The Practical Stuff

Insurance

Insurance is a pretty unexciting topic, but could become very important if you’re unlucky! All participants are required to have their own insurance appropriate for hiking in the alps, such as health, accident, mountain rescue, repatriation, cancellation, personal indemnity etc.

Transportation

The trip is booked, the bags are packed and you’re ready to go, but don’t forget about arranging how to get to the first cabane, hotel or trail head! If you’ve booked pick up then you can ignore the rest as we will have a driver at the airport to meet you. Generally, the meeting points for our guided hut-to-hut and day tours are in Verbier or Le Châble. The easiest way to get to these locations is by transfer from Geneva Cointrin Intl. Airport (Sion can be an option in winter if you’re travelling from London) to Verbier or Le Châble or by train which runs from the airport to Martigny where a change is necessary to continue to Le Châble. If you’re unsure how to get to us, get in touch and we will help you to arrange this part of your trip.

Packing List

The trip is booked and you know where and when you’re going, the next questions is normally what do I need to bring?  

Getting prepared to head into the mountains doesn’t need to be complicated and doesn’t necessarily require a lot of gear. Close to the ski lifts one often stumbles on whole families wearing Bermuda shorts and flip flops, as long as the weather is fine they are also fine, but we wouldn’t recommend it as the weather can and will turn quickly in the mountains.  

Going on a guided tour requires very little knowledge of the mountains, except perhaps what to bring, so let’s make it easy. Below you will find four lists, one for day-tours, one for overnight hut-to-hut tour, one for bivouacking (i.e. tenting or camping) tours and one for trail running. These lists are recommendations so please add anything else that you might require. Before we get into the lists, let’s start by mentioning that the most expensive gear isn’t always the best for you. The best gear is gear that is comfortable and suits the purposes. People often have the wrong impression that you need expensive gadgets to get out – this couldn’t be further from the truth (although, some of them are really fun!).

 

DAY TOURS

A normal day-tour takes around 10 hours, including lunch. Below is our equipment list for a trip like this. As you can see, it's very simple and you do not have to buy a new wardrobe.

  • Backpack - 15-25 litres
  • Rain jacket - bring this even if the weather forecast is sunny as it might be windy in the mountains!
  • Thin fleece or wool sweater
  • Hiking trousers or shorts - depending on weather
  • T-shirt and underwear
  • Hiking shoes or boots and comfortable socks - the shoes should be comfortable and stable
  • Snacks - for example chocolate, dried fruit, nuts or bars
  • Water for the day - 2 litres is recommended
  • Toilet paper or tissue paper (you never know)
  • Scarf or Buff
  • Hat
  • Gloves (if the weather forecast predicts cold)
  • Sunscreen - SPF 50 or above
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera

 

Overnight hut-to-hut tours (three nights)

This is our general packing list that we use for every hike we do regardless of whether it's winter, summer or autumn. The list is calculated on a 4 day trip (three nights).

Clothes

  • Rain jacket - bring this even if the weather forecast is sunny as it might be windy in the mountains (or you can bring a soft shell jacket and a poncho)!
  • Rain pants (depending on personal preference - but highly recommended if rain is predicted)
  • Fleece or wool sweater
  • Warm jacket - down or synthetic insulation 
  • Synthetic hiking trousers - Should be able to repel some rain, breath plenty, and dry fast
  • T-shirt and underwear for active use (two sets) and another set to sleep in
  • Hiking socks - two to three pairs (wool or synthetic)
  • Shorts
  • Scarf or Buff
  • Hat
  • Gloves

Equipment

  • Backpack - 25-40 litres
  • Hiking shoes or boots (comfortable, stable and preferable resistant to water)
  • Hiking poles – nice to have but not necessary
  • Toilet paper (you never know)
  • Head torch (with spare batteries)
  • Toiletries (the bare minimum and in small containers)
  • Travel sheets (silk works best)
  • Small pocket knife
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50 or above)
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Cash - for snacks and beverages (not all huts accept cards!)

Food and water

  • Snacks for three days of hiking - try mixing chocolate, dried fruit, nuts and bars
  • Water for the day – bottles with a capacity of at least 2 litres is recommended (you’ll be able to fill these up at the huts)

N.B. You should add navigational equipment (such as GPS, map and compass) and first aid kit if you’re on a self-guided trip!

 

MULTI DAY BIVOUACKING

Clothes

  • Rain jacket - bring this even if the weather forecast is sunny as it might be windy in the mountains (or you can bring a soft shell jacket and a poncho)!
  • Rain pants (depending on personal preference - but highly recommended if rain is predicted)
  • Fleece or wool sweater
  • Warm jacket - down or synthetic insulation 
  • Synthetic hiking trousers - Should be able to repel some rain, breath plenty, and dry fast
  • T-shirt and underwear for active use (two-three sets) and another set to sleep in
  • Hiking socks - two to three pairs (wool or synthetic)
  • Shorts
  • Scarf or Buff
  • Hat
  • Gloves

Equipment

  • Backpack - 45-90 litres (depending on the trips length)
  • Hiking shoes or boots (comfortable, stable and preferable resistant to water)
  • Hiking poles – nice but not necessary
  • Toilet paper and shovel (you know...leave no trace!)
  • Head torch (with spare batteries)
  • Toiletries (the bare minimum and in small containers)
  • Tent
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag rated for expected night time temperature (with margin)
  • Mattress - foam or self-inflating
  • Navigational equipment - map, compass, GPS (and proficiency to use them!)
  • First aid kit - fully stocked
  • Small pocket knife
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50 or above)
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Cash - for snacks and beverages (not all huts accept cards!)
  • Water filtration system - water is available along the trails, generally this water is safe to drink but water purifiers could be useful

Food and water

  • Snacks for all days of hiking - try mixing chocolate, dried fruit, nuts and bars
  • Water for the day – bottles with a capacity of at least 2 litres is recommended (you’ll be able to fill these up at the huts)
  • Food for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

 

TRAIL RUNNING

Day Runs

  • Trail running shoes
  • Running vest/backpack 
  • Rain jacket - bring this even if the weather forecast is sunny as it might be windy in the mountains
  • Running tights/shorts 
  • Long sleeved t-shirt
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Scarf or Buff
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Water bottles - filled at the start of the day (minimum 1.5 litres)
  • Electrolytes
  • Snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen - SPF 50 or above
  • Camera

For overnight runs to huts you should add:

  • Travel sheets
  • One set of lightweight clean clothes for evening use (you can generally borrow sandals in the huts but we recommend a fresh pair of socks...)
  • Toiletries
  • Cash - for snacks and beverages (not all huts accept cards!)