On a hut-to-hut trek, you don't just take anything with you. Every ounce you put in your bag, you also carry on your back. Fantastic, trekking through the Alps for a few days, but those jeans you're lugging along unused have no use for it and neither do you. At the same time, you won't necessarily find an unused toothbrush in a mountain hut at 2,000 metres. As you can see, a packing list for your hut-to-hut trip is useful. This may not be the first packing list you find, but it is definitely the last. Download our free PDF packing list and pack your bag with the help of our trekking experts.
You don't walk from hut to hut without a backpack, in your jeans or on your trainers. On a day hike, you don't have to be so strict, but when you're on the trail for several days and sharing accommodation at 2,000 metres with other hikers, you want to be well prepared. A safe, enjoyable hut-to-hut tour starts with your gear. You can ignore the people around you and leave the food in the huts, but your gear, you always have it with you at all times. So it is good when it is complete.
A Good Packing List Changes Constantly
Your gear for a hut-to-hut hike is not necessarily the same as for a hike in the Pyrenees or the Dolomites. In Austria, a sleeping bag liner is often enough for the huts, on the GR20 in Corsica and on the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland you will need a proper sleeping bag. The Dolomites are slightly warmer than the Swiss Alps, the Tour du Mont Blanc is also slightly cooler than, say, the Catalan Pyrenees. However, all these minute differences do not change the basics that underpin a good packing list. A good pair of shoes and fine hiking clothes are indisputable.
If you want, you can go to an outdoor shop this afternoon and spend a few hundred on your gear. Whether this is good stuff, you will only know when you are on the trail. "I remember well when I was hiking my first multi-day trail. Normally I like to walk in trail running shoes, but for that trip I thought it would be wise to put on my old hiking boots. Within 15 minutes, I started feeling my heels," says Sierd, trekking expert at Bookatrekking.com. "At that point you can't do anything but carry on, bite the bullet and learn for next time. So my packing list for the next trip looked slightly different again."
Your packing list is constantly changing. Physically, you can prepare well for a hut-to-hut trek, but if you don't get much further than the hills around your town, it's hard to test your equipment for the Alps. Some things, you only find out when you are on the road. Like Sierd on his first trek, Anja van Overbeeke also learned a few lessons once she was on the move on the Adlerweg via Bookatrekking.com: "I found it quite exciting. We got off the cable car at the top and it was raining and blowing quite a bit. You really felt like you were blowing off the mountain. And it was also a lot colder than I expected. I was wearing knee-length trousers, so we decided to get a cup of coffee and put on warmer clothes first. With rain jacket and poncho, we started the hike half an hour later," recalls Anja. Always good to have at least one rainproof layer with you. "Looking back, my shoes turned out to be not quite good enough for this trek. They fit fine and I could walk well on them, but I started to feel the rocky path we walked on during the day. My travelling companion had a better type of walking shoes and she did not suffer from this at all."
Photo: Anja van Overbeeke with Bookatrekking.com on her way on the Adlerweg.
So what is a good hiking boot? We get this question a lot at Bookatrekking.com. "There is no one shoe suitable for every foot and every hut trek. In the case of trousers, a jacket or hiking socks, you can buy something online just fine. However, shoes you want to try on and while you're at it, it's nice if someone helps you with that. We can help you find the suitable trek and compile your packing list, but we are not shoe salesmen," laughs Sierd.
Marcel de Vries walked the Tour du Mont Blanc with wife Sanne in the summer of 2022. Last year in Austria, he found out that his shoes were no longer optimal: "I had had these for about 20 years. For 10 days on the Tour du Mont Blanc, you want to be able to rely on your shoes. Then I also immediately bought a new backpack, some merino shirts (tip!) a power bank and a fast charger with multiple USB ports," Marcel says. "That powerbank in particular is handy because you can't always charge your devices in the huts."
Photo: Marcel and Sanne on the Tour du Mont Blanc
For some hikers, it is the first multiday trek. Following a recommendation from one of our trekking experts, Sophia Platje chose the Peter Habeler Runde for her first hut-to-hut trek. She had, in fact, yet to buy all her gear. "Yes," laughs Sophia. "I'm not a fanatical hiker and didn't have that much gear in the closet yet. Fortunately, you can get a lot of things second-hand. For instance, I was able to take over a good pack from an acquaintance of mine."
Photo: Sophia Platje on the Peter Habeler Runde
The first hike did not go without a hitch for Sophia. Thus, there are some things she will do differently next time. "Packing my backpack was not easy for me. If you haven't got that together yet, you spend a lot of time working on this on the first walking day. Also, my shoes had not yet been broken in," Sophia says. "You definitely understand that next time I will bring blister plasters!"
The Bookatrekking.com experts help hundreds of customers every year on their way hiking from hut to hut in the Alps, Dolomites and Pyrenees. Have a question? Get in touch today.
Clothes for My Hut-To-Hut Hiking Trip
A good trek starts with yourself. Good clothing saves in comfort, in stamina and ultimately in weight. You need a selection of clothing and the longer you are on the road, the more important it is to choose clothes with care. Dressing in layers is the way to go with high-quality base layers, intermediate layers and waterproof outer layers. Do not use cotton as it will get wet and never dry again. Below is a brief overview and, if you scroll further, another explanation of each item.
Hiking shoes: We mentioned these in the previous section. On your trek, you need your feet and those feet cannot do without shoes. These can be hiking shoes of any type. In recent years, we also see more and more hikers in trail running shoes. In any case, make sure your shoes are broken in.
Hiking trousers, zip-off: You can bring one or two of these. Zip-off trousers are not sexy, but you are not hiking for your libido. Zip-offs, so you have both short and long trousers. Quick-drying is a plus.
2 x Baselayers:Merino is a fine fabric, especially for your baselayers. Merino wool dries quickly, is hard-wearing and has self-cleaning properties. The latter keeps pungent odours under control. Whether you are on the trail for two or five days, always bring at least two. May also be a t-shirt.
Fleece or light down jacket: You easily pull these over your first layer. This can be a fleece jumper, also a down jacket. Some like to have both a fleece jumper and a down jacket(s). That's ultimately your choice.
Windbreaker:This is the extra layer that keeps the wind from pulling through your fleece or down jacket. You can also swap this for just your rain jacket but it is sometimes a little too windproof and breathes poorly.
Rain jacket: The weather in the mountains can change just like that. You can leave a windbreaker at home, a rain jacket really not.
Hiking socks: A good pair of hiking socks is perhaps just as important as your hiking boots. They are often not cheap but they are always worth it.
Underwear: We are not going to interfere too much here. However, we can suggest quick drying and comfortable.
Beanie or buff: A buff can become a beanie. That saves another few grams.
Gloves: Cold-hearted? Then at least a pair of comfortable gloves. In the morning and evening, it can still get quite cold at altitude.
Backpack and Other Gear for Your Hut-To-Hut-Hike
Now that you have your clothes together, you can look at the other things you can take with you on a hut trip. Note that not everyone is the same and there could always be something in between that you don't think is necessary. That's fine. Bookatrekking.com expert Rintsje also likes to hike without bringing too much. "Hiking boots, you can't avoid that. In the Alps, you see a lot of trekking poles but I personally have never brought these. On Kilimanjaro, I tried them once, but during a hut trek I prefer to have my hands free."
Photo: Rintsje on behalf of Bookatrekking.com on the Tour du Mont Blanc
Rintsje regularly visits huts and refuges on behalf of Bookatrekking.com. Last summer, for instance, he visited both huts on the Stubaier Höhenweg in Austria, the Alta Via 1 in the Italian Dolomites and the Tour du Mont Blanc in a week and a half: "You're always somewhat at the same altitude and even the huts are pretty similar. You can always assume that at the huts, besides a good bed, you can also get plenty of food."
Did you know that Bookatrekking.com always includes half-board for your hut-to-hut trek? That means that breakfast and dinner are waiting for you every day. So there is no need to drag any food along! Check out our packages for the Tour du Mont Blanc here.
Backpack: The size of your backpack depends on what you are taking with you. Rintsje has enough with 40 litres, but our trekking expert Annemiek prefers 50 to 60 litres. In any case, make sure your backpack is not half full. A well-packed rucksack is the most comfortable.
Sunglasses: If you bring your sunglasses, we will make sure the sun shines!
Trekking poles: Only bring hiking poles if you have experience with them. If they get in the way on day 1 of your hut-to-hut tour, you will drag them along for nothing.
Phone: Speaks for itself. Also, make sure you have local emergency numbers stored in your phone. You can even save numbers for the mountain huts.
Headlamp: Always handy for in the hut. For when you want to read a book or if you suddenly need to go to the toilet in the middle of the night.
Slippers or flip-flops: You take off your hiking boots at the front door. In the mountain huts, you walk in either slippers or flops.
Nightwear: You share the mountain hut with others. Make sure you are dressed a bit socially at night as well :)
Lakenzak:Sleeping bag liner: Most mountain huts, especially those belonging to the Alpenverein, distribute blankets. This means that a sheet bag and a pillowcase will suffice.
Travel towel: You can get or hire a towel in most mountain huts. However, it is always wise to bring your own travel towel(s).
Sleeping bag if needed: During COVID-19, many huts required you to bring a sleeping bag. Some huts have not reversed this even in 2022 (yet). Before heading out, check whether you need a sleeping bag for your trek.
Packing List for Your Hut-To-Hut Hike: Personal Care
You don't buy a toothbrush in a mountain hut. So you have a problem when you forget your toothbrush. This section is thus perhaps even more important than the others. If you can tick off the boxes in this section of the packing list, you won't have to worry in the bathrooms of the huts.
Hydration bladder or flasks: With a hydration bladder, we mean the water bag you can hook into your rucksack. These water bags often have a volume of 1 or 2 litres. The danger with hydration bladders is that they can leak. You can also choose to go for small flasks. These can also be made of collapsible material.
Hard water bottle / Nalgene: Besides easy portable water, it is handy to bring a slightly harder bottle like a Dopper or a Nalgene. That way you always have at least 2 litres of water with you.
Plastic bag for rubbish: Leave no trace! Always bring your own rubbish back into the valley. This speaks for itself.
Food / snacks: The huts always have a meal ready for you and you can also buy packed lunches or snacks for the road. Of course, it's always a good idea to pack some snacks. Nuts, sweets, energy bars. It is allowed to be a bit of a school trip too.
First aid: For minor inconveniences and accidents, you are always left to your own devices first. Therefore, take a small first aid kit with you. Think of gauze pads, plasters, painkillers and something for possible blisters.
Ziploc bags: Not only handy for keeping personal items together, but also for snacks, for the smaller things on the equipment list and for keeping your electrical appliances dry, for example.
Sunscreen: Always bring it with you. For your face, it is wise to go for factor 30-50.
Earplugs: In the huts, you will spend the night in a dormitory. Earplugs are the best remedy against snoring and other noises in the mountain huts.
Toiletries: We'll mention that toothbrush again. Also consider toothpaste, shower gel and everything else you normally use too. Biodegradable!
Toilet paper: For the very most urgent needs while hiking, it is wise to carry toilet paper. This can also come in handy in the huts ( very sometimes).
You Can’t Go Hut-To-Hut Hiking Without These Things
A few things are absolutely essential. As an Alpine expert, Annemiek always gets a lot of questions about the packing list: "We make it as easy as possible to check-in. For some tours, we send customers vouchers, for others the travel guide containing some booking numbers is enough."
"What almost all hut tours have in common," continues Annemiek "is the use of cash. At altitude, the internet is unreliable and so is a card machine. Cash for beers, packed lunches and other personal expenses is an absolute must."
Identity card or passport: You are abroad. Make sure you can always identify yourself. This may also be required for checking into your hotel or mountain hut.
Insurance: An absolute must. normal travel insurance does not always cover activities in the mountains. It is wise to check with your insurer about additional options.
Cash: As Annemiek said, this is a must. €40 to €60 per person per day will get you a long way.
Bookatrekking.com travel guide: At Bookatrekking.com, after confirming your booking, you will receive a handy travel guide containing the most important information for your hut tour. It includes information for your bookings, handy phone numbers and links to Komoot maps. Bring with you!
Hiking guide and/or map: We love our interactive Komoot maps. But when technology fails, you still want to have a hiking map in your bag. You can find these at the region's tourist office or order them online. Some routes are also described in walking guides. Then you often have two birds with one stone: background information and a walking map.
Charging equipment and any adapters: Phone chargers, batteries and that cable for your GPS watch. If you're going to Switzerland, for example, it's also handy to bring a world plug.
Hut vouchers: Some hut tours such as the Adlerweg require you to bring vouchers. Print and bring!
At Bookatrekking.com, we always think ahead with you and send you the most important things in the run-up to your hut trip. This way, together we ensure that you are always well prepared for your trek. Get in touch with our trekking experts and discover the most beautiful hut tours!
Download Our Packing List for Your Hut-To-Hut Tour
Quite convenient, a checklist that you can put on the table and enable you to tick everything off. We have compiled the above elements for our packing list in a handy document. You can download a PDF version of this packing list here.
How Do I Best Pack My Backpack?
Now you know what you can and should take with you. But how best to put all this in your backpack? "For this reason, we put ziploc bags on the packing list," Sierd explains. In the photo below, you can see him out and about with his backpack. "You don't need to have the liner or sleeping bag within reach. This always goes into the backpack first. On top of that, you have two layers of both medium and heavy items. The heavy items like your hydration bag, powerbank and snacks that you don't need that day, you want to have as close to your back as possible. Clothing can be next to that. You get this done by using grip bags or divider bags. For example, you can keep your underwear and socks together. In the top compartment you then have the lighter things like your wallet, your phone, a hiking guide and other things."
Hut-to-Hut Hiking Packing List For Kids
Are you doing a hut-to-hut hike with the kids and are you looking for a handy packing list that also helps to warm up the little mountain goat(s) for the trek? We've got your back. Children actually should have their own packing list. This will make sure you have or get everything they need. Involve your child in this. Go to the outdoor shop together and take the packing list below with you. You can then look together at what you already have and on the day of packing, you can cross everything off together. Here you can find a PDF version of the below packing list.
Where Do I Book My Hut-To-Hut Hiking Tour?
At Bookatrekking.com you can book self-guided hut tours. We arrange the mountain huts and other accommodation for you and make sure you receive all relevant information well in advance. If you have any questions about our hut tours or tours in general, contact our trekking experts. They will be happy to help you!
Want to read more about hut-to-hut-hiking? Then check out one of our next blog posts:
Peter Habeler Runde
Via Alpina 1
Julian Alps with Triglav
Alta Via 1
Alta Via 2
Walker's Haute Route
Tour du Mont Blanc
Tour du Mont Thabor
Hut-to-Hut in Mercantour
Carros de Foc
Porta del Cel
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