reaches of the Karakoram, you still want to have what you need to be comfortable and have an awesome time here. This Madeira packing list will help you show up fully equipped to explore all that this incredible island has to offer.
This is a comprehensive list of every item we suggest that everyone interested in traveling to Madeira for active adventures should pack.,
The island has a subtropical climate and most of the year, the weather is very pleasant but it can get warm, you will almost certainly get very wet, and even the occasional winter storm covers the high mountains in a fresh coat of snow.
Here is what to pack for Madeira Island…
Packs and Baggage
- 60-70 Liter Duffel Bag
Epic’s recommendation: The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel – 62 L
Comfortable to carry with more than enough space for all you need to bring with you, this duffel bag is perfect for short trips and guaranteed to keep your belongings secure.
This bag serves as storage for the majority of your possessions while you take the essentials with you in your daypack. Unless you are planning on camping DIY style, there’s no need to bring a monstrously-sized bag with you that carries every item you could possibly need for a lengthy trek.
- 20-30 Liter Day Bag
Epic’s recommendation: Osprey Talon 36 Pack
The main thing you will use everyday in Madeira is your daypack.
Having a backpack that’s comfortable, not too big, and keeps all of your gear safe through Madeira’s weather is crucial. This backpack is one of our staff’s favorites. It allows you to carry all the essentials you need for the day like water, some snacks, a raincoat, etc.
If possible, it is always idea to wear the pack a bit before coming to see how it feels. The goal is to ensure that it’s comfortable enough to wear for several hours at a time.
Boots and Footwear
- Hiking Boots
Epic’s recommendation: Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots
For the last few years, these boots have been the footwear of choice for Epic founder Chris Lininger – in Madeira, and also in Pakistan. They allow you to confidently explore Madeira’s diverse terrain without having to worry too much about slipping and have the soles to keep your feet comfortable while hiking for hours at a time.
The Lowa Renegade are solid hiking boots for both shorter and longer escapades into the mountains or coast and offer enough protection from the islands annoying patches of thorny blackberry.
As with any shoes, you should break in this pair of boots before heading to Madeira. When possible, it is best to avoid wearing the boots for the first time wearing these boots to be on a long day hike, because blisters suck and we want you to explore Madeira blister free.
Epic’s recommendation: Keen Multisport Sandals or Birkenstocks
Even if not the most attractive shoe ever created, the hybrid between hiking boots and sandals can be nice: it’s a perfect fit for light hikes while also being watersport-friendly. They’ve got the strong, clingy grip of boots and are comfortable and breathable, which is ideal in Madeira’s warm climate.
Many hikes on the island are short but they do involve getting very wet, so you need shoes that meet the standard.
These sandals are a balanced, affordable answer to that need, giving you the flexibility to explore Madeira’s secrets and feel good while doing so, on top of being great to wear around camp.
- Trekking Poles – Optional
Epic’s recommendation: Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles
Because our Madeira itinerary involves hiking with lots of vertical gain and loss, trekking poles are a pretty important item to pack.
Trekking poles give you extra balance and stability (and take pressure off of your knees), which can make a huge difference when you’re hiking on steep or slippery terrain, and Madeira has plenty of both.
- Water Purifying Bottle
Epic’s recommendation: Grayl GeoPress Water Bottle
A Grayl is the ultimate water filter bottle: It’s efficient, lightweight, eco-friendly, and its filter system turns nearly any water source you might find in the wild into pure, drinkable water.
Epic has relied on Grayl for years to provide for our water needs in the most remote places on the planet and it is a product that we swear by, so trust us when we say that getting a Grayl is one of the best investments a hiker or world traveler can make.
- Travel and City Clothes
This is Europe; bring what you need to feel and look good in the towns and villages of Madeira.
Pack some clothes for urban/village settings on top of your hiking gear.
- Down Jacket
Epic’s recommendation: Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie
The island’s diverse weather means that it can also get chilly – especially in the Central Mountains – especially early in the morning during sunrise missions. Having a down jacket is pretty much all you need to stay comfy in the event of cold weather in Madeira.
- Rain Jacket
Epic’s recommendation: Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket
Though Madeira is a place known for sun, it can rain at any time of the year. Also, some of the Levada hikes on the island have you passing under waterfalls and you will be getting wet!
A rainshell helps to keep you dry even if there are waterfalls pummeling you on the track.
- Hiking Shirts
Epic’s recommendation: Lightweight Base Layer
Let’s face it, you are coming to Madeira to sweat and suffer a bit. To keep yourself comfortable on the trail, it’s best to avoid cotton and so we suggest going with synthetic materials. Merino is best.
This hiking shirt is an affordable base layer that’s designed to keep you from overheating in hot weather and getting too cold when the temperature drops, so it’s an excellent fit not only for Madeira, but also at home.
We recommend bringing a few spares for the trip as well.
- Trekking Pants
Epic’s recommendation: KUHL Renegade Pants
Like the shirt, with pants it is also best to avoid cotton and so we suggest going with synthetic materials.
Shorts are also a fine option on many of the trails, but if you are doing anything off the beaten path – like Epic does here – the threat of blackberries should make you reconsider the shorts.
What swimsuit you prefer for the pool and for canyoneering as well.
Epic’s recommendation: Columbia Hat
Protect your head and neck in all types of weather, a sun hat is another tool you need to ensure that you’re prepared to handle Madeira.
It’s lightweight and thin, so it keeps your head dry and safe from the sun while being comfortable to wear. This is a cheap item to add to your inventory and not something you should skip out on.
Do your fellow hikers; pack deoderant and avoid being the stinky guy/girl.
Sun Cream and Lipbalm
An absolute must. Sun cream of at least 30 SPF is vital to keeping your skin protected from intense sunlight. SPF lip balm is also something not to forget.
Sunburn is painful and leaves a pretty nasty mark on what otherwise is an incredible experience, so make sure you’re fully geared up to protect your skin from the sun.
Final Thoughts: Madeira Packing List
So there you have it: a complete list of every piece of gear you need to complete your active adventure Madeira packing list.
Madeira Island is the ultimate adventure destination in Europe. Here you will find canyoneering, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, surfing… and the list goes on…
Pack what you need to be comfortable so you can get the most out of your wild experience on the island.