I recently returned from hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc with Alpenwild and had such an amazing trip! The TMB was the first trek I had ever attempted, and it was much more challenging than the casual hiking I was accustomed to.
Despite the difficulty level of the trek, I came prepared and was ready for the challenge. Having the right gear on the TMB made the long days on the trail much more enjoyable.
Here’s what I would suggest are the most useful things to bring with you on the TMB.
Top 10 Useful Things to Pack for the TMB:
1) Positive Attitude
Of course, it’s important to be in good physical shape to conquer the TMB, but half the battle of the trek is your attitude! Keeping a positive outlook and believing in yourself will make the trails seem much more doable. Keep an open mind and be ready for anything.
2) Waterproof Hiking Boots
The last thing you want when hiking the TMB is to have soaked shoes and socks. You’ll likely pass through streams and puddles each day on the trail. Waterproof hiking boots keep your feet warm and dry, which makes for a much more pleasant experience overall.
3) Trekking Poles
Trekking poles help with balance, keep your hands above your heart, and can take pressure off your joints. Using poles isn’t for everyone, but we strongly recommend them. Before starting the trek, test them out on some local trails and see how you like them!
4) Trekking Backpack
Having the right backpack can make all the difference. A classic trekking backpack helps to distribute the weight of your pack and has lots of room for whatever you need to carry with you on the trail.
5) Broken-in Hiking Boots
Nothing is worse than getting blisters on your feet when you’re hiking 10+ miles every day. Be sure to break in your hiking boots very well before starting the TMB. It’s best to get your boots months in advance to make sure they’re right for you. Start out with wearing your new hiking boots around the house for a few days, then try taking them on practice hikes that vary in trail conditions.
Test them out on dirt trails, gravel trails, steep up/downhill trails, etc. Trying them out in all these conditions will ensure they’re suitable for the unpredictable terrain on the TMB.
6) Rain Gear
Hiking in the rain can be miserable if you aren’t prepared with the right gear. Make sure to find a good rain jacket and rain cover to go over your pack. This eliminates the need for an umbrella and keeps your hands free for your trekking poles. Rain pants are very useful if you are expecting rain for a prolonged amount of time.
7) Wicking Shirts
Your body will be working hard on the TMB, which means you are going to sweat. Wicking shirts dry much faster and help you avoid feeling drenched. Remember: cotton kills.
With long days on the trail, you’ll be getting a lot of sun exposure. Make sure to reapply sunscreen regularly to protect yourself from a nasty sunburn. Sweat-proof sunscreens do an excellent job of keeping you protected even when you are working hard.
9) Small Towel for Sweat
When you’re on the trail and feel sweat dripping on your brow, it can be annoying if you don’t have anywhere to wipe it. Having a small, lightweight towel or rag on hand is helpful to wipe off that unwanted sweat. REI sells ultralight microfiber towels that are very quick to dry.
Putting sunscreen on the top of your head isn’t practical. Make sure to bring a hat, a headband, or something similar, to protect the top of your head from getting sunburnt.