I’ve curated a Tour du Mont Blanc packing list for myself three times for three different styles of adventure. I’ve packed for hiking the TMB solo, hiking with a friend, and most recently as a solo member of a guided hiking group. Let’s just say… I know a thing or two because I’ve packed a thing or two.
In this post you’ll find my complete recommended Tour du Mont Blanc packing list along with important tips, the must-haves, and all the things you really don’t need at all. If you’d like a printable, check-off-able version, you can get it for free below. Happy packing!
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: What to keep in mind
This Tour du Mont Blanc packing list contains all the things I recommend after having packed for the TMB three times now. However, the list will vary for you depending on what kind of hike you’ll be taking.
Your hiking style
For instance, I utilized luggage transfer on my latest TMB hike because I like to hike smarter, not harder. If you will be carrying all your stuff with you the entire time, you’ll need some slight variations (which I’ll point out.) If you’ll be camping, you’ll need a lot of variations which I cannot help you with at this needing-a-proper-shower point in my life.
Your hiking timeline
This list is, however, good for any number of days on the trail. Whether you’ll be taking 12 days to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc or 6, this list will cover you.
Your personal preference
Keep in mind that personal preference and need greatly factors into what will ultimately be on your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list. For instance, I’m a dainty little female so if you’re a male hiker your list might be quite different.
Your hygiene needs may differ from mine as may your comfort levels, abilities, and other requirements. That’s perfectly okay! Use this Tour du Mont Blanc packing list as a baseline guide and amend it to your specific needs.
Read also: 10 Myths About Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc You Need to Forget Right Now!
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: Important tips
Regardless of your hiking or packing style, there are most definitely a handful of important tips that you should remember when formulating your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list.
As light a pack as possible
For starters, the #1 goal is to keep your pack as light as possible. Whatever you decide to bring on your hike, always remember this. Even going to extremes if necessary.
The lighter your pack, the more you’ll enjoy hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc. I cannot stress this enough as a too-heavy pack is what ultimately led me to quit the TMB in 2019 after one day.
I mean it when I say weigh. every. item. Every single ounce counts when it’s all combined and you’re carrying it on your back. What may feel alright when you pick it up and put it on will feel like carrying a Mack truck after just 30 minutes of turtle-ing it uphill.
Personally, I used a kitchen scale and weighed every single thing I wanted to pack for my TMB hike. Then I got rid of every single thing that wasn’t absolutely necessary.
Then, to prep for my hike, I filled my bag with that much weight and wore my backpack around the house for WEEKS. Literally, to the bathroom, while I made lunch, up and down the stairs, to the mailbox, everywhere. Only then will you be able to appreciate the need to scrape every possible ounce.
Even if you’re planning to utilize luggage transfer for your hike, still keep it to a minimum. These companies still impose bag and weight restrictions and you really won’t want to bother with a bunch of unnecessary crap in the refuges anyway.
Prioritize things with multiple uses
Concentrate on packing only things that can double as other things. And don’t bring anything you’re only going to use once.
For example, instead of packing a headband, a bandana, ear muffs, and a scarf, pack a single neck buff instead. This one virtually weightless item can be used as all of those things (and more). I use this fun mountain-themed buff from the outdoor adventure experts at Baïst.
Instead of bringing a travel cutlery set (I have this one), bring an all-in-one utensil (that’s also lightweight plastic instead of metal). You can find these on the register counter at the Intersport in Chamonix center.
Instead of bringing shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, soap, and toothpaste, you can simply bring one bottle of Dr. Bronner’s. It literally boasts itself as an “18-in-1” product. Now look, this solution is not for me personally, but I do know other TMB hikers who swear by this.
I personally use Dr. Bronner’s for laundry soap while traveling and also swear by it, but I still want to use separate products for toothpaste and hair conditioner. However, if you’re open to it, know that this is a highly recommended weight-saving solution! (I have the big bottle at home and refill the travel size before all my trips. Get both here.)
Basically, take a look at everything you want to bring, then think about which of those uses can be fulfilled by others. Time to get packing savvy!
For my non-packing TMB tips, check out this post on the best Tour du Mont Blanc tips you’ve never heard.
But still be prepared
Unfortunately, you will still have to bring stuff you might not use at all. However, if it means they can potentially keep you alive, they’re worth bringing!
Examples would be: certain pieces of winter gear, first aid kit, emergency supplies, etc. These are things you might not / probably won’t / hopefully will not need but that you should most definitely still add to your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list. It sucks, yes, but it would suck even more to need these things and not have them.
During my latest TMB hike, it ended up being a record-setting European heat wave so I did not (even remotely) need the fleece jacket, the gloves, the beanie, or the hiking tights I brought. BUT, it’s important to remember that weather in the high mountains is dangerously unpredictable (even in the summer) so always take that into consideration.
I also never used my first aid kit (bless!) or my safety whistle or any of the medications I brought, but I definitely hiked easier knowing I had them. Never head out on a hike without these things! They’re the kinds of things you always need to bring but hope to never use.
Allow yourself a luxury
Even though the overall goal is to pack as light as possible, please feel free to allow yourself a luxury or two. Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc shouldn’t be a miserable experience.
If there’s something totally irrational that you still want to bring for whatever reason, do it. Understand that it means adding weight to your pack, but still bring it if you want; judgment be damned. (I brought mascara of all things and I have zero regrets.)
Also read: 21 Awesome Things to Do in Chamonix in the Summer for Your Alpine Bucket List
TMB packing list: The essentials
While everything in this Tour du Mont Blanc packing list is essential (because we’re only packing the essentials, remember?), there are indeed three most crucial items.
Choosing a hiking backpack for the Tour du Mont Blanc is a highly individual decision. It has to be comfortable and carry everything you need. It has to fit your body, your hiking style, and your budget. Figure all of this out, then go shopping.
When I was packing for my first and second Tour du Mont Blanc hike where I would be carrying everything for the entire hike, I used the Osprey Kyte 46 Women’s Backpacking Backpack. I love this bag. It fits my body perfectly and is extremely comfortable. It has pockets in all the right places, offers lots of accessibility, and is easy to use. Highly recommend.
For my latest TMB hike where I utilized luggage transfer, I needed only an adequate day pack-sized bag for the actual hike and a duffel for the other stuff. For my day pack I use this 25-liter backpack from REI (which comes in both women’s and men’s styles so pay attention), but this less expensive option is great too.
I admit it’s a tad bigger than I what I needed/wanted, but it worked just fine. I also didn’t have that much to carry since it was so hot and I didn’t need the winter gear I had anticipated needing to carry each day. (The problem with a bigger bag is that it encourages you to pack/carry more.)
When I hike the TMB again, I will probably get something like this 16L daypack from Columbia or this 13L Osprey daypack instead.
For all the other stuff, I used a standard duffel bag like this one or this one. (The TMB luggage transfer companies ask that you use only soft duffel-style bags for easier transport.)
Arguably the most important item on the Tour du Mont Blanc packing list is a great pair of hiking boots. To each his own but I highly recommend some solid hiking boots with ankle support because the trails here are anything but easy going.
Some people prefer to hike the TMB in trail runners or those weird FiveFinger Vibram things but I cannot even fathom this. For me, it’s classic mid-height hiking boots or bust (my ass).
I wear the Oboz Bridger BDry hiking boots and I LOVE them. I’ve hiked all over the world in these things and did so right out of the box. I never had to properly break them in or anything like that. They’re comfortable, heavy duty, and waterproof.
You can get them here for women and/or men:
- Women’s Oboz Bridger BDry – Zappos
- Men’s Oboz Bridger BDry – Zappos
- Zappos always has free fast shipping and free returns (without needing a membership or anything like that). They’re my go-to shoe shop. Just saying.
First of all, trekking poles are life. They make SUCH a difference and I now swear by them. I will go more into this in another post, but just trust me here, you’ll want hiking poles.
There are varying degrees of hiking poles you can purchase. I’ve used some pretty pricey Black Diamond ones and I’ve used $20 poles too. And guess what? I can’t tell the difference. You do you though. Just get the poles.
The thing to remember though is that you can’t fly with hiking poles in your carry-on luggage. So unless you plan on checking your hiking bag for your flight to France, you’ll want to just pick up some poles in Chamonix.
I left my super expensive ones at home and simply picked up some cheap poles at the Intersport in Chamonix. I didn’t get the cheapest ones, but I paid around $20 each for mine. And I’ve hiked all over with them! I’ve taken them on many of the day hikes around Chamonix and used them for my complete Tour du Mont Blanc hike. No issues whatsoever.
Interested in a guided TMB hike? Check out the exact TMB group hike I joined here.
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: Hiking equipment
Beyond those three most important pieces of gear, here is the rest of the hiking equipment you’ll need for your ideal Tour du Mont Blanc packing list.
Water bladder / Hydration reservoir
Two liters is optimum. I use the Big Zip EVO from Platypus and love it. Staying hydrated on the TMB is so crucial and there are plenty of places to fill up. Depending on your route you could probably get away with just one liter, but I’m not risking ever being without water. (I drink a ton while I’m hiking.) This never leaks and makes it so easy to literally drink while hiking, hands free.
Refillable water bottle
Yes, you could always combine these two and just use a water bottle, but I use them for different things. And I drink a lot of water so I always have it with me. (I actually refer to it as my “emotional support water bottle.”)
The bladder I use to guzzle water while I’m actively hiking. The refillable water bottle I use at breakfast, at dinner, while lunching, while out exploring on my rest day in Courmayeur, and for filling with my Liquid IV packets. All things I can’t do with a backpack water bladder.
I use the ultra-cold insulated stainless steel Takeya water bottle. But there are definitely lighter weight options available. (Like this one or this one.) You could even buy a plastic water bottle (I know, sorry) from the airport and just keep refilling it.
Quick dry towel
Quick-dry, microfiber towels are always good to bring along in your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list. The refuges and hotels all (for the most part) have towels for you to use. But maybe they’re too small, too few, or, in the case of one place I stayed, way, way too stinky. Having your own towel is never a bad idea.
Bring one medium-sized towel or a combination of sizes. (I use this multi-size 3-pack.) They dry quickly so you wash them when you need and pack them up the next morning without all the smell.
I’ve used both the “TMB Bible” (the Kev Reynolds TMB guidebook) and the Knife Edge Outdoor Tour du Mont Blanc guide. I prefer the Knife Edge version, but you should check them both out to see which is right for you. (I also have the Knife Edge guide to day hikes around Chamonix too!)
Fun fact: While hiking the TMB in 2019, I actually ran into the author of the Knife Edge book on the trail! He spotted me using his guidebook and came over to say hi. I immediately asked him for two things: a selfie and directions.
Also check out: Tour du Mont Blanc Self-Guided Vs. Guided: How to choose which is best for YOU
Even if you’re not camping the TMB, you’ll still need utensils to eat with out on the trail. You can bring a dedicated travel cutlery set (like this one), or take the economical route and pick up a lightweight all-in-one utensil, available here in a 6-pack (best deal) or as a single at the Intersport in Chamonix (about 3€ each).
I used mine every day for spreading peanut butter, cutting cheese, bread, and meat, eating canned foods, and more.
It’s imperative that you bring along a safety whistle on the Tour du Mont Blanc (and any hike actually). Most hiking backpacks actually have a safety whistle built in which you might not even know about (usually on the chest buckle).
However, if you want something a little more powerful, pick up a dedicated safety whistle like this one. Also, know in advance how to use it. (Three sharp blasts for emergencies in the mountains. Watch this video for a quick lesson.)
Most hiking backpacks also come with a built-in rain cover—a waterproof pouch of sorts that secures around your backpack to keep everything in it dry.
Check the bottom pouch of your backpack to see if yours has one. If not, you can always pick up a separate backpack rain cover here.
Also read: Where to Find the Tour du Mont Blanc Sign in Les Houches and How to Get There
Sleeping bag liner
Sleeping bag liners are a must for your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list. Literally, the refuges require that all hikers bring them. They provide pillows and comforters, but not sheets, so you need to bring your own. I use this sleeping bag liner from the Friendly Swede.
These are thin silk sheets you sleep in when sleeping in public places like refuges and other mountain huts. It’s like a sleeping bag that’s only a sheet. They fold up pretty small and aren’t too heavy.
Fun fact: The French word for sleeping bag liner translates to English as “meat bag.” So when you see “meat bag” as a requirement on a refuge website, this is what they’re talking about.
I always bring along a small bottle of Dr. Bronner’s whenever I travel anywhere so I can wash things in the hotel sink. It works better than any other travel laundry detergent I’ve ever used and smells nice too. And yes, washing your hiking clothes nightly is an absolute MUST. Don’t miss this post on How to Wash Your Clothes on the Tour du Mont Blanc.
And as I’ve said, you can also use it to wash your hair and body, brush your teeth, and a whole bunch of other things I haven’t attempted yet.
Also check out my full travel guide to visiting Chamonix In the Summer, the perfect Alpine escape.
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: Clothing
Note here that what clothing you add to your personal Tour du Mont Blanc packing list will largely be dependent on weather and time of year. My latest TMB hike in 2022 was during a record heat wave in late July. In 2019 I just about froze every night in August.
The weather in the mountains is notoriously unpredictable. Come prepared for all situations but keep it reasonable too. For me, I was using luggage transfer which meant I really only had to rely on the weather report for each day and could leave behind all the stuff I was sure to not need.
Bring at least 2 short-sleeve hiking tops and 2 long-sleeve hiking tops. (Even during the heat wave I wore the long-sleeved tops over my tank tops every day to keep the sun off.) This way, you can wash the one you hiked in at night and put on a new one the next day in case it isn’t finished drying.
I typically wear Under Armour workout tops but I also love Columbia’s short-sleeve and long-sleeve active tops as well.
Bring 2 tops for non-hiking activities. Things like hanging out in the hotels/refuges, meals, sleeping only, airplane rides, etc.
If you prefer shorts, bring 2 pairs of hiking shorts. If you prefer pants, bring 2 pairs of hiking pants. Many hikers prefer convertible hiking pants (this these or these) so you can have pants + shorts in one garment. I brought two pairs of shorts and a pair of hiking tights I never wore because it was way too hot.
I wear these “yoga” shorts for hiking which are very comfortable and even have pockets. But I know most people prefer to hike in traditional hiking pants or shorts.
Bring 2 pairs of non-hiking pants to sleep in, wear to meals, wear out in town during your rest day, etc. I have this pair of light, fleece-lined leggings that I wear religiously. I’m even wearing them as I type this. However, it was often way too hot in our unconditioned lodging to even think about pants so at dinner I simply wore the pair of clean hiking shorts I was going to wear the next day.
Ladies, bring 2 sports bras and rotate them. Wash the one you hiked in each night, wear the other one the next day while the other one finishes drying. (FWIW, I have found Under Armour sports bras to be far superior to other brands.)
Everyone, bring underwear. Personally, my underwear are small, barely-there affairs (TMI?) so I opt for bringing a clean pair for each day of the hike because they don’t weigh very much. Others will recommend you bring a few pairs and wash them regularly. I don’t want to do that. You do you.
What outwear to pack for the Tour du Mont Blanc is a real toughie. There are so many variables here. On one hand, you want to be prepared for all weather. On the other, you really don’t want to have to carry around a heavy fleece if there’s going to be a surprise heat wave.
The best advice I can give is to follow the weather as closely to leaving for your trip as possible and compromise. Instead of a heavy fleece, maybe consider a light windbreaker and a packable down jacket. Or an extra light layer or two.
I brought a light down jacket and a fleece, neither of which I wore during my TMB. I also had my rain jacket which works as an excellent wind breaker, so I simply wore that on the windiest parts. My TMB experience was not the norm though.
Also crucial for your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list is a lightweight rain jacket and rain pants. The majority of my hikes have been dry and sunny but friends of mine have hiked the TMB is torrential downpours. How. Horrible.
My husband and I have both the Columbia rain jacket and Columbia rain pants and wear them all the time. They are super lightweight and take up very little space. And I can pull them both on over my clothes in a hurry for those surprise showers.
Bring 3 pairs of hiking socks and do not skimp on these. Yes, they can be pricey, but WOW are they worth it. The health and happiness of your feet on the TMB is vital! Treat those puppies with respect.
Dress them in Darn Tough hiking socks and nothing less. They’re the most comfortable and most reliable hiking socks out there. They’re guaranteed for life. You won’t regret this purchase. Shop Darn Tough on Zappos and on Amazon.
Besides your hiking boots, bring 1 other pair of shoes to wear for all of your non-hiking activities. Going to meals, hanging out at the refuges, walking through town, etc. These can be simple flip-flops, lightweight sneakers, or something in between.
Personally, I always travel with a pair of Chacos. They’re comfortable and versatile, they dry quickly, and I can even hike in them if I want to give my boots a break for a day. (Yes, they actually are “hiking sandals!”) Tevas are another hiking fan favorite.
- Shop Chacos here on Zappos or here on Amazon.
- Shop Tevas here on Zappos or here on Amazon.
Also for your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list:
- Something to keep your ears warm – a beanie or headband. Even during the heat wave, there were times I wore mine because of the wind.
- Gloves – There’s nothing worse than frigid digits! I didn’t use mine but again, that’s not the norm. I’m still glad I had them. I use these thin glove liners instead of packing heavy gloves with me.
- Hat – either a baseball cap style or a sun hat is crucial. You’ll be highly elevated and exposed on the TMB and that sun is no joke. Save your skin, save your pupils, wear a hat!
- Sunglasses – an absolute must if you plan to look at anything on your hike. Always go for polarized.
- Buff – for all kinds of uses as illustrated earlier. Plus, they can also keep dirt and bugs out of your face and the sun off your neck.
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: Electronics
The big focus here is to keep electronics to a minimum since they tend to weigh a lot. But we’re not exactly off-the-grid kinda hikers here so there are still a few things you’ll need.
European outlet adapter
Because this is Europe, you’ll need to add an outlet adapter to your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list so you can charge your devices. Go for something small like these so save space and weight.
Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc is going to be one of the most insanely gorgeous adventures you’ll ever take. Yes, you’ll want to document this even though the photos will never be able to these scenes justice.
Some love hiking with full camera gear because of this, and more power to them. If cameras weighed nothing, I would do the same. Instead, I used my cell phone as my camera and brought along a small point-and-shoot for when I needed a zoom lens. (But I used my cell for about 98% of the photos and video I took.)
I use a Google Pixel which takes fantastic pictures. If you want to use your phone as your TMB camera, you may need to upgrade depending on how old your phone is. Just saying.
If you do opt for a classic digital camera, make sure it has a big ol’ SD card inside because you’re going to be taking a ridiculous number of photos.
Phone and charger
And yes, you’ll want to bring along your phone and its charger. While I highly recommend leaving that thing in airplane mode until you absolutely need it, you should still always have a way to communicate, call for help, use as a flashlight, sound an alarm, and about 1,000 other things cell phones can do now.
Charge this every night or at every opportunity. Leave it in airplane mode both to save battery life and to stay the hell away from whatever is happening back in the real world that does not have any bearing on your life on the TMB. Ah, bliss.
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: Health & hygiene
This part of the Tour du Mont Blanc packing list will be highly subjective, so simply use my list as a general suggestion of what to bring on your hike.
On my hot hike in 2022 I must have sweat gallons every single day. I drank a lot of water, but I also made sure to replenish my electrolytes every day. Everyone has their favorites, but I love Liquid IV for this.
Liquid IV comes in tons of flavors (my favorites are passion fruit and açaí berry), doesn’t weigh much, and is great for rehydrating on the trail.
Again, totally up to you what you bring for this. On the Tour du Mont Blanc you’ll have a great breakfast and dinner each night, while lunch may be up to you. It also helps to bring snacks along in case you get hungry, for some added energy, or in case it’s longer ‘til dinner than you planned.
Even though there are healthier alternatives, I usually bring along Clif Bars. I like the way they taste and they have flavors I (as someone with nut allergies) can actually eat. Other popular options are Kind bars, beef jerky, and trail mix.
I also bring a long a small thing of peanut butter on my hikes. Lots of protein, adds flavor to simple things like bread and crackers, and tastes great. (Pro tip, get the squeezable kind if you can find it!)
Prescription medicine – Don’t forget to bring whatever prescription medicine you’re taking and only bring as much as you need plus a little extra in case of emergencies. This includes things like Epi-pens that may be so commonplace in your life that you may even forget to add them to your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list.
Over the counter meds – There are a few useful OTC medications worth bringing. (Note: I’m not licensed to prescribe medication, I’m just a girl who gets sick all the time while traveling making suggestions.) Things like:
- Pain relievers and headache meds
- Itch creams
- Stomach meds like Pepto (chewables, not liquid), Imodium, or Tums if you anticipate tummy troubles
- Benadryl or other if you have allergies (though the French “Zyrtec” I got in Chamonix is far superior to regular ol’ American Zyrtec!)
- Whatever else you typically use – Pepcid AC, vitamins, etc. – but do know that if you forget something you’ll probably be able to find an alternative at the pharmacies in the bigger cities on the trail.
This is a big one! There’s so much dangerous sun exposure on the Tour du Mont Blanc and you’re in it for so many hours a day. Getting a sunburn could wreck the quality of your TMB experience so do your best to prevent it.
I personally brought a regular sized bottle of sunscreen from home and a small travel sized bottle too. Each day I refilled the travel sized bottle to keep in my day pack so I could reapply all the live-long day.
Also, do not forget SPF lip balm. Bring your own or pick some up in Chamonix before your hike. Either way, use it often.
Small first aid kit
You don’t need to go overboard here, but it’s always smart to have a small first aid kit on your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list. You can pick up a prepared travel version like this one, or put together one of your own. If you go this route, make sure to include:
- Bandages and an antibacterial cream like Neosporin
- Moleskin or something else for blisters
- Safety pins
- Gauze and medical tape
- Antiseptic wipes
Your everyday hygiene products
This list is largely up to you, but here’s a general idea of what to pack for the Tour du Mont Blanc:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
- Small bar of soap – you can even cut a regular size bar in half
- Face wash, moisturizer, whatever else you use
- Small bottle of hand sanitizer
- Small toilet paper roll – in case you need to go in the wild or if somewhere you go doesn’t have any (not unheard of).
- Hair brush and ponytail holders (I use these super light soft ones that won’t kill your hair)
- Contact solution, extra contact lenses, case, glasses, eye drops
- Feminine products
- Disposable face masks just in case (During my TMB I still had to wear masks in some places in Italy. You’ll probably also have to wear them if you find yourself needing medical care at all.)
- Extra Ziplock bags – These can be used for all sorts of things: carrying trash, carrying food, picking stuff up, keeping things dry, etc.
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: Travel essentials
And we mustn’t forget the regular stuff you need for travel of all kinds, not just hiking trips. To complete your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list, do not forget:
- Your passport
- Money and credit cards
- Your CDC vaccination card – you probably won’t need it, but better to have it anyway
- Ink pen + some form of entertainment
- Ear buds for the plane/your phone
- Ear plugs for sleeping in the refuges or next to hiking partners you just met
- And some sort of small purse or fanny pack to carry your essentials in when you’re not on the trail. I love a good fanny pack for this!
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: optional
The following are a few things that are optional to bring if, say, you have enough room in your bag, really need them, are using luggage transfer, or just want to bring them.
If you’ll be hiking alone and still want great photos of yourself on this stunning hike, bring along a small tripod. I have this one that is used for cell phones and it’s small and super lightweight (and can be wrapped around trees and more). Something like this is another option.
Foot massage ball
I packed this for all three of my TMB attempts but never actually used it. I guess because my Oboz hiking boots are so perfect, I never felt the need for an extra little foot luxury during my hike. If you tend to get foot fatigue, this foot massage ball is pretty light.
Again, I brought this container of Biofreeze on my TMB but never actually needed it. By some miracle* I never had any sore muscles the entire time but the girl I was sharing a room with certainly got some use out of it. Note: The roll-on and gel forms of Biofreeze only contain 4% menthol while the cream contains more than twice that at 10%. Opt for cream, duh.
*Ahem, four years of trial and error, smart packing, and lots of physical preparation.
If you have knee troubles, the TMB will surely cause you some stress. These knee braces are lightweight but really help offer support.
Comfy bed socks
This one is just a small luxury that doesn’t weigh a lot and has no other purpose but coziness and comfort. Your feet are doing all the work, they deserve to be pampered. Wear these only around your room after you’ve showered.
There are plenty of swimming holes along the TMB (but not all bodies of water permit swimming, so please pay attention!). There are also pools, hot tubs, and spas to be found. I have a few of the suits by Cupshe and really like them.
Backpack travel cover
If you’ll be checking your hiking pack on your flight, I highly recommend getting a backpack travel cover. It bundles your hiking pack up nicely so there aren’t a ton of swinging straps and buckles that could get caught on things and break. It also accommodates locks so the contents of your pack will be safe while en route.
Depending on what time of year you’ll hike the TMB and the current weather conditions, you may need to consider a pair of crampons. They’re not exactly lightweight but they are crucial in snow and icy weather (and things like climbing the Aiguille du Midi). Big time safety piece right here!
There’s always a small chance you’ll need to take a covid test sometime during your trip. This depends on the rules where you’re going and where you’re coming from, the situation at the moment, your risk level, and other factors. It doesn’t hurt to add some super small and lightweight covid tests to your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list if you think you’ll need them.
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: What NOT to bring
Even though keeping your pack as light as possible is the ultimate goal, it’s still so easy to overpack. Lucky for you, I’ve brought along tons of stuff I didn’t need so you don’t have to. Here’s what you can leave off your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list:
This greatly depends though. If you are hiking with a guide/as a group, you won’t need a power bank. You can charge your phone every night in your accommodation. If you are hiking alone or will be camping, this is much more necessary! Otherwise, it’s way too heavy and just not needed.
Book or Kindle
I brought a book thinking I would read it at night or while relaxing. That definitely did not happen. I never opened it. Instead, I was either talking to other hikers, people in my group, or passing out cold. Instead, pack a handful of crossword puzzles or something else lightweight to bring on the plane and avoid bringing along big books or heavy electronics.
Plain and simple, you will not need bug repellent on the TMB. There was only one day when there were a bunch of annoying gnats on the trail, but nothing that was biting or stinging. Otherwise, I have never encountered a single mosquito or really anything else at all.
Unless you’ll be hiking alone or camping, you really don’t need a headlamp. We have flashlights on our cell phones for when you need to see around the refuge at night. Only bring a headlamp if you think you’ll be out in the darkness for a good amount of time. With a guide or hiking group, you’ll arrive to your accommodation with plenty of sunlight left.
Binoculars are great for wildlife spotting, but they’re heavy and bulky. My point-and-shoot camera has a 50x zoom lens which is actually more than my binoculars. So whenever I wanted to see animals far away, I just used my camera. This is another example of avoiding packing redundancy.
There is so much fresh, clean, and cold water available along the Tour du Mont Blanc. This goes for refuges, towns, and random water sources along the trail. There should (hopefully) never be a time when you’ll need to drink out of streams or anything.
Even though I have them and brought them and wore them, I’m still not really sure the point of sock liners. I think they’re supposed to help with blisters? If this is something that affects you, perhaps you will want to look into this. Otherwise, my sock liners were just something annoying I had to deal with unnecessarily.
Tour du Mont Blanc packing list: Adjustments
What you have in this list is what I brought, as someone who hiked with a guided group and utilized luggage transfer. If you are not hiking this way, you’ll want to pack a little differently. For instance…
If you are not using bag transfer:
- Bring just a simple pair of flip flops as your backup shoe
- Bring fewer clothes (but you’ll have to make sure you wash them every night)
- Leave optional items behind. You’ll have to get creative—use a rock as a camera stand, etc.
- Make photocopies of only the guidebook pages you’ll need to save space and weight
- Consider consolidating your hygiene products or book hotels instead of refuges that might offer things like shampoo, soap, etc.
If you’re not hiking with a guide, you’ll also need to pack:
- The proper to-scale TMB maps
- Perhaps a GPS if you’re anything like me
- A compass and the knowledge of how to use it and where you’re going
- Well thought-out contingency plans
If you’re hiking with a friend or group of friends, you can share the load. For instance, between all of you you’ll only need one of each:
- First aid kit
- Toilet paper roll
- Full size bottle of sunscreen
- Outlet adapter
- Phone charger
I know this seems like a lot, but figuring out your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list is one of the most important aspects of this incredible adventure. Best of luck! Have questions? Ask in the comments below and potentially help other future hikers as well!
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