Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List

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Making smart choices about what to pack (and what to leave behind) is a vital part of setting yourself up for a successful and enjoyable Tour du Mont Blanc experience. It’s simple- the heavier your pack, the harder your effort. However, with a little thoughtful planning, you can keep your pack weight manageable while still ensuring you have everything you need to be comfortable on the trail and while relaxing at the refuges, campgrounds, and villages along the way.  

Crossing a snow field on the TMB
You’ll need to be prepared for everything from sunshine to snow fields!

 Below you’ll find a detailed Tour du Mont Blanc packing list that will provide you with great, trail-tested gear that won’t weigh down your backpack too much.

In This Post

Everything you need to to plan your TMB trek – all in one place.

Whether you prefer mountain huts or hotels, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or or something in between, we’ve got you covered. Our Guide to the Tour du Mont Blanc is the ultimate tool to help you plan your perfect trip.

When you purchase a guide, you’ll get instant access to all the information you need to plan your trip in our planning portal as well as in a downloadable PDF eGuide.

Your in-depth guide contains resources you won’t find anywhere else, including:

  • Instant access to our online trip planning portal
  • Downloadable eGuide to the Tour du Mont Blanc
  • Complete 9-day, 11-day, and 12-day Tour du Mont Blanc itineraries with video fly throughs
  • Accommodation options and booking information
  • Detailed maps for every stage
  • Custom GPS data for each itinerary
  • The ultimate packing list
  • Information about getting to and from the trail
  • 15-week training plan
  • Video tutorials on how to use your GPS files to navigate on the trail. 

We truly believe this is the best resource available for planning your TMB.  Pick up your guide below and if your not satisfied for any reason we’ll give you a full refund!

Tour du Mont Blanc Packing Basics

There are limitless ways to hike the TMB; you can customize the length of your trek, your accommodation preferences, your meal options, and so much more. Your Tour du Mont Blanc packing list will need to be tailored to your individual itinerary and needs.

Someone who is using a luggage transfer service and staying in refuges will have a significantly different kit than someone who is carrying all of their own camping gear and cooking their own meals. Despite all of this variability, there are a few basic truths about packing for the Tour du Mont Blanc that apply to everyone. These include:

  1. Keep your backpack as light as possible! (see the next section for more on this)
  2. It is essential to dial in your footwear.
  3. Bring hiking poles and learn how to use them prior to your TMB trek.
Hiker on the TMB.
Don’t forget to bring a good pack cover for stormy days like this one.

How much should my pack weigh on the Tour du Mont Blanc?

This isn’t easy to answer, since there are a ton of factors that influence how much is too much for any individual hiker. Some things to think about…

  • How fast are you hoping to hike? Generally speaking, lighter=faster
  • Have you completed a multi-day through hike with this specific backpack and this amount of weight before? 
  • Are you injury-prone or do you have any chronic knee, hip, or back issues? 

As a very general rule, campers should keep their pack weight below 13kg, including food and water. Those staying in refuges should carry no more than 9kg. If having your luggage transferred along the trail, most transfer services will limit you to 18kg, and your daypack shouldn’t exceed 4kg.

If you are backpacking for the first time or have a chronic injury, the weight of your pack should be significantly less than these guidelines. Generally speaking, less is more. Here’s a few tips for lightening your load:

  1. You only need a couple of shirts. Same goes for underwear and socks. Before you write us off as total dirtbags, hear us out. First, you’ll have plenty of time and sunshine to wash and dry laundry. Second, clothes are heavy, so cutting out everything but the absolute essentials will make a huge difference.
  2. Plan out when/where you’ll restock food provisions and don’t carry more food than you need.
  3. Consider leaving your bulky camera equipment at home. Unless photography is your passion, most smartphones take great photos and save a ton of space and weight.
Hiking boots
Your trusty boots are one of your most important pieces of gear.

Footwear on the Tour du Mont Blanc

Traditional hiking boots, hiking shoes, or trail runners will all work for the trail conditions on the TMB, but you need to make sure they will work for you too. This means that you should bring a pair of boots or shoes that you know from experience don’t cause problems for your feet. Ideally, you should put at least 30 miles on them in various terrain and weather conditions to reduce the chance of running into issues on the trail.

A nasty blister can be catastrophic on a multi-day trek like the TMB! That being said, you also don’t want your boots/shoes to be too broken in, as you need them to hold up faithfully for many miles of gnarly terrain. I know we’re asking you to work some Goldilocks magic here, but it’s definitely worth it!

In terms of other specifications, we feel that the only other must-have is a good, grippy Vibram (or similar material) sole for steep descents and loose paths. Otherwise it’s up to personal preference when it comes to how much ankle support you need, waterproof versus quick-dry, sturdy versus lightweight, and so on.

You’ll also want to make sure you have some good socks. Socks are one of those rare things in life where you really do get what you pay for, and high quality socks can be a game changer. Once again, try to do some hiking in a few different types to figure out how what you like in terms of thickness, cushion, and height. We love merino wool for its quick-drying and anti-stink qualities. 

If you’re blister prone, consider trying sock liners. Many hikers swear by them. Other tried-and-true blister prevention tactics include putting bodyglide on potential hotspots or wearing toesocks.

Trekking Poles

BRING THEM. Enough said. Seriously, these are a total game-changer on a tough trek like the TMB. You (and your knees) will be so glad to have them on steep sections, and this is especially true for campers who are carrying heavier loads.

Backpacking backpack
The type of pack you’ll need for the TMB will depend on your individual itinerary.

Backpack

The same rule for shoes applies to backpacks: make sure you complete several hikes with your bag packed the same way (and with the same weight) you’ll carry on the TMB. Also similar to shoes, backpacks need to be broken in through use, and your body needs to get used to the feeling of wearing it for extended periods of time.

In terms of size, most campers will need between 45 and 65 liters. Those staying in refuges will find that 30-40L is perfect. If you’re purchasing a new one, most good outdoors stores have experienced staff that will help you find the right fit and style for your needs. Don’t forget to bring a pack cover (included with many newer backpacks) to protect against rain. This is an absolute must-have.

Battery Backup

If you plan on using your phone as a GPS to navigate along the TMB (which we highly recommend!), it’s imperative that it stays charged. Most accommodation providers will allow you to charge electronics, but this isn’t a guarantee everywhere. Carrying a small battery backup or one of these nifty portable solar panels will give you a little more freedom and peace of mind.

Cell phones charging
Charging electronics can get a little crazy on the TMB.

Down Jacket

We’ve found this to be a perfect piece of gear for the Tour du Mont Blanc. It can be quite chilly in the Alps in the early morning and evenings, but a heavy fleece or bulky jacket can really sabotage a lightweight pack. Down jackets are warm, super packable, and very lightweight. Besides a light waterproof rain jacket, this is the only outer layer you should need.

Guidebook

The Cicerone Guide to the TMB is an excellent resource for anyone planning a TMB trek. This thorough guide covers everything from the history of the hike to interesting sights you’ll see along the way, and of course provides a comprehensive breakdown of every stage. It is also available as an e-book, meaning you can download it to your phone to really optimize your packing!

We also love Trailblazer’s Tour du Mont Blanc Guide. It is incredibly detailed and has great resources for finding accommodation and other services at every point along the trail.

In our opinion, the Cicerone guide feels more organized and easy-to-navigate, while the Trailblazer guide has more in-depth and comprehensive information. The bottom line? You can’t go wrong with either, and you’ll be glad to have at least one of these great resources!

Get The FREE TMB Essentials Handbook

Our free PDF guide covers all the basics – when to hike, accommodation, typical costs, and more!

Camping-Specific Gear

If you plan on camping along the TMB, there’s a lot more gear you need to think about than just your hiking basics. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered!  

Use this camping gear list in conjunction with the personal items list, miscellaneous list, and men’s or women’s clothing list to put together your perfect Tour du Mont Blanc packing list.  Camping on the Tour du Mont Blanc is definitely worth carrying the bigger backpack.

We love the flexibility and independence it gives us, and many of the campgrounds are downright luxurious. With the right gear and a manageable pack size, you are guaranteed to have an amazing experience conquering the TMB with your own tent.   

Tent at Le Peuty Campground
Camping ensures you’ll always get a room with a view!

ItemRecommendedNotes
TentMSR Hubba Hubba Backpacking Tent
The MSR Hubba Hubba 2 is the best overall tent you can buy, and the freestanding feature is helpful when you’re trying to find a level pitch or squeeze into a tight spot.
Sleeping BagMarmot Trestle 15A 30° F or 0° C sleeping bag should keep you plenty warm on the TMB. Otherwise the Marmot 15 is a great all around bag.
Sleeping PadNemo Astro Insulated Sleeping PadThis is one of the most lightweight and comfortable sleeping pads out there. Plus, the genius pump sack makes inflating it so easy!
PillowTherm-a-Rest pillowA camping pillow can be great when you’re spending multiple nights sleeping in a tent, but this is an optional item for those looking to save weight.
StoveMSR Pocket Rocket Stove + MSR WindscreenIf you’re camping, a good stove is a must. The MSR is a classic backpacking stove, but you’d be wise to bring a windscreen given the unpredictable weather you may encounter.
Backpacking PotGSI HaluliteFor those planning to cook their own meals this pot will serve you well.
UtensilsHumangear Spork
Plate/Bowl/Mug
MSR 2-person mess kit

We find this bowl and mug combo to be light, durable, and perfect for camp dinners.

Most valuable piece of camping gear: Nemo Astro Sleeping Pad 

Confession: This was the third sleeping pad I purchased in a three year quest to find the right fit. Until I got the Nemo, I just assumed it wasn’t possible to get a good night’s sleep while camping. 

Not only do I sleep warm (thanks to its 20 degree insulation) and comfortably, but this is also one of the most compact and lightweight options out there. It’s quick to inflate and a breeze to pack away. A good night’s rest and extra space in my backpack make this my favorite piece of camping gear.

Refuge-Specific Gear

If you’re planning on sleeping in mountain refuges and hotels along the TMB, you can enjoy the benefit of a shorter packing list! This list has a few items you’ll need specifically for sleeping in gites and refuges. 

While you don’t need much, there are some essentials that you’ll be glad to have for these communal accommodation situations. Use this list in conjunction with the other lists (except for the camping gear list) to ensure that you’re well prepared for your TMB adventure.  

Note: there are some repeats on this list that we’ve also included on the other lists. However, we wanted to highlight items on this list that are especially important for anyone who is staying primarily in refuges. 

Read more: TMB Accommodation and Refuge Guide

Rifugio Bonatti
ItemRecommendedNotes
EarplusMack’s EarplugsThe perfect defense for that snorer in the bunk next to you!
Sleeping MaskAlaska Bear Sleeping MaskGreat for blocking out light while sleeping in refuges.
Sleep SheetVumos Sleep SheetRequired in most of the refuges along the TMB.
Sandals/SlippersCrocsAlthough not always the most stylish, Crocs make the perfect refuge shoes!

Most valuable item for Refuges: Mack’s Earplugs 

Getting quality sleep is so important for your body to feel recovered and fresh on a long-distance trek. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to sleep well in the dorm-style sleeping arrangements commonly found in TMB refuges. 

Being packed like sardines into a room full of Olympic level snorers doesn’t have to ruin your night though! It’s amazing what a difference some good earplugs can make. We find that we sleep much more soundly with these comfortable, effective earplugs. They’re a huge step up from those cheap foam ones- these stay in place and block out way more noise. Sometimes the little things can make the biggest difference!

Let us help plan your TMB

We’re here to help! We offer comprehensive TMB planning support so you can plan your perfect trip!

TMB Guides
Custom Itineraires
GPS Maps
One-on-one support

Personal Gear

Whether you’re camping or staying indoors, these items are must-haves for the TMB. While we’ve included some toiletries that are absolutely essential for this hike, we’ve left it up to you to determine your personal list of additional self care items (comb, toothbrush, prescription medication, etc).  

Use this list in conjunction with the camping gear list OR refuge list, and the miscellaneous and clothing lists to build your perfect kit.

ItemRecommendedNotes
Multi-ToolGerber Suspension Multi-PlierPerfect for making sandwiches, repairing gear, and a million other purposes!
First-Aid KitAdventure Medical KitsA good backpacking first aid kit is essential. You hope to never have to use it, but will be glad you have it when you need it. Make sure to include some Compeed for blisters.
Hydration Bladder or Water BottlesPlatypus Big Zip EVO Reservoir – 3LFar easier than a water bottle!
Water Filter Sawyer Squeeze or Sawyer MiniAlthough potable water isn’t difficult to find on the TMB, it is always a good idea to carry a portable filter just in case.
Pack CoverSea to Summit Pack Cover Sea to Summit makes a variety of sizes to fit a range of packs.
Men’s BackpackOsprey Atmos 65L or Osprey Talon 36L If you’re camping, a 65L pack is a good size for all of your gear. The 36L Talon pack should be plenty for those staying in huts. We believe that Osprey makes the most comfortable packs on the market.
Women’s BackpackOsprey Aura 65L or Osprey Kyte 36LIf you’re camping, a 65L pack is a good size for all of your gear. The 36L Kyte pack should be plenty for those staying in huts. We believe that Osprey makes the most comfortable packs on the market.
Trekking PolesBlack Diamond Trail Trekking PolesEssential for long downhills!
Travel TowelSea to Summit Drylite TowelGreat to have for those freezing campsite and refuge showers!
HeadlampBlack Diamond Storm HeadlampGreat headlamp with long battery life and adjustable brightness.
Dry BagsSea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry SackKeeps your clothes and other items dry in a downpour!
Hiking GaitersOutdoor Research Rocky Mountain High GaitersThese will help keep your boots dry when walking on snow covered trails.
Sunscreen
Blue Lizard SPF 50We recommend a waterproof sport version with SPF 30 or higher.
Toilet PaperCoghlan’s Packable Camp TissueIt’s always good to have a backup. Be sure to pack it out!
Hand SanitizerDr. Bronner’s SprayThis can come in handy on the trail and while traveling.
Extra BatteriesIt’s a good idea to have a few spare batteries for your headlamp or other essential electronics.

Most valuable personal item: Black Diamond Trekking Poles  

We absolutely love our Black Diamond poles for their lightweight design and durability. I can’t imagine tackling some of the steep, loose sections of the TMB without my trusty poles! 

They make a significant different in our perceived effort on tough climbs and descents, and they’ve saved me (a serious klutz) from falling countless times! Their telescoping feature makes them easy to pack away for international flights, just be sure they go in your checked baggage.

Miscellaneous Gear

These odds and ends are the unsung heroes of the TMB packing list. From getting your stinky shirt clean to keeping your phone charged, these items help your trek run smoothly. Make sure to use this list in addition to the other categories to complete your personal Tour du Mont Blanc packing list. 

ItemRecommendedNotes
GuidebookThe Tour of Mont Blanc: Complete two-way trekking guideA great resource for planning your trek.
EarplugsMack’s EarplugsEssential for sleeping in dormitories or crowded campsites.
Sleeping MaskAlaska Bear Sleeping MaskThis is a must-have for a good night’s sleep.
Travel AdapterAll-in-One Travel AdapterGreat for all of your travels.
Digital WatchCasio digital watchWe recommend a simple digital watch to keep track of hiking times. Unlike smart watches, you don’t need to worry about charging this.
CameraSony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital CameraOptional item for the photography lovers. Consider using your phone to save weight.
Battery BackupAnker PowerCore 10000Great for charging electronics when you don’t have access to an outlet.
Biodegradable SoapSierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor SoapThis is a great all-purpose cleaner for your body, your clothing, your gear, and everything else.
Plastic Bags- quart, gallon, and garbage bags.We used these constantly for everything from storing trail mix to keeping our sleeping bags dry. A must-have for backpacking.

Most valuable miscellaneous gear: Anker Powercore 10000. 

Chances are, you’re getting out on the trail to get a break from the constant demands of screens and technology and that’s wonderful. However, don’t underestimate the importance of having a charged cell phone on the TMB.

Your phone can be your navigational device, your camera, your guidebook, and your notepad all in one. Charging opportunities can be unreliable along the route, so a battery backup can be an absolute lifesaver. This one is dependable, relatively small, and can fully charge your phone 1.5-2 times.

Let us help plan your TMB

We’re here to help! We offer comprehensive TMB planning support so you can plan your perfect trip!

TMB Guides
Custom Itineraires
GPS Maps
One-on-one support

Women’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for nearly two weeks in various weather conditions and while doing some serious trekking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality. 

Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials.

ItemRecommendedNotes
Underwear (2-3 pairs)ExOfficio Women’s UnderwearVery packable, comfortable, and easy to wash on the go!
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Micro Crew SocksIn our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Sports BraBrooks Women’s Rebound Racer Sports BraProvides excellent support, cushion, and breathability.
Standard Bra (1)After a long day of hiking in a sweaty sports bra this can be a welcome relief to change into.
Long sleeve base layer (1)Smartwool Women’s NTS Mid 150 CrewA great merino wool base layer for chilly evenings.
Short Sleeve Hiking Shirt (1)Smartwool Women’s Merino Short SleeveMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick drying, and odor resistant.
Leggings or Hiking Pants (1)Prana – Women’s Halle PantThese pants are stylish, lightweight, and great to hike in.
ShortsLululemon Run Speed ShortsWe prefer running shorts to hiking shorts, as they are more breathable and comfortable under a backpack.
Puffy JacketMarmot Featherless HoodyLightweight, super warm, and packs down small. This jacket was perfect for this kind of trip!
Rain JacketOutdoor Research Helium II JacketA high-quality all-weather jacket that packs up small.
Rain pantsColumbia Storm Surge pantsFor those heavy downpours!
Hiking Boots or Trail ShoesAltra Lone Peak Trail Shoes
or
Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot
Depending on your preferences, these are our favorites for a traditional hiking boot and a minimal trail runner.
SunglassesSuncloud Loveseat Polarized SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re in the mountains all day. And these are stylish too!
HatColumbia Bora Bora Booney
This wide-brimmed and breathable hat keeps you cool and protected from the sun.
Bandana/BuffBuff CoolNet UV+
These are great for wiping away sweat, keeping hair out of your face, or protecting your neck from the sun.
GlovesSeirus Waterproof GlovesEssential if there is any cold, wet weather in the forecast.

 Emily’s most valuable clothing item: Ex officio underwear 

Perhaps this may seem like a strange choice for my favorite piece of gear, but it truly was a game changer for me on the TMB. As a woman, I’ve found it to be so annoyingly difficult to find good quality, comfortable underwear designed for outdoor sports and travel.

And not that it should matter, but most of the ones that do exist are extremely ugly. Ex officio changed all that for me. What’s even more amazing is that you can rinse them out at the end of each day and they’ll be totally fresh and dry by morning. This makes it so you can get away with packing just a few pairs.

Courmayeur

It’s an added bonus if you can pack clothes that will work both on the trail and in town.

Men’s Clothing

When you’re wearing the same clothes for nearly two weeks in various weather conditions and while doing some serious trekking, it is imperative that those clothes are comfortable and high quality.  Although your individual preferences may look a little different, this list is an excellent starting point to ensure you’ve got all the essentials.

ItemRecommendedNotes
Underwear (1-2 pairs)ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer BriefHighly recommended! 1-2 pairs is all you need as they are super easy to wash out and dry.
Socks (2-3 pairs)Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion SocksIn our opinion, these are the best hiking socks available. Your feet will thank you!
Long Sleeve Base LayerSmartwool Men’s NTS Mid 250 CrewVery versatile mid-weight base layer
Short Sleeve Hiking ShirtIcebreaker Merino Men’s Central Short SleeveMerino wool is perfect for backpacking. Lightweight, quick drying, and odor resistant.
Sun HoodieColumbia Sun HoodieThis is a new favorite item of ours. Cool enough to hike in even on hot days, you’ll appreciate not having to constantly reapply sunscreen.
Hiking Pants (1)Prana Brion PantsThese are great for hiking and also look good around town!
Hiking Shorts (1)Prana Brion Hiking ShortsAwesome shorts that are great for hiking.
Down JacketMARMOT Highlander Down HoodySuper warm, and super packable.
Rain JacketOutdoor Research Men’s Helium II JacketA good rain jacket is a must! This one packs up small and light
Rain PantsMarmot Precip Pants
HatColumbia Bora Bora BooneyThis wide-brimmed and breathable hat keeps you cool and protected from the sun.
Hiking BootsSalomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking BootSuper comfortable and super waterproof!
There is a trail running version for those who prefer something a bit lighter.
SunglassesSuncloud Mayor Polarized SunglassesGood quality sunglasses are essential when you’re in the mountains all day. And these are stylish too!
Buff/BandanaBuff CoolNet UV+These are great for wiping away sweat, keeping hair out of your face, or protecting your neck from the sun.
GlovesSmartwool Merino 150 glovesTrust us, you’re going to want gloves on cold mornings on the TMB.

 

Ian’s most valuable clothing item: Icebreaker Merino Wool T-Shirt

After years of hiking and traveling in synthetic tech tees, switching to Merino wool was a major upgrade. Like synthetic materials, Merino is quick-drying and moisture-wicking, but unlike the synthetic materials I can hike in it for days without any funky smells.

Plus, I find it to be more comfortable and stylish, since it looks just like a normal t-shirt. This was convenient for times when I wanted to wear it off the trail. Icebreaker makes an all around great shirt that is well worth the price. 

Conclusion

While you don’t need to go out and buy all new gear for the TMB, a few key items can make a big difference on your trek. These tried-and-true lists are the perfect starting point for putting together your ideal kit. Remember to keep your backpack as lightweight as possible, and be prepared for mountain weather!

Let us help plan your TMB

We’re here to help! We offer comprehensive TMB planning support so you can plan your perfect trip!

TMB Guides
Custom Itineraires
GPS Maps
One-on-one support

Keep Reading

Be sure to check out all of our Tour du Mont Blanc posts below. If you’re looking for more great resources, check out our guides and custom itineraries.

Get The FREE TMB Essentials Handbook

Our free PDF guide covers all the basics – when to hike, accommodation, typical costs, and more!

6 thoughts on “Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List”

    • Thanks, glad you found the information useful. We each carried one bag that weighed between 23lbs-27lbs (10.5-12 kgs) depending on how much food and water we were carrying at the time. We found this weight pretty manageable and didn’t feel like we had to sacrifice anything we wanted to bring.

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