Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List: What You Need to Bring

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This Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List contains everything you need for your Tour du Mont Blanc hike.

It can also be intimidating knowing what to pack for a long-distance trek, especially when you’re carrying everything yourself and you’re equally concerned about having the essentials, and the weight of carrying it.

You’re excited about your trip, and the TMB is definitely awe-inspiring as you circumnavigate Mont Blanc, the second-highest mountain in Europe but there’s also a lot to figure out. My preferred way of doing it is as a self-guided trip. Check out our 6, 7 and 10-day TMB Self-Guided and Guided Tours.

If you’re just looking for further information, then check out  Tour du Mont Blanc: How to Plan for this Epic Trek.

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My Experience of Packing for the Tour du Mont Blanc

The TMB was my first real long-distance hike.   I had only a vague idea of what to pack since most of my other hiking trips were day hikes or just an overnight backcountry camping trip.

When I first laid everything out on my bed and tried to stuff it in my backpack, a third of it didn’t fit. The next attempt, I managed to get it closed, but just barely.

After strapping it up and staggering a few steps, I quickly realized that if I was having a hard time making it across my bedroom, I had no chance of making it 160km across mountain passes every day.

So I reduced again. I can’t emphasize how important it is to pack in advance and see if you can carry your backpack. It’s also a great idea to do some practice hikes with the equivalent weight of what you plan to bring with you. Not only will your back and shoulders thank you, but it will also help build the muscles that you need.

Reflecting on my TMB  afterwards I probably overpacked a bit. But was overall happy with my packing list. I’ve since done other similar trips and have modified this packing list for the Tour du Mont Blanc to reflect what you actually need. Since you often find that you don’t use or need everything that you bring with you.

The Tour du Mont Blanc packing list will also work for our 7, 11 and 14-day Haute Route.


How to Use this Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List:

This TMB Packing List assumes that you will be staying in refuges, and taking between 7 – 12 days to do the hike, as I did when I hiked the TMB. If you plan to sleep in a tent, of course, you would need camping gear. You’d also need to decide whether you would be cooking your own food or eating at a nearby refuge.

It also assumes that you will be carrying your own backpack. You’ll need a 60-L backpack. If you pack really light you can get away with a 45-litre backpack, which I used.

If you don’t want to carry your own backpack, then I highly recommend doing one of our Tour du Mont Blanc Self-Guided Tours.  We can organize luggage transfer for you so that you just have to carry your day backpack.  If you’re having your luggage transferred daily, a 35-L backpack is fine. Check out this day hiking packing list if you choose that option.

Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List: Clothing

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Description: Smartwool top
It repels odour. And you can actually wear it multiple days without washing it and it really doesn’t smell, wicks away moisture and dries quickly. It’s also really soft on the skin.

Price Range: from $70 to $140

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Description: 2 Quick-dry moisture-wicking shirts
Only 2 is enough if they are long-sleeved with the option to roll the sleeves up, otherwise, bring 2 short-sleeve and 1 long-sleeve shirt.

Price Range: from $8 to $55

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Description: Lightweight fleece with hood
This should be another warm layer. Make sure to choose one that’s lightweight and warm. It is your mid-layer. I bring one on every single hike – even if it’s hot outside.

Price Range: from $25 to $120

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Description: Waterproof shell with hood
It will likely rain at some point while you’re hiking the TMB. Shells don’t take up much room. It will save you in rain, hail or even snowstorm.

Price Range: from$35 to $170

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Description: Waterproof pants
Remember, rain is a high possibility at some point during your TMB. I only wore mine one day but was glad to have them.

Price Range: from $26 to $130

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Description: 2 pairs of Convertible hiking pants
Look for the kind that zip off into shorts. This saves you from having to bring both pants and shorts.

Price Range: from $20 to $160

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Description: Thermal leggings
You’ll want to bring these if you’re hiking the TMB in June or September. It might get chilli.

Price Range: from $8 to $72

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Description: 3 pairs of moisture-wicking hiking socks
Socks are one item you don’t want to cheap out on. A good pair of socks will help prevent blisters by wicking the moisture away. They’ll also help regulate your foot temperature.

Price Range: from $15 to $65

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Description: Light gloves
If you’re going in July and August, light gloves are fine but if you’re going in June or Sep, then bring warmer ones as well.

Price Range: from $10 to $55

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Description: Neckwarmer
This is one of my favourite pieces of gear and takes up almost no space.

Price Range: from $8 to $16

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Description: Warm hat
Or a toque as us Canadians call it 🙂

Price Range: from $8 to $35

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Description: Dry Bag
For your electronics and passport.

Price Range: from $8 to 45

What to Pack for the Tour du Mont Blanc: Hiking Gear 

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Description: Anti-shock & retractable hiking poles
To reduce the pressure off your lower body. Buy the retractable kind so that you can carry them on your backpack when you’re not using them.

Price Range: from $20 to $95

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Description: Hiking boots
Choose an ankle-height pair that is waterproof or water-resistant. VERY IMPORTANT: Be sure to break them in before you start the Tour du Mont Blanc. You don’t want to be in constant agony because of blisters.

Price Range: from $70 to $450

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Description: 35-45L Backpack
The size you choose will depend on how much you pack. Look for one that comes with a built-in rain cover.

Price Range: from $50 to $400

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Description: Gaiters
Very useful in case of rain or walking through deep snow banks. Plus they keep tiny rocks from getting in your boots.

Price Range: from $30 to $100

quick dry underwear

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Description: 3 pairs of quick-dry underwear
They save a lot of space by not having to bring so many pairs.

Price Range: from $10 to $50

day-hiking pack list - sports bra

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Description: Sports bra
You should also take a regular bra for hanging out at the hut. You don’t want to have to put on a sweaty bra after showering, yuck.

Price Range: from $10 to $150

Sun Cap

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Description: Baseball/sun cap
You definitely don’t want to get sunstroke while hiking so bring some kind of hat that will protect you from the sun.

Price Range: from $10 to $90

 
 

Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List: After Hiking Clothing 

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Description: Hut shoes
Many huts do not allow regular shoes in certain areas. Bring a pair of hut shoes, spa shoes, or slippers to wear indoors. Some, but not all huts will provide these. UPDATE: DUE TO COVID, HUTS ARE NO LONGER PROVIDING THESE SO BRING YOUR OWN.

Price Range: from $15 to $75

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Description: Nightshirt or something to sleep in
You may be sharing a room with others. Even if you have your own private room, you will be sharing a bathroom, so bring something that covers everything. I.e. leave the negligee at home.

Price Range: from $15 to $50

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Description: ALPS Mountaineering MicroFiber Rectangle Sleeping Bag Liner
The refuges provide blankets and a pillow. A sleeping bag liner serves as a barrier between you and the blankets. Bring this even if you’re staying in private rooms since some but not all accommodations provide linens.

Price Range: from $13 to $60

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Description: Comfortable pair of casual pants
You’ll wear these after hiking and having dinner in the refuges.

Price Range: from $12 to $55

Food and Snacks to Pack for the Tour du Mont Blanc

Nutritious Snacks that don’t squish easily. Nuts and dried fruit are good choices. Crackers and wafers get crushed easy and chocolate melts. If you crave something sweet, then gummy bears are a better choice than chocolate since they don’t melt. If you have any food allergies, like me, I’m Celiac so can’t eat any gluten, then bring a few extra snacks in case the refuges aren’t able to accommodate your allergy or forget, as happened to me on a couple of occasions.

Note: Breakfast and dinner are both served in the refuge. You have the option to purchase a to-go lunch from them which is what we did. The other option is to bring more food or plan to stop at one of the refuges en route for lunch. If you choose the last option, prepare to do more route planning so that you don’t end up eating lunch at 10:00 am or 4:00 pm.

Staying Hydrated on the TMB

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Description: 4 liters of water
Some days you may only need 3 litres, and on most days there will be a refuge en route where you can fill up your water bottle.

Price Range: from $10 to $65

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Description: Electrolyte tablets
These are very helpful near the end of the day when you’re ready to power out, but still have more hiking to do.

Price Range: from $10 to $50

Miscellaneous Stuff to Pack for the Tour du Mont Blanc

Due to COVID, you’ll also need a face mask which is required (at time of writing) whenever you enter/leave your accommodation or are walking around. You don’t need to wear it once you’re sitting at your table.

You should also bring hand sanitizer. Many accommodations will provide this and ask you to sanitize your hands before entering but it’s still a good idea to bring your own. 

Buy on Amazon

Description: Compeed blister cushions
These are THE best blister treatment I’ve ever found.

Price Range: from $5 to $17

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Description: Plastic bags
Yes, you’ve got to carry that toilet paper out. You can’t leave it. Yes, it’s stinky and gross, but do it anyway. Hence the plastic bags.

Price Range: from $5 to $15

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Description: Quick-dry towel
Most refuges don’t provide towels, so you need one you can dry off with after a shower, and use to dry your face.

Price Range: from $10 to $60

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Description: Tour of Mont Blanc
Complete two-way trekking guide. You won’t need this or the map below if you choose to do our TMB Tour.

Price Range: from $12 to $45

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Description: Universal Travel Adapter
You’ll need an adapter that works in Europe and that has multiple outlets. Outlets are in short supply in the huts and this one allows you to charge multiple devices at the same time.

Price Range: from $8 to $25

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Description: Mini first aid kit
You probably don’t need a full-size First Aid Kit. I use a mini one like this one and it has the basics.

Price Range: from $7 to $20

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Description: Toilet paper
If you’ve ever been without toilet paper while hiking, you’ll understand why you should always bring a roll with you.

Price Range: from $5 to $10

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Description: Toiletries
You need a proper place to keep your toiletries so they don ruin everything else if they spill.

Price Range: from $15 to $55

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Description: Headlamp with extra batteries.
I always carry a headlamp in my backpack. Two years ago, my husband and I did a short 3 hour hike, which turned into a 7 hour hike because we got lost. Thankfully we found our way with our headlamps. I actually end up using mine a few times each year.

Price Range: from $8 to $100

biodegradable laundry soap sheets

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Description: Washing detergent
Make sure it is biodegradable so that you contaminate the least possible.

Price Range: from $5 to $20

Travel and trip cancellation insurance. We recommend World Nomads since it includes mountain rescue and repatriation insurance which are required and not covered by all insurance policies. Also, unlike many insurance policies, it also covers pandemics so if you become ill or unable to travel due to COVID, they’ll cover you. Check out their site for the specific details, as not everything is included. 

 

Money on the TMB

Most refuges do not accept credit cards and there are only cash machines in the towns. Of which you will not be in every day if you stay in refuges. Be sure to bring enough cash with you. You can expect to pay €12 – €15 for a packed lunch from the huts. You’ll also need money for drinks at your hut. And for transfers, if you want to take a lift or a bus to shorten your hike. Budget ~€30 to €50 for this. Plus it’s a good idea to bring extra cash as a contingency.

Documents

In Europe, it’s required by law that you carry identification with you. If you’re a European citizen identification will do. If you’re not European, you must carry your passport with you.

Optional Items to Pack for the Tour du Mont Blanc

iphone

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Description: iPhone
This is for taking photos. I rarely hike with my DSLR because it’s so bulky and heavy. The new smartphones take really great photos. I also use the GPS function. You can also use it to download hiking apps.

Price Range: $900

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Description: Book to read. I recommend bringing both a Kindle Fire HD – pre-loaded and a small paper one. Plugins are in short supply in refuges and you may not be able to charge all your devices every night.

Price Range: $150

garmin gps tracker

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Description: Garmin
My husband bought one of these when we did the Tour du Mont Blanc. Track your route and progress.

Price Range: from $80 to $500

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Description: Card Game.
You may have time to relax when you arrive at the hut each day. Bring a card game or other game that doesn’t take up much space. Pictured is one of my favourites.

Price Range: from $10 to $25

massage balls

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Description: Massage Ball
I highly recommend bringing a small one that you can use on your feet, aching shoulders, and legs. It doesn’t take up much room and feels soooo good.

Price Range: from $5 to $25

muscle soreness cream

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Description: Muscle-soreness relief cream
You might need them after each day of hiking.

Price Range: from $8 to $25

eyemask with earplugs

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Description: Eye mask and ear plugs.
While it’s lights out fairly early in the dormitory rooms, there’s usually at least one person snoring.

Price Range: from $9 to $30

 
 

Make sure to check out my list of top gifts for hikers that will fit any budget.

That’s your complete Tour du Mont Blanc packing list.  Happy packing!

 

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50 thoughts on “Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List: What You Need to Bring”

  1. We have reserved our 10-day hike with you for July 2020. The pictures of the hikers, and your recommended clothing layers do not show any ‘colder temperature’ jackets. What is the average temperature range for the hike ? Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Hi Laurel! This is a wonderful site and your packing list is very helpful. I have one additional item that is a must-have for women. I purchased a pStyle and it is a game-changer. I no longer have to practically undress, feel exposed to insects and tickley grass or brush or wait painfully for the next legitimate bathroom. I can now stand up to pee! I never hike or bike without it!

    Betsy

    Reply

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