What to pack for the Tour du Mont Blanc
Out of all of the long-distance walks in Europe, the Tour du Mont Blanc is undoubtedly the most popular and once you start trekking, it's not hard to see why. With outstanding views that'll have you feeling like you're on top of the world, this walk, while it might be beautiful, isn't for the faint-hearted. A whopping 170km in length and with an ascension of approximately 10,000 metres, the Tour du Mont Blanc will take you several days so it's paramount that you pack the right equipment and clothing items with you for the trek ahead. If you don't know where to start or what you should even pack, we've put together a list of all the essentials you'll need to make your trek a stress-free one.
1. Wet weather clothing
Whether you're trekking in the summer months or in the seasons of spring or autumn, you should always be prepared for light showers or unexpected heavier rainfall. This means you should be packing water-resistant clothing such as pants, jackets, and other wet weather gear.
While packing extra clothing might not be high on your priority list, making sure you have clothing that can be easily put on or taken off during your trek is handy in case of unpredictable weather conditions. Also, wearing multiple layers allows you to keep warm in the mornings and then cool off later in the day when the sun comes out ensuring you're always at a comfortable temperature. Think of things like neck warmers, thermal clothing, jackets, and gloves.
Getting sunstroke or something equivalent is definitely not ideal when you've got lots of trekking ahead of you so packing appropriate sun protection is a must. Instead of packing a baseball cap, try packing a hat that's more of a sun cap with flaps that'll protect your neck.
4. Hiking shoes
Before you even think about attempting the Tour du Mont Blanc, make sure you have extremely comfortable, worn-in hiking shoes. And no, we're not talking about new hiking shoes. If you have bought new shoes for the trip, make sure you wear them multiple times before you go as you don't want to develop several blisters on the first day of the trek.
As essential as packing your hiking shoes, you simply cannot attempt the Tour du Mont Blanc without a sufficient backpack. While the bag itself needs to be lightweight, it also needs to be big enough to fit all of your daily essentials such as a first aid kit, a reusable drink bottle, retractable hiking poles, and various snacks for the trek.
7. Mini first aid kit
Since the Tour du Mont Blanc takes you over tough and sometimes challenging terrain, being prepared for the most common ailments and medical situations is super important. Whether you've got a blister from the hiking shoes you thought were going to be comfortable and need a band-aid or you've woken up with a headache, packing a mini first aid kit that's small enough to carry in your backpack is a great idea.
8. Reusable drink bottle
This one is a no-brainer. The Tour du Mont Blanc is physically demanding and you'll need to make sure you're fully hydrated before attempting to trek for several hours. At certain times you'll also need to rehydrate during the trek, and thankfully there are a few stops along the way where you can fill up a reusable drink bottle so packing one in your backpack is a smart choice.
Regardless of which season you're travelling in, you should always remember to pack sunscreen with you and apply it every day before you head out on your daily adventures. While it might seem like you don't need it in Winter, the UV rays can still be relatively high (even if the weather is overcast) and the last thing you need to be dealing with is sunburn during your long-distance trek.
10. Retractable hiking poles
Since the Tour du Mont Blanc requires you to walk for multiple hours over several days, your lower body is going to need a helping hand every once in a while. To take the pressure off your legs, consider packing a pair of retractable and shock-resistant hiking poles. This will ensure you're able to carry them with you in your backpack when you don't need them but can whip them out when you're feeling a bit tired.
9. Visitors Guide/trek notes
If you're travelling on our Hike the Tour du Mont Blanc trip then your Intrepid leader will already be knowledgeable on where to go and how best to hike the mountain. However, if you want to be extra prepared then packing trekking notes or a Mont Blanc visitors guide with you is a worthwhile thing to do. This will just give you extra information on what to expect, various weather conditions you could encounter, and any warnings you should heed.
10. Head torch
While this item might not be deemed necessary due to the fact that if you're trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc with Intrepid you'll always have a guide, but, if you have the room, packing a head torch can sometimes come in handy, especially if you get up to trek early in the morning or after the sun goes down at night. A head torch can also be a good thing if visibility is low at any point during the trek due to weather conditions etc.