The packing process for the Tour du Mont Blanc is a delicate thing, coming from someone who’s been there, done that. But you can save time, energy and frustration by adhering to my packing list below!
You’ll want to bring enough so that you can happily experience this hike of a lifetime, but you don’t want to pack so much to the point that you’re struggling out there on the trails.
If you’re opting for a guided hiking experience, you’ll have the option to pay for luggage transfer, which is helpful should you want to bring more luxury items.
Having said that, the Tour du Mont Blanc packing list below is geared towards individuals who are opting out of luggage transfer, so it’ll be the bare minimum you’ll need to be comfortable out there.
*Please note: All of the products listed in this post are my personal tried and true recommendations and may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running. Thanks!
Table of Contents
Tour Du Mont Blanc Packing List: Hiking Gear
1. Hiking backpack
For multi-day or weeklong backpacking trips where you’ll be carrying all of your gear, you’re going to want to go with something ranging from 50 to 80 liters.
I am a huge fan of Osprey bags due to their genius design and high quality (they are my personal favorites)! One great thing about the Osprey Aura (women) and the Osprey Atmos (men) is that you can remove the top lid for shorter hikes, thereby turning them into a smaller, less bulky packs.
Personally, I went with the Osprey Aura for the TMB. Given the weight I was carrying on my back, it provided so much comfort! The attached hip belt was a total game-changer.
If you’re going ultralight or getting luggage transfer, a 35 to 45 liter backpack is ideal.
My friend who was opting in for luggage transfer used the Osprey Renn 50 on the trail, which was perfect in size for the amount of gear she had for the day.
3. Rain Cover
If your backpack doesn’t come with a rain cover, the Osprey Ultralight Rain Cover is a good one to consider getting. A rain cover is essential, given the unpredictability of mountain weather.
Take my personal experience for example. I went on my trek in late July, when the weather is supposed to be at its best. Despite that, it rained on the day before we started our trek, as well as on day 7 of our trek.
No matter when your TMB hike is scheduled for, it’s best to come prepared with a backpack rain cover!
4. Overnight Bag or Luggage
Likely, your luggage transfer overnight bag will need to stay under 25 pounds (for most baggage operators).
NOTE: Keep in mind you won’t have access to this during the day, so you will need to pack your daytime necessities in your main hiking backpack.
5. Hiking Boots
6. Rain Shell or Rain Jacket
It is definitely necessary to be prepared for rain as it’s likely to come and go in the Alps during your hike.
I’d personally go with a rainshell, as it’s more lightweight. You probably won’t actually need a jacket that provides extra warmth since you’ll be warm from all the hiking and physical activity.
7. Trekking Poles
A must-have item if you want to save your legs from torture.
I brought Komperdells with me and they were nothing but reliable. But honestly, any pair of trekking poles from REI will suffice!
8. Moisture-Wicking Shirts
Merino wool tops are your best option, and three shirts will be enough. They’re able to keep you warm on those cooler mornings and keep you cool throughout those warmer afternoons. Plus, you can wear them the next day and they won’t be stinky!
9. Hiking Pants
As with shirts, three pairs of hiking pants will suffice.
In terms of hiking pants for men, I hear great things about the Prana Stretch Zion. I also found that the 1 pair of hiking shorts I brought came in handy for the warmer days (I wore these about 3 times). Alternatively, zip off pants work well if you want to kill two birds with one stone.
10. Lightweight Fleece/Hoodie
Trust me, mornings and nights in the Alps will be chilly, even in the middle of summer. I love, love, love my trusty Patagonia Better Sweater for its warmth factor!
11. Sports Bras
2-3 sports bras will do for women. Consider that some days, you might be too lazy or tired to want to do post-hike laundry. In that case, you might want to bring more.
I found 3 to be the perfect amount of sports bras to have.
12. Waterproof Pants
If you want to be extra prepared for rain (or if you know there will be rain in the forecast), consider bringing waterproof pants.
I like this pair because I’ve found it to be the best bang for your buck. Since you probably won’t be wearing them too often, they don’t need to be super high-tech or expensive.
Alternatively, if you don’t mind a little wetness, you can just buy a disposable poncho that’s long enough to shield your legs from the rain.
13. Hiking Socks
I brought 3 pairs of medium weight wool socks along with me on my hike–this was the perfect amount!
These socks provide a good amount of cushioning in the heel and ball of the foot for hiking and backpacking. You can also go with lightweight wool socks as well, but note they are relatively thin with some light cushioning in key places like the heel and ball of the foot.
Similar to the wool tops, wool socks can be worn multiple times in between washes, which is perfect because you don’t want to be lugging around 10 pairs of anything in your backpack.
14. Sock Liners
Don’t forget these for your Tour du Mont Blanc hike! The purpose of sock liners is to protect your feet from all the unnecessary rubbing and abrasion that hiking socks can cause.
I wore sock liners and got zero blisters, while my friend did NOT wear sock liners and ended up with 6 bubbly blisters on one foot… better to be safe than sorry.
1-2 pairs of sock liners should do.
You will definitely want to get a hat for the TMB as you’ll be hiking under the sun for hours on end. Protect your face!
16. Warm Hat/Gloves
A pair of gloves and a light beanie are good to have just in case you encounter cooler weather in the mountains.
Though we hiked in late July, there were definitely some cooler, wetter mornings (when we started hiking before 8am) where the gloves really came in handy.
17. A Nicer Outfit/Dress
Optional. In some cases, you’ll be staying within the fancier alpine villages.
This could be a good opportunity to dress up a bit and get out of your hiking clothes!
Tour Du Mont Blanc Packing List: Post-Hike Gear
Aside from the gear that you’re going to need while hiking, you will also want to bring along stuff for when you’re resting up after a long day of hiking.
18. Quick-Drying Camp Towel
Lightweight and quick-drying, what else could you ask for? Not all of the accommodations you stay at will provide you with towels, so do bring one of your own.
I bought this one for the trip.
If you plan on swimming in the alpine lakes or hotel pools, consider bringing along 1 swimsuit.
Again, this is only needed if you are going to swim in alpine lakes or pools during your downtime.
20. Sleeping Bag Liner
A sleeping bag liner is required by the mountain huts. You might not need this for hotels, but some of the beds in the refuges and mountain huts do NOT come with sheets (gross). For hygienic purposes and germaphobic sanity, get yourself a liner!
If you’re trying to invest in your outdoor gear and would like something more lightweight with added warmth, I would recommend splurging on the Sea To Summit Reactor Thermolite liner, which you can use for other backpacking/camping trips.
For a more affordable option, this one will do just fine.
21. Casual Loungewear and Pajamas
A good pair of stretchy leggings can double as sleeping pants as well as hiking pants. I brought my Lululemon leggings, which I hiked in on certain days and slept in for others. They really are that comfortable!
As I was carrying everything on my back, I wanted to consolidate things and didn’t bother with a separate set of pajamas.
22. Flip Flops/Slippers
Bring a pair of waterproof slippers to use in the communal showers and for hanging out in the huts. Some huts won’t allow you to wear your hiking boots around indoors, but they do have communal Crocs that you can borrow.
I personally love my Oofos Recovery Slides, they’re literally meant to reduce the stress on your feet, joints & back.
You’ll also want a comfortable, lighter pair of running shoes (such as the Adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure) to give your feet a rest from the hiking boots.
If you can somehow make one pair of shoes count for both purposes, even better.
You will find that you’ll have a lot of downtime once you finish hiking for the day. If you enjoy reading, bring a book or a Kindle.
Tour Du Mont Blanc Packing List: Hydration/Nutrition
24. Nuun Tablets
You’ll be burning so many calories and sweating out so much. Take some electrolyte tablets with your water to replenish your body throughout the day. If you’re bringing a hydration reservoir system, you might want to bring a separate water bottle for this.
25. Water Reservoir
Bring a reservoir with a bite valve and stick it in your backpack for easy access to water while hiking. A 2-liter reservoir will do just fine as there are always places to refill water along the trail.
26. Stinger Waffles
My absolute favorite way to get quick energy (bikers and hikers also love these!). Stinger waffles taste SO GOOD, and they come in different flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, and more!
27. Stinger Energy Chews
They’re like little candy gummies, and they really do give you fast energy when you start to feel drained or sluggish while hiking. One girl in our group bought 8 packs and shared with the others. Motivation by food, it was great.
Tour Du Mont Blanc Packing List: Toiletries
28. Laundry Soap
Bring a super-concentrated soap so you can do your own laundry at the huts/hotels. Your clothes will be stinky, and you will definitely want to wash things.
29. Compeed Blister Cushions
You never know when a blister might form on your feet! While I did not personally get any during my hike, my friends did–they were so thankful that I had these with me!
In case of blisters, it’s great to have these assorted blister bandaids on hand.
30. Eye Mask and Ear Plugs
Must, must, must–especially if you’re staying in hostel-style mountain huts!
Many mountain huts are essentially dormitory-style where you share rooms with other hikers. They can get loud with the snoring, so bringing an eye mask set with earplugs is essential.
Very, very important to have as you’ll be applying sunscreen multiple times a day. Don’t forget your ears (this was the only place where I almost burned)!
32. All Other Toiletries
All the usuals for showering, oral hygiene, etc. You know what you typically need better than I do!
33. Travel Documents
Airline tickets, printed out confirmations/itineraries, valid passport, extra passport photos.
Local currency and bank cards. You’ll need euros for France and Italy, Swiss francs for Switzerland.
35. Packing Cubes
You need to get these packing cubes, they are amazing at creating space in your luggage that you never thought you had. However you want to organize your clothes— by day, by outfit, by type—these will be the most useful thing you have in your packing artillery.
You’ll no longer need to dig through the entire suitcase for that one thing you’re looking for, because you’ll know exactly where it’s at.
36. Travel Adapter
Necessary if you’re coming from the USA.
This one here is tried and trusted. It got me through my 3.5 months in Europe without any issues at all!
37. Power Bank
Some refuges and mountain huts will shut off their power at a specific time after dinner.
Others will only have chargers in the communal dining area (you’ll be fighting with other guests to get a spot to plug your phone/camera in).
If you’ll be relying on your electronics, don’t forget the external battery. The more compact the better.
38. Plastic Bags
For garbage of all sorts. There will not be garbage cans on the trail and you will need to carry your trash until you reach the next refuge or town.
39. Mini First Aid Kit
If you’re going on a guided tour, your guide will likely have this. If you’re doing self-guided, make sure you remember to bring one.
Make sure you bring ibuprofen for the ongoing soreness that’ll develop as you hike, EpiPens/allergy pills for allergies, as well as whatever else is necessary.
It definitely gets sunny on the trails, so having sunglasses is important for eye protection.
While you’re at it, why not accessorize your accessories? Bringing a pair of sunglasses straps can also be convenient for putting them on/taking them off in a jiffy. And making sure they don’t get lost!
Optional, but will be convenient to have.
In some mountain huts, the bathrooms are in a separate building from where you’ll be sleeping. If you use the bathroom in the middle of the night, you may need this. Or use your phone’s light.
43. Massage Ball
This was the best thing in my bag, hands down! Especially after a long day of prolonged hiking.
Roll a massage ball on your legs, upper back, and under your feet whenever you have downtime to undo that tension and soreness you’ve built up over the course of the day. Bring this one, or if you’re going with friends, bring a 3-pack and share with your friends!
Lots of downtime after hiking and before bed to record your experiences and memories!
45. Tissues/Hand Wipes
Always a good idea for hygienic purposes!
Lessons Learned: Things I Packed But Didn’t Need
Everything in this section, in my opinion, is optional!
I asked my guide about this, and he noted because we were that high up, mosquitos are not really a thing. From personal experience, there weren’t any mosquitos on the trail.
However, there was one occasion where I was hiking while wearing shorts and felt something ‘bite’ my calf, resulting in a few itchy red bites that went away overnight. There are a lot of flying creatures on the trail, but very few of them actually want to eat you.
Fancy Thermal/Wool Underwear
If you don’t own these, save your money. Regular undies did just fine for me.
And that about wraps up your Tour du Mont Blanc essentials packing list!
Now that you know precisely what gear to bring for your Tour du Mont Blanc trek, head on over to read my post on how the actual TMB experience went. Happy hiking!