WALKING KIT LIST
For self guided walking trips, we will provide you with the maps and route advice for your walks. However, you will be responsible for your own navigation and safety in the mountains. For guided trips, the guide will have a full first aid kit, will ensure you don't get lost and make the most of the beautiful scenery and it's wildlife, geology and flowers!
ESSENTIALS FOR ALL SEASONS
- Walking Boots – For most walking in the spring and summer leather or waterproof fabric boots are fine. It is a good idea to have boots with decent ankle support rather than the trainer style ones as some of the terrain can be quite rocky and steep and the extra support helps! If you are doing mountaineering or will be crossing a glacier you will need stiff soled crampon compatible boots which are available to hire if you don’t have them.
- 2 or 3 pairs of good walking socks.
- Waterproof jacket - breathable waterproof materials like Goretex are much more comfortable than non-breathable materials which can end up being just as wet inside due to your sweat not escaping!
- Waterproof trousers which hopefully you won't need to use but just in case!!
- At least three layers - thin thermal layer or t-shirt made of wicking material rather than cotton next to the skin, a mid weight fleece and a thicker fleece.
- Extra fleece or sweater to put on during a stop.
- A thin top for when it gets hot walking. If you burn easily wear a t-shirt rather than a vest as the sun is stronger at altitude - (again not cotton - sports tops work well)
- Trousers loose enough not to restrict your movement, and shorts for hot weather. The trousers with zip off legs are a great option for summer walking. Jeans are stiff and restrictive for walking; they also get heavy if wet. If you can get trousers / shorts designed for outdoor use they tend to be good at wicking away sweat, are flexible and are quick drying if they get wet.
- Thermal leggings or tights are good to have for cold alpine starts to put on underneath trousers for that extra warmth!
- Gloves, hat, neck warmer or ear warmer, especially in spring, autumn and winter but can be needed in wind on higher walks in summer, particularly if camping out.
- Rucksack to carry spare sweater, waterproofs, packed lunch, water bottle, and other bits and pieces.
- Large plastic bag to put inside your rucksack to keep the contents completely dry. No rucksack is waterproof (too many seams!)
- Good sized water flask or a plastic water bottle. A Platypus or similar water system is also very handy.
- Walking poles - not essential, but good for balance on uneven ground and they reduce wear to your knees. Most people in the Alps use them!
- Sun screen - even in winter. The sun is very strong here so we recommend a minimum of factor 25 for the body and 50 for the face
- Lip salve with sunscreen - even in winter
- Sun glasses - in winter you should make sure they wrap well round your eyes at the sides to protect you from snow glare from the ground
- First Aid kit It is definitely worth having a basic first aid kit in your rucksack for any minor accidents or emergencies. Blister care is a good thing to have in your kit! It is also worth making sure you know what to do in the case of an emergency. In the Hautes Alpes the number for mountain rescue is 04 92 22 22 22 - this is worth noting in your kit.
- Compass and /or GPS - very useful for those slightly 'lost' moments!
EXTRAS FOR STAYING IN A REFUGE
- Towel - you can get lightweight towels specially designed for back packing which are good
- Sleeping bag liner or sheet. Blankets or duvets and pillows are provided in the refuges so you just need the extra layer for your own hygiene.
- Basic wash kit - in summer there is running water in the refuges but soap or other toiletries are not provided. Wet wipes are a good option if you don't want to carry soap around with you.
- Emergency food supplies - when you are walking in the mountains you are not likely to pass any shops. It is possible to buy food from the refuges but you should always have a few spare cereal bars and snacks to keep you going - especially in case you get lost!
OTHER USEFUL THINGS
- Slippers - so nice for feet in the evening and a bit of a bonus in a refuge!
- Camera, spare film or memory card and batteries.
- A small sit mat or bit of old camping mat - not essential but good for a bit of comfort when snacking in the mountains!
- Swim suit maybe. Please note boxer short style swimwear is not allowed in French pools. You must wear the fitted trunks style.
- Games or cards for evenings