03 Aug 20

What to pack for the European Alps

Amanda Thompson European Alps

Generally speaking, you should pack as lightly as possible and we recommend keeping the weight under 12kg for your main luggage. Because of limited space available in the vehicle for luggage transfers you should only bring essential items on the trip. If you need to bring a bag for extra items/clothing this can be left back in Chamonix or Calalzo.

Your main luggage is transported daily for you throughout the trip, so you carry only a daypack during the day.

Suitcases are not recommended for this trip. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack or duffel, as you will need to carry this each night up stairs in your accommodation.

You will also need a good hiking day pack when out walking to carry clothing and personal effects such as a camera, sunscreen, water, snacks, blister kit.

Packing list

Travel Documents

  • Travel insurance, air ticket
  • Credit card & spending money

Personal Items

  • Blister kit, rehydration salts and any personal medication your use
  • Alarm clock and LED head torch
  • Water bottles or Camel Back system (2-3 litres recommended)
  • Sunscreen, hat and high UV sunglasses
  • Comfortable hiking daypack (30L+) with padded shoulder support 
& waist straps
  • Waterproof bags for pack rain protection while walking (garbage bags are fine)

Clothing

  • Well worn-in hiking boots with good ankle support
  • 3 pairs of walking socks
  • 3 t-shirts (lightweight quick drying tech fabric) or long sleeved trekking shirts – no cotton
  • 1 pair of shorts and at least one lightweight trousers (for walking in avoid wearing jeans!)
  • Thermals for sleeping
  • Warm fleece, sweater, hat, gloves (cold evenings and passes)
  • Waterproof, breathable jacket and over trousers (Goretex or similar); this is a must as the weather can change rapidly in the Alps and even in the middle of summer
  • Spare pair of flip flops/trainers for inside refuges or if boots are wet; after a long day trekking it’s great to get your feet out of closed shoes and let them breathe
  • Broad brimmed sunhat
  • Walking poles (highly recommended) – good for balance and taking the weight off your knees on descents; can be hired in Chamonix

Expect temperatures of up to 20-30°C at lower altitudes. At night, temperature can fall below 10°C. Being in high mountains, you should prepare for all weather conditions. Higher altitudes will always be cool and if cloud sets in, it can be cold and damp. It is not unusual for snow to be on the passes into summer after a cold spring, your local guide will advise of track and weather conditions.

Other items

  • Camera and spare batteries
  • Reading and writing material
  • Knee brace; not essential but useful for injury
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Miniatures of your usual toiletries
  • Snacks (can be purchased locally)
  • Swiss army knife
  • Mobile and charger
  • Padlock for bag
  • European plug adapter

The right gear can make any trip just that bit more enjoyable.

Amanda Thompson

Written By

Amanda Thompson

Amanda is RAW Travel's specialist for the European Alps. With a passion for mountain treks and a wealth of industry experience, she's your go-to guru for planning the ultimate adventure. Former PT turned trekking expert, Amanda has the best training tips and insights to ensure your journey through the Alps is nothing short of epic.

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