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  • Clem Duranseaud

gr10 preparation and budget: getting ready for an epic hike


Typical views on the GR10 hike
Typical views on the GR10 hike

On may 20th 2024 I embarked on a multi day hike across the French Pyrenees on the epic GR10 trail. Following my personal tradition, I did not prep this hike as much as should of, resulting in extra hurdles along the way.


In this post I'll go over how I prepped this adventure, more importantly how I should of prepared it and how much this hike cost me.



What is the GR10 hike


The GR10 is a trail in the Pyrenees that connects Hendaye in the South West of France to Banyuls in the South East. GR stands for "Grandes Randonnées", which translates to "Big Hikes".


GR hiking trails are some of the most epic and well maintained in France, crossing beautiful regions all over the country. To complete a GR can take anywhere from a few hours (GR92, 23 km) to over 80 days (GR34, 2090km). The longer GRs can be done in one go or in sections, over multiple years.


The infrastructure of these hikes is extremely well done, there are many villages, inns (Gite d'étape), camping spots, access points and water access along the way.


I was taking a sabbatical year in 2024 so I was able to complete the GR10 in one go. It took me 46 days in total, with 39 hiking days and 7 days to relax.


My hiking partner, Francois, above a sea of clouds
My hiking partner, Francois, above a sea of clouds

My GR10 preparation


In good old Clem fashion, I prepped by assuming I was in good enough shape, that I would following the trail markings and that I would figure things out as I go. Not and ideal prep especially since this was my first multi day hike.


I think it's fair to say I have a good fitness foundation, I workout with weights frequently, I had spent three months in the Alps snowboarding often and have a good history of fitness. So I have a good general fitness.


I did not do specific training for the hike, which was a mistake.


Doing task specific training is crucial when it comes to preparing your body. Yes I was in good shape, but I hadn't trained my body to hike 20+km every day with a 35 pound (16kg) backpack on me.


Sure enough, three days into the hike my knee started hurting, I had to drastically slow down my pace and take a rest day on the fifth day.


This pain could of been avoided by doing two things:


Specific training to hiking

Living in a city prior to the hike, I could of done a few rucking sessions. Rucking is simply walking around with either a weighted vest or a heavy backpack.


I should of done at the very least a couple weighted walks with my backpack fully loaded for the length of the first stages. This would of prepared my body for the physical efforts of the GR10.


Pacing myself better at the start

Prior to this multi day hike, I only had experience with single day treks. The cool thing with single day hikes is that you can go as hard as you want, you know that you'll be taking the next few days off. This is a luxury that isn't present when you hike over many days.


The first day I did 28km, 26km on the second and on the third I couldn't take a step forward without feeling a jarring pain in my knee. I was able to limp 9km to an inn and rest for half a day.


Starting off more conservatively would of helped my body and knees get used to the hike and avoid this kind of pain.


After taking a full day off on day 5, my knees were fine and I was able to finish the hike without any issues. I did buy a knee brace just in case.


My GR10 gear checklist

My GR10 hiking equipment
My GR10 equipment
  • Jamet shelter tent

  • Nemo switchback sleeping pad

  • Valendre sleeping bag Swing 850

  • 14W solar panels Xmoove

  • Xtorm battery 20W

  • 2 lululemon shirts

  • My favourite travel tank top

  • A pair of leggings

  • 2 shorts

  • 4 pairs of non hiking socks

  • 1 hat

  • Extra rope

  • Compass

  • Journal

  • Arcterix shell

  • Rain pants

  • Salomon

  • Blackdiamond ski poles

  • Osprey atmos 65

  • Spot Gen 4 emergency beacon

  • Dry bags

  • 2L camel pack

  • Two 1L water bottles

  • Camping stove, pot, spork, gas canister

  • Flip flops

  • Map

  • Tarp

  • Sleeping bag liner

The tent was the cheapest I could find. I really wish I spent more money on this piece of equipment. The tent I had was a single walled tunnel tent. This means that I wasn't able to sit up in the tent and that the condensation from my breath accumulated inside the tent. To add insult to injury water seeped in one day when a thunderstorm struck. It's not even super light for what it is coming in at 1.2kg.


It's a nice tent for short hikes during the summer, but not for a long traverse of mountainous regions.


The nemo sleeping pad is better suited to put under an inflatable pad. I found it very uncomfortable and bought an inflatable pad on day 5. That pad worked well for a few nights but quickly got a leak and I finished the hike with a pad that got fully deflated a few hours after I fell asleep.


I bought a patching kit to repair it once I finished the hike. Having the kit during the hike would of been amazing but I did not even think of it prior to the trek since I started off without an inflatable pad.


The solar panels stopped working after one week. Great investment. Currently waiting for another pair from the place I bought them.


I did not use the tarp once which is a shame because I really should of used it a floor pad under my tent to offer my sleep pad more protection. This is something I learned AFTER sending the tarp home to save weight.


I used my favourite shoes I had, my trusted Salomon XA wilds. Low cut, goretex shoes with a quick lace system. It's safe to say I will not take these shoes on multi hikes again. Low cut shoes are great for single day hikes but on the longer treks, having extra ankle stability is very useful. I did twist my ankle once, and even though I was able to keep hiking normally, it hurt and took three days to fully recover.


The big mistake I did with these shoes was taking them even though they were already showing signs of wear and tear. On top of that, in a moment of desperation to dry them faster I put them on a heater which actually damaged the goretex membrane, rendering their water proofing capacity useless, 6 days into the hike.



My Salomon XA wild 36 days into the hike
My Salomon XA wild 36 days into the hike

After my knee hurt, I decided to send a few things home to lighten my backpack, and that included my stove. Mistake! Because of this I was forced to eat only sandwiches which gets old pretty quickly. Thankfully, 3 weeks in I started hiking with another guy who let me use his stove.


The map was 1:100000 which is much to large to actually plan anything detailed, next time I'll either stick to 1:25000 maps or virtual maps. I did have the FatMap app on my phone which allows my to create detailed routes and see very detailed map section so I relied on that for all route mapping and route finding.


I was very happy with the Spot Gen 4 beacon, it's super easy to use and offered my family (mainly my mom and girlfriend) a good piece of mind as they could follow my location in real time.

the Pays Basque and the Iparla ridge
the Pays Basque and the Iparla ridge

My sleeping bag is meant to be used during cold winter nights out in the snow. I was much, much too warm for this season in the Pyrenees. On most nights I was boiling in my bag. On top of that it weighs quite a bit which is weight I could of used for other gear. In the future I'll use a quilt for my summer hikes.


Despite all these equipment shortfalls, I was able to complete the hike in a enjoyable manner. I think that having better equipment would of given me minor upgrades, but I was still able to sleep decently, my feet were dry every night and at the very least I learned a ton.


I would really advise on spending time choosing a good tent, sleep pad and shoes as those are essential gear for GR10 hiking.


Let's take a look at how much money this hike cost me


GR10 hiking budget


If you haven't noticed by now, I am not the most organized person, and keeping accurate records of what I spend is not one of my strong point. The following is a rough account of my budget.


It's noteworthy to mention that two main criteria will influence your budget the most:

  • The time you take to complete the hike. Finishing it in 46 days will cost you less than if you take 60 days.

  • Which type of accommodation you choose. The GR10 has many options for you sleep in, each with a different price point.

    • Wild camping or unguarded huts: Free

    • Designated campsites around hiking inns or villages: 0-12 euros

    • Dorm rooms in hiking inns: 16-25 euros

    • Private rooms in hiking inns: 50+euros

  • The hiking inns offer a "Demi Pention" which is the dinner and breakfast. This is super handy and in most cases delicious. You can budget an extra 20-30 euros to your stay for this option.


My favourite hiking inn: The Rouze Farm
My favourite hiking inn: The Rouze Farm

As you can see, the budget can vary immensely according to what you chose. At the start of my hike I chose the hiking inns a lot because the weather was awful. The big advantage of these is their warmth, comfort and most of them give you access to a kitchen so you can cook your own food. Has I had better weather I would of camped more often.


Food is expensive in the Pyrenees, everything has to be shipped there and there are few options. Buying your own food to cook you own dinners and snacks is still cheaper than eating at the hiking inns, by far.


When I look at all my expenses for those 46 days, my total was 2054.58 euros. It's worth noting that I spent 5 days with my girlfriend in Lourdes so my total days on the actual hike numbered 41. So 2054.58 euros for 41 days in the Pyrenees.


I bought my own food as much as possible, slept in the cheapest options that would keep me dry for the night and didn't spend too long completing this epic trek so I think this budget is on the lower end.


A lot of places only take cash and there are not a lot of ATMs along the way. Some places accept cheques and bank transfers but carrying extra cash is a good idea.


This sums up my preparation and budget, let me know if you have any more questions about this amazing hike. I will be writing posts about the specific route I took in the coming days.


Feeling good at the top of Mont Vallier in Ariège
Feeling good at the top of Mont Vallier in Ariège

Happy hiking,


Clem

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