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

The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most famous long-distance hikes, not only in Europe but in the world! But it can also be intimidating knowing what to pack for a long distance trek – especially when you’re carrying everything yourself! That’s why I’ve created the Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List!

It inspires awe every day as you circumnavigate Mont Blanc, the second highest mountain in Europe. If you’re planning a trip, you’ll definitely want to check out Tour du Mont Blanc: How to Plan for this Epic Adventure and the 7-day, 9-day and 10-day TMB Self-Guided tours that I offer!

This was my first real long distance hike and 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, and 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. Reflecting on my TMB (short for Tour du Mont Blanc) afterwards I probably overpacked a tiny bit but was overall happy with my packing list. I’ve modified a bit to reflect that.

CHECK OUT OUR SELF-GUIDED TOUR DU MONT BLANC TREKS

Using this Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List:

This list assumes that you will be staying in refuges, and taking between 7 – 12 days to do the hike. If you plan to sleep in a tent, of course, you would need camping gear, and 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 pack – 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 pack, then I highly recommend doing a self-guided tour booked through an amazing tour operator that I’ve partnered with. They can take care of that for you and book all your accommodations as well! If you’re having your luggage transferred daily, a 35-L backpack is fine.

If you have any questions about this packing list, leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer it. Happy Packing!

Smartwool top.  It repels odor, 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.

2 Quick-dry moisture-wicking shirts – 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.

Lightweight fleece with hood or another warm layer. Choose on that’s lightweight and warm.

Waterproof shell with hood. It will likely rain at some point while you’re hiking the TMB. Shells don’t take up much room.

Waterproof pants. I only wore mine one day but was glad to have them.

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.

Thermal leggings –  You’ll want to bring these if you’re hiking the TMB in June or September.

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.

Neck warmer – This is one of my favourite pieces of gear and takes up almost no space.

Warm hat – Or a toque as us Canadians call it 🙂

Dry Bag For your electronics and passport.

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.

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.

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

Gaiters – Very useful in case of rain or walking through deep snow banks.

quick dry underwear

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

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

Sun Cap

Baseball or sun cap – Something to keep the sun off.

Clothing for Hanging out After Hiking in the TMB Refuges

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.

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.

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.

Comfortable pair of casual pants that you’ll wear after hiking and having dinner in the refuges.

Food

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.

Hydration

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.

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.

Miscellaneous Hiking Gear

Compeed blister cushions – THE best blister treatment I’ve ever found.

Plastic bags (yes, you have to carry out your toilet paper)

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.

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.

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.

Money

Most refuges do not accept credit cards and there are only cash machines in the towns – of which you will not be in everyday if you stay in refuges, so be sure to bring enough cash with you.

Documents

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

Optional

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.

Camera or phone with a good camera like an iPhone or Android phone.

Garmin eTrex 30x to track your route and progress. Alternatively, you can download an app and do this from your phone.

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.

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.

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

That my friends is your complete Tour du Mont Blanc packing list! If you have any other essential items for this trip, let me know in the comments below. Happy packing!

 

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links meaning that if you buy something I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I’ve included recommendations for specific products after receiving multiple emails asking for product recommendations.


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About Author

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Laurel
Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their hiking, cycling and wildlife vacations in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Munich, Germany. You can find her hiking in the mountains on most weekends.

Comments

January 20, 2016
This mountain trek is a beautiful but grueling one ... these items will see a novice hiker through this experience with a decent amount of comfort. Great list!
January 20, 2016
@Noah - Agreed! Thanks for your comment!
Samir
July 6, 2016
Hi Laurel , Awesome detailed explanation about TMB. We are Planning to do TMB this year (Camping). Can you please shed some light on Camping? Is it possible ?feasible?
July 7, 2016
@Samir - Thank you! Yes, it's possible to camp, but you can't pre-book. From what I understand it can be difficult to get a spot, so try to arrive early in the day. It may also be possible to shower or have dinner at the refuges, if they have room, but you have to inquire individually at each one. Unfortunately, I don't have more info on camping, as we stayed in the refuges.
January 22, 2016
This is what i've been looking for. Thanks for the list, Laurel.
January 22, 2016
So glad that it was useful!
Kate
May 9, 2016
What kind of adapter should I bring for phone and camera?
May 11, 2016
@ Kate, I would recommend something like: if it's just for your phone or camera, or a more general adaptor, like this one: http://bit.ly/1USiFLS. Hope that helps.
June 2, 2016
Great list.
Marilou
June 11, 2016
The best packing list I found online. Thanks.
June 12, 2016
@Marilou - Thanks so much!
Shell
July 6, 2016
Thank you for this helpful list! When you say 'bring enough cash'.. how much is enough? I'm doing the 11 day version. ~S
July 7, 2016
Hi Shell, Glad that you found it useful. If you haven't paid for your accommodations yet, you'll need to bring enough to cover that as most places don't accept credit/debit cards. In addition, if you want a packed lunch or to eat at one of the huts en route that's ~ €8 to €12 a day. We also brought all our snacks with us. I'd also bring another €200 - 300 or so on top of that as a contingency fund. I.e. we didn't like the look of one hostel so we ended up booking a private dorm room instead.Hope that helps. Enjoy your trip!
Samir
July 8, 2016
Hi Laurel , Awesome detailed explanation about TMB. We are Planning to do TMB this year (Camping). Can you please shed some light on Camping? Is it possible ?feasible?
Blanka
July 9, 2016
Hi Samir, I did TMB on mountain bike in self autonomie in 4 days. We were camping " wild". As soon as you put your tente up quite late and quite hiden and you fold it up soon you will be ok to do it too. Of course you must clean the place up but I am sûre you would!!!
July 11, 2016
@Blanka - Thanks for your help in answering Samir's question, I appreciate it.
Cecilia
July 13, 2016
Hi Laurel. Were you able to pack everything in a 35-litre backpack?
July 13, 2016
Hi Cecilia, I was able to get everything into a 45-litre backpack, and then carried my lunchpack and flip flops on the outside of my backpack. My husband had more stuff, and had a 60-litre backpack, which still had space left in it.
Kerina
August 1, 2016
This is great information - thank you. I am leaving for my hike in 28 days. Do you know of a site where you are able to plan day by day, stop by stop to know the distances and elevations? I found one, however it isn't in English. Thanks of your help.
August 14, 2016
@Kerina - Check out my post, which has the distances/elevations that we did: https://monkeysandmountains.com/tour-du-mont-blanc-trek
Lori
August 4, 2016
Hi Wondering if you could tell me how you carried your passport and other important documents? Did you keep them in your backpack or on you at all times? If carried on your body, what did you use, a neck lanyard, etc? Will be hiking Tour du Mont Blanc at the end of the month and am beyond excited!! Thanks for your response and packing list. Lori
August 14, 2016
@Lori I kept them in my backpack and either my husband or I stayed with it the entire time. I brought a small bag with my wallet, passport, etc. with me to dinner since I didn't want to leave it in the shared rooms. Best of luck and let me know how your trip goes! I loved the TMB!
Jhon jaka
August 4, 2016
The best packing list
Eran Aronovitch
August 6, 2016
hi, if we are gonna stay at refuges there is no need for a sleeping bag? thanks, Eran
August 14, 2016
@Eran, correct, you don't need a sleeping bag, BUT you do need a sleeping bag liner. You'll sleep in that, cover the pillow with it, and then use the hut blankets over your sleeping bag liner.
October 11, 2016
You mentioned you could suggest a great tour operator who will do the bookings and also have luggage transferred each day.I would greatly appreciate if you can email me the details. Thanks
October 13, 2016
@Sri - I am working with a tour operator who's fantastic. As soon as I have their pricing for 2017, I'll be in touch. Thanks for your interest.
October 14, 2016
Thanks, will wait to hear from you.
Erika
November 11, 2016
Hi, Thank you for such a great list and so much useful information! We are planning on doing the hike with some friends Sept 2017. I would love to have your tour operator's information as well. We were planning on doing the route on our own, but your recommendation of getting the extra help for booking is very intriguing.Thanks again!
January 13, 2017
@Erika - So glad that you found it useful. Here's the link to the self-guided tours. After having done the TMB by ourselves, I've since booked all my treks as self-guided tours. I love the freedom without the hassle, making reservations and extensive planning.
Anna
December 26, 2016
Hi, Just reading your blog as we do some Boxing Day travel reading for a TMB holiday in 2017. We're not sure whether to book ourselves or use a tour operator so would be interested to know what coatings your tour operator is suggesting for 2017 so we can make a decision on that. Enjoyed your blog ! Anna
January 13, 2017
@Anna - Great to hear that you're interested in doing the TMB. You can find our self-guided tours here: https://monkeysandmountains.com/tour-du-mont-blanc-self-guided-tour/. I'm a big fan of self-guided tours as you get the freedom, without the hassle of making all the reservations and can we can provide you with advice both prior and while on your tour.
March 7, 2017
Hi Laurel, Thanks for all the guides and recommendations about Mont Blanc. Are there anymore websites that do all the self guided bookings? I have not been able to find any in my research so far. I want to do it solo and there is no option for that in the link you provided.
March 12, 2017
@P - My company organises self-guided tours; https://monkeysandmountains.com/tour-du-mont-blanc-self-guided-tour but our insurance requires us to have 2 or more hikers. There could be some co. that organize self-guided tours for one person but I'm not aware if there are.
Dennis barreto
December 31, 2016
AWESOME LIST! Me and my wife are starting to plan for our trip now. I would love to bring my Drone but Realistically how many times were you able to charge a device along the route? I would hate to run out of battery and it just becomes a huge paper weight on my back.Thanks In advance Dennis
January 5, 2017
@Dennis - Glad it was useful. I charged my phone every day but there was often only one charger in a room, so you have to share it, i.e. you can probably get a couple of hours of charging but not a full night. It's also challenging if you need to charge multiple devices so it's a good idea to bring an adaptor that allows you to charge more than one device. Enjoy your trek!
Jess
January 1, 2017
Hey, great list! How much did everything weight in total? I'm trying to go lightweight and camping for the full 11 day trip but I'm not sure if it's possible
January 5, 2017
@Jess - I didn't weigh it, but if you're also going camping it's definitely possible to do so and there's a few places along the way that you could stock up on food that would keep your pack lighter. Enjoy!
Lee Ann
January 10, 2017
Laurel, im planning our trip for july of this year. we would like to do a self guided tour. would you pass along your recommendation for a reputable company. Thanks, your packing list is so complete and helpful !!!!
January 12, 2017
@Lee Ann - Pleased to announce my Tour du Mont Blanc self-guided tour organized in cooperation with a French co. who specializes in Alpine Treks. You can choose between a 7 or 9 day self-guided tour, and have the option of sleeping in mountain huts or hotels. You can find all the details here: https://monkeysandmountains.com/tour-du-mont-blanc-self-guided-tour/
Hunter
March 9, 2017
@laurel this has been simple. easy, and clean list. Helped to answer many of my questions. I am very experience hiker. Most of my hikes, I end up sleeping in a tent because there are no humans around. I was surprised to learn that there are actual huts that one can sleep in on this route. Do you have a list of huts that you highly recommend? If so, should I book in advance? I am going during the first two weeks of August. I will be travel with one other trekker.Best,
March 12, 2017
@Hunter Glad that you found it useful. We do have a list of huts that we recommend but we reserve this for our clients who do our self-guided tours which you can find here: https://monkeysandmountains.com/tour-du-mont-blanc-self-guided-tour. I definitely recommend booking as far in advance as possible. Some of the private double accommodation is already full for July and August.
Shelly Hall
July 11, 2017
Hello! Thank you for the helpful article. I have been researching this trek for months when I decided to go, and I'm leaving​ in two days! I am looking to purchase the trail directions that are provided by self tour company, not the entire booking service. Is that a possiblity? I'm just a touch worried about getting lost in the wilderness by myself! Also, because I am by myself, I plan to cover more country and complete the tour in six days. Please message me!
July 25, 2017
@Shelly - Great to hear that you're doing the TMB. It's a fantastic tour. We only provide the detailed day-day instructions to clients who book the self-guided tour. I'd recommend a good map, and bringing a mobile phone. Best of luck.
Lauren
August 20, 2017
Hi Laurel, I also have celiac and want to do this trip with my husband. How difficult was it to find food you could eat at the refuges? How much did you have to bring with you? Any guidance in this regard would be much appreciated! Thanks so much, Lauren
August 21, 2017
@Lauren - You need to notify the refuges in advance otherwise it will be much more difficult. (Our tour company does this when we make the reservation). Even with doing so, there were 2 times I only got a salad for dinner which wasn't exactly filling after hiking all day. For the packed lunches, they don't have gluten-free bread so I often got 4 apples as a lunch. I'd bring extra protein bars/snacks as a backup. Hope that helps.
Betsy Bowers
June 25, 2018
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
July 10, 2018
@Betsy - thank you for kind words and recommendation. I haven't tried a pStyle but am curious to try it now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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