Hiking Mont Blanc is a dream for many. This 170km route through the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps is one of the most beautiful treks in Europe, if not the world.
However, knowing what to pack for Mont Blanc can be daunting. Luckily we’ve created the ultimate Tour du Mont Blanc packing list.
Our TMB packing list includes all the essentials to help you explore this famed route.
Let's get started.
Packing List for Tour du Mont Blanc
Before deciding what to take with you when hiking Mont Blanc, you need to understand the ideal weight of your backpack. Remember, you will walk for about 7 - 8 hours daily, so your gear should not be too heavy.
A good rule of thumb for the lower parts of the trail is to pack items that weigh no more than 20% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 80kg, your backpack should not exceed 16kg.
We recommend keeping your backpack around 10kg.
You may be dealing with many issues, including altitude sickness and fatigue. The lighter you pack, the easier the trek will be.
Don't assume that the extra 1kg won't make a difference - it will! Ensure every item in your backpack is essential and doesn’t add unnecessary weight.
Let's look at the essential items you should pack for your Tour du Mont Blanc trek.
A 25-35 litre backpack is usually the perfect size for the Tour du Mont Blanc if you’re staying in accommodation. Make sure it has chest and hip straps, which will help distribute the weight evenly.
You'll need a bigger backpack if you plan to camp along the route. Something around 55- 65 litres should do the trick. The bag should be big enough to include a tent, sleeping bag, and other camping gear. Osprey are also my preferred manufacturer for camping backpacks for hiking.
A good backpack will have enough space for all your belongings. It shouldn’t be too big or bulky. It should also be comfortable to wear, even when fully packed.
To ensure the backpack you choose will serve you well during your hike, follow our tips:
- Buy the backpack three months before the trek: You will need a lot of time to train with your backpack and ensure it's comfortable. Buy it early and use it for day hikes before your big trek. This will also give you time to ensure it has all the needed features.
- Wear the backpack around the house: Wearing your gear around the house will help you get used to the feel of it. You’ll quickly learn how your backpack distributes weight.
- Choose a backpack with many compartments: Extra compartments will help you organise your belongings and ensure they are easily accessible during your hike.
- Ensure the backpack is waterproof: There’s no foul weather—only wrong gear. You never know when you will get caught in a rainstorm. Your backpack should have a rain cover, protecting your belongings from the elements.
- Get a bag with a frame: A frame will help distribute the weight evenly and make your hike much more comfortable.
There are several types of footwear to include in your Mont Blanc packing list. They include:
Hiking boots are a must for this hike. They will provide the support and stability you need on uneven terrain. They will also protect your feet from rocks and roots.
When choosing hiking boots, make sure they are comfortable and fit well. They should also have good traction to prevent you from slipping.
The best boots for hiking Mont Blanc should have a sturdy sole, good ankle support, and a comfortable insole. If you have kids, make sure their hiking boots fit well too.
Test out your hiking boots before the big day. Go on a few day hikes and see how they feel. You can also wear them around the house to get a feel for them.
Flip-flops Or Refuge Slippers
You can’t wear your hiking boots inside the Mont Blanc refuges. Typically you keep your hiking boots in an allocated area or boot room.
The refuges provide crocs or flip-flops that you can wear in the common areas. This is to keep the dirt and mud out of the sleeping and eating areas. It also helps reduce the spread of germs.
If you don't want to wear the crocs provided, you can always pack your own sandals or refuge slippers. These can be easily slipped on and off when entering and leaving the common areas.
Ensure the flip-flops you pack are comfortable and easy to walk in. They should also have an excellent grip to prevent you from slipping.
You will need several pairs of hiking socks for your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list. Hiking socks should be made of moisture-wicking material, such as wool or synthetic fabric.
You will be doing a lot of walking, and your feet will sweat. Synthetic material will keep your feet dry and prevent blisters.
Make sure the socks you pack are comfortable and fit well. They should also sit high enough to protect your ankles from rubbing against your boots.
You must pack crampons if you are hiking in the winter or spring. Crampons are spikes that attach to your boots and provide traction on ice and snow.
When choosing crampons, make sure they are compatible with your hiking boots. They should also be easy to put on and take off.
The best crampons are made of stainless steel and have 12 - 18 spikes.
Trekking poles are a must for this hike. They will help you maintain balance and stability on uneven terrain. They will also take some of the strain off your knees and hips.
When choosing trekking poles, make sure they are adjustable. You can adjust them to your height and the terrain you will be walking on.
Choosing poles made of lightweight materials, such as aluminium or carbon fibre, is also important. The lighter they are, the easier it’ll be to carry them on your hike.
The clothing you pack will depend on the time of year you are hiking. In the summer, you will need to pack light, breathable clothing. So, include shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops.
You must pack layers if you are hiking in the spring or fall. This way, you can adjust your clothing to the changing weather conditions.
In the winter, you will need to pack warm, insulated clothing. Think of including a down jacket, fleece, and thermal underwear.
Make sure the clothing you pack is comfortable and easy to move in.
You should also avoid cotton fabrics, as they tend to absorb sweat and take a long time to dry. Instead, choose synthetic or wool fabrics that dry quickly.
Jacket (Weatherproof & Waterproof)
You will need a weatherproof and waterproof jacket for your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list. The weather can change quickly in the mountains.
Your jacket should be made of Gore-Tex or another similar material. This material will ensure you stay dry in the rain and snow.
The jacket should also have a hood to protect your head from the elements. Make sure it is big enough to fit over all your other layers of clothing.
Sleeping Bag Liner
A sleeping bag liner is mandatory in all the refuges on the TMB. You can rent one in the refuges, but it's worth bring your own. A sleeping bag liner is a thin cotton, silk or synthetic fabric you put inside your sleeping bag or under your blanket. This liner adds an extra layer of warmth and comfort.
When choosing a sleeping bag liner, make sure it is made of breathable fabric. The thin, breathable fabric prevents you from getting too hot at night.
It is also important to choose a liner that is easy to wash. You’ll find it’s easier to keep it clean during your hike.
If you plan to camp for your TMB hike, then you should bring a 4-season sleeping bag.
If you’re planning to camp along the Tour du Mont Blanc route, a tent is a must for your packing list. Since you’ll spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, you’ll want a comfortable place to sleep at night.
The best tents for the Tour du Mont Blanc are lightweight, weatherproof, and easy to set up. They are also big enough to fit your gear but not so big that they are cumbersome to carry.
The weather in the Alps can be unpredictable, so it is crucial to have a tent that can withstand high winds and heavy rains.
Here are our recommendations on the good lightweight tents.
You’ll want to take a few electronics on your Tour du Mont Blanc adventure.
- Camera: A camera is a must. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to capture the stunning scenery.
- GPS: A GPS device can help keep track of your location. You can also use it to map out your route and plan your daily hikes.
- Flashlight: A flashlight can be helpful for early morning hikes or late-night emergencies. Make sure to pack extra batteries, as you may not have access to a power source for a while.
- Entertainment: A portable Bluetooth speaker is a great way to listen to music or audiobooks while you hike. It can also be used for group entertainment in the evenings.
Carry a portable USB multi-socket charger to charge all your electronic devices simultaneously. A power bank is also good, as some more remote areas may not have outlets to plug into.
A first-aid kit is essential, as you may need to treat minor injuries while on the trail. Bandages, antibiotic ointment, and pain relievers are all excellent items to have on hand.
Carrying a small knife can help cut rope, open food packages, and help with other tasks.
Include packing a whistle. You can use a whistle to signal for help if you get lost or injured. If you are in a group, ensure every member has their own whistle.
Make sure to pack your passport and any other necessary travel documents.
I recommend getting travel insurance for the TMB hike. SafetyWing are a great provider. They provide convenient and cost-effective Medical Travel Insurance for travellers. They also have low-cost monthly plans, fast customer service, and a simple claims process, making them ideal for insurance seekers.
It is a good idea to make copies of all your important documents, in case you lose the originals.
Store the copies in a different location than the originals. For instance, you can store them in your backpack or a secure place at your campsite.
There are a few other things you should bring along on your Tour du Mont Blanc adventure. They include:
- Sunscreen: The sun can be intense at high altitudes, so pack sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Bug spray: Mosquitoes and other insects can be a nuisance, so it is good to have bug spray on hand.
- Sunhat: A wide-brimmed sunhat will protect your face and neck from the sun.
- Water bottle: You must stay hydrated while hiking, so always carry a water bottle.
- Gaiters: Gaiters are worn over your boots to keep debris and water out. They are instrumental in wet or muddy conditions.
Tour Du Mont Blanc Packing Checklist
Hiking The Trail
- Hiking boots
- Hiking shorts
- Hiking socks
- Wicking shirt
- Fleece jacket
- Rain jacket
- Trekking poles
- Bug spray
- Bear horn
- First-aid kit
For The Refuges
- Head torch
- Flip flops
- Warm hat
- Sleeping bag
- Thermal underwear
- Eye mask
- Power bank
- USB multi-socket charger
- Portable Bluetooth speaker
- Sleeping bag liner
- Travel towel
- First aid kit
- Foil blanket
- Pen knife
Your First-Aid Kit
- Compeed blister plasters
- Steroid cream
- Rehydration sachets
- Antibiotic ointment
- Safety pins
- Cotton wool
- Rehydration salt sachets
- Kinesiology tape
- Arnica oil
- Lip balm
- Bug spray
- Toilet roll
- Hand sanitiser
- Brush and toothpaste
- Makeup (just the basics)
- Feminine hygiene products
- Travel Shampoo
- A book or kindle
- Journal and pen
- Cards or other games
- Small foot massage ball
- Packing cube
- Camera and tripod
- Travel insurance documents
- Visas and permits
- Cash in small denominations
- Emergency contact information
- Copy of important documents
Conquer The Tour Du Mont Blanc With This Packing List
Touring Mont Blanc is a fantastic experience that should be on everyone's bucket list. Our comprehensive packing list will prepare you for anything the trail throws your way.
Ensure you hike this beautiful mountain with all the right gear so you can make the most of your trip. Good luck!