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Autumn / winter Day hiking packing list for the Alps

Whatever is your hiking plan for the day, your kit is very important for your comfort and security in the mountains.

For cold season hiking in the mountains, before the snow falls, what to wear and pack with you.

  • Hiking shoes
    • Low or high ankle, depending on how much you you are used to having ankle support and is there snow in the mountains
    • Grippy sole with good traction on mud and wet rock
    • Wide enough to have space for warm socks
  • Comfortable rucksack
    • not too small as you may want to pack your fleece and jacket there while walking uphill in midday sunshine.
  • Hiking poles
    • These don’t need to be adjustable or foldable, any ski poles will do the job well.
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen, lip balm
    • even in the winter the sun in the higher altitudes is very strong
  • Lunch and snacks
    • Sandwich, a fruit, energy bars and/or trail mix (dry nuts and fruit), chocolate, biscuits
    • Hand sanitiser to use before lunch
  • Water bottles (min 1.5 liters per person)
    • Make sure your bottle is strong so it won’t leak in your bag, even if the water freezes in them.
  • Thermos flask of hot tea
  • Tissues or toilet paper
  • Small plastic bag for your waste

The practical things

  • Phone, fully charged
  • Head torch with full batteries. The days in the autumn and winter are short, don’t get caught out without light
  • Passport/ID
  • First aid kit for your group
  • Medical Insurance card 
  • Travel Insurance card
  • Money, if you will be passing a mountain hut they may only accept cash
  • Medication. Note that very cold temperatures may bring an onset of dormant asthma, so bring your inhaler to the cold weather hikes
  • Map, or offline map downloaded on your phone

How to dress

  • Fleece or similar
  • Merino base layer shirt and leggings to suit the weather
  • Alternatively merino t-shirt, according to the weather forecast
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • For cold days, a warmer second pair of gloves to change into after you have done climbing for the day
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers
  • Rain cover for backpack
  • Sun hat or a cap
  • Light down jacket or a second fleece to wear during lunch break


  • Snowshoes
  • Ice traction cleats
  • Sit mat, this folded little square of foam can get very useful in the cold days
  • Camera 
  • If there is snow, do your trousers cover the edge of your boots? If not, consider taking gaiters

Overnight extras (if staying at the mountain refuges):

  • Small quick-drying towel
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Soap, as this is not always provided in the huts
  • Light slippers for extra comfort at the hut
  • A change of clothes in a dry bag
  • Ear plugs, as you will usually share the room with others
  • Depending on the area and landscape, a small shovel for toilet trips

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