A hike around Mont Blanc represents an unforgettable experience and views which let you speechless, and thus at every single stage. Nonetheless, a 7 to 10 days hike requires a few preparation of your equipment.
Depending on your choice of a bivouac or dorms hike, we help you to pack more efficiently.
Whether you choose a bivouac hike or a refuge/dorms hike, with or without luggage carrying, the main feature of your bag has to be its comfort.
Pick a bag with large straps which distribute the pressure and weight on your shoulders and back, and with a west belt which helps to balance the bag by creating a support on your hips. Ideally, your backpack will be equipped with a waterproofing system, otherwise a large plastic bag or special light cover will keep the bag dry.
If your hiking with a mountain guide and/or a luggage carrying option, you may consider a bag of 30 to 40 liters for the day, allowing you to carry what is necessary : a warm jacket, a rain cape, sunscreen and sunglasses, water, meal, your ID card and insurance. You can also sneak in the left space some snacks.
In case you are doing your hike in liberty, you can take a bag up to 60 liters but be careful with its weight !
Some hiking backpack are provided with several compartments : an excellent solution to separate your clothes and your food as an example. Favor a bag with a side opening which allows you to access your stuff without taking it off.
Depending on your needs, your hiking bag may include ice-axe holder, or lateral pockets to ease the access to your personal equipment.
Whatever choice you make for your hike around the Mont Blanc (bivouac or refuge), we offer you a list of the basics to take with you for a summer hike. Like your bag, favor light breathable clothes able to keep you warm if needed (the temperature may change quickly in mountains). You will also need a really light hygiene set, that you can put in a plastic bag or box (will avoid crushing) which will be perfect.
For your hike, we advise you to take the following clothes :
- Hiking pants and shorts, or convertible pants
- Breathable T-shirts with short sleeves
- Breathable T-shirts with long sleeves
- A jumper or snuggie
- A breathable legging
- Underwear (2 or more if needed, but be careful not to take too much)
- Hiking socks (at least 2 pairs)
- A windbreaker or waterproof jacket, and waterproof overpant and gaiters for rainy days
- A light pair of gloves
- A cap
- A warm hat
- A light scarf or snood
- Your Hiking shoes (already used)
- Light shoes (sandals) for the evening
In addition to your clothing, leave space in your bag for :
- A plastic bag (waste bag) to protect your clothes from humidity
- Your hygiene set (hotel sized bottle or solid shampoo/soap, toothbrush, toothpaste) and optionally sliced soap for your clothes
- A light towel (quick drying)
- A small personal health set (your pills, bandages (classic, and anti-blister one), sanitizer (wipes), tweezers, and light painkiller) Your picnic equipment (cutlery, mug) and a water bottle (light weight)
- A headlamp or torchlight
- Sunscreen, lip stick (UV shield), sunglasses
- Your ID paper, money, insurance
- Your camera
- Your hiking sticks (highly recommended around the Mont Blanc)
- A whistle (to alert in case of emergency)
- An emergency blanket (heat blanket)
In the refuges, blankets are provided but you will have to bring in your bag a liner and a pillowcase. You can also bring earplugs if you have trouble to sleep when there is some noise in dorms.
By choosing to hike in bivouac you will have to think more precisely about your equipment and consider adding your night and meal stuff. You may prefer taking the lightest of each object needed, and it is recommended to test them in store (use and weight).
The bivouac equipment you’ll need at least :
- A light tent or a tarp
- Something to keep you from the ground humidity if you choose a tarp
- A sleeping bag and silk sheet to protect the inside of the sleeping bag
- A foam mattress (really light weight)
- A warmer, a windshield, some kind of fuel according to your warmer
- A lighter
- A cooking device which fit your warmer
- Light cutlery and plate
- A knife
You’ll also take your meals for your trip, or according your stages. Favor high carbohydrate (carbs) content foods like pasta, cereals… which are lightweight and can be found in little bags in stores. You can consider taking along cereal bars, dry fruits, grains and nuts… for your snacks.
Several stages are going through villages, and you will find some stores to replenish your supply.
You have another possibility for the meals : you can always eat in the refuges and enjoy traditional meals for hikers !
To summarize your preparation for your hike around the Mont Blanc, think about lightweight.
The weight of your bag will be one of the main concern during your walk.
Avoid taking object qualified as “in case” object, and think about the real utility of each item you take. Ideally, for a liberty hike, your bag will weight around 12 kilos (26 lbs) or less for the best comfort.
Remember to take the indispensable : knife, map, papers (ID, insurance), bottle opener if needed, cellphone, backup (or solar) battery.
And don’t forget, if you want to break free from your stuff, you can always opt for the luggage carrying option ! Cairn Trekking has several formula for you to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc lighter :
You have tips for lightweight hikes ? Stories about your equipment you’d like to share ? Tell us in comment section !
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