Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a popular multi-day that requires some planning to prepare for. Everything from booking all the accommodations, to training, to the TMB packing list. If interested in a detailed TMB itinerary check out our post Tour du Mont Blanc Hike.
This TMB packing list is designed for individuals staying at hotels and refuges as it does not include any camping gear. Suggestions for footwear, clothing, hiking poles, day packs, hydration packs, and electronics are all included to help with preparing for this amazing adventure.
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When prepping the TMB packing list should you bring hiking boots or trail runners?! We have heard some heated discussions on the trail about the type of shoes one should wear on TMB. Hold your breath! It boils down to your preference and what you are used to 😊
You want what is comfortable for you and worn in, not a brand-new pair of shoes. We both prefer hiking boots. We wore our trusted Merrell Moab’s that have hiked with us through Europe, North, South & Central America. Other than comfort, the second most important thing is that they are waterproof as you will most likely end up getting rained on at some point during the TMB.
It is also important to properly tie your shoes/boots so that your feet are not moving too much in your boots.
After 10 days of hiking our feet were exhausted and hurting but we did not have any blisters or discomfort due to the boots.
Other than your choice of shoes, the choice of socks is another thing that makes an enormous difference in your comfort while hiking. Good quality wool socks are essential.
Layers, layers, layers, and quick-drying clothes – is the name of the game when it comes to hiking the TMB. The weather is unpredictable, and you want to limit the weight that you must carry with you. By staying at refuges and hotels during the TMB hike, you get quite a few opportunities to wash and dry your clothes.
TMB Packing List:
3 Technical T-shirts
1-2 Long sleeve shirts – this can be a combination of thermal shirts and sun protection/performance shirts
2 Pairs of hiking pants – convertible hiking pants can be used as shorts during hot days and save room on packing a separate pair.
1 Insulated jacket or fleece jacket or a vest
1 Waterproof jacket
1 Pair waterproof pants
3 Pairs of good hiking socks
1 Pair of gloves
1 Sun protection buff – can be used as a scarf too if you need to warm up
1 Sun protection hat & 1 wool hat or at least earmuffs to protect the ears during windy days
1 Pair of slippers – they are necessary for walking around refuges, and some hotels, as they do not allow hiking boots indoors. Make sure you get a pair that can get wet as you may need to use them when showering at refuges or campsites.
Intimate wear – quick-drying material
Thermals to sleep and lounge in
Pair of earplugs and a sleeping mask
If you hire a luggage transfer service, which we highly recommend, you should be able to get away with just carrying a day pack with you. For us, this service was worth spending the money on as we both have bad backs and issues with our knees. We used Taxi Besson to transfer our luggage from location to location it was €250 per 15kg (33 lbs.) bag, and one bag was sufficient for both of us.
We love Osprey backpacks and we carried Talon 22L and Stratos 26L with us the entire tour. They were big enough to carry our things on the days when luggage transfer did not deliver (such as Rifugio Bonatti).
There are many water-filling stations during Tour du Mont Blanc and you never have to carry too much water with you.
For the convenience of it and for a balanced backpack we used our 3L hydration packs every day and usually did not need to refill during the hike.
Hiking poles are a MUST on TMB! Ascents and descents are brutal on the knees and hiking poles are extremely helpful. Find a pair that is lightweight and collapsible to fit in your backpack when not needed.
When staying at the refuges lights are out by 10 pm and if you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night headlamp is the best way to go. They are lightweight and easy to carry. You can always use your phone but it does tie up one of your hands to hold it.
All you need is your phone as a camera and whatever you are using as your GPS device for the trail map, we use Garmin Fenix 6 watch.
If you like to take pictures with your professional camera, by all means, bring it too but for us, the weight is a deciding factor and it did not make it on this trip.
If sleeping in refuges, especially in dormitories I would recommend bringing a sleeping liner with you. Some refuges do not have the ability to wash the linens every day, they usually do for private rooms, but dormitories are hit and miss. Just to be safe I would bring one. The silk ones are very lightweight, keep you warm in cold weather, and are breathable in warm weather.
At some refuges, towels may be rented out at extra cost or you need to bring them with you. Towels can be very heavy to carry with you and who wants that? I was able to find microfiber towels, extra lightweight, that we took with us. Now they are not your cozy fluffy home towels but they get the job done and dry quickly.
Ultralight ditty bags can be a lifesaver to separate your dirty laundry from your clean laundry when living out of the backpack. Or just when you want to consolidate and separate things. They come in assorted sizes and quality.
Band-Aids, Advil, Voltaren cream for the knee, and allergy eye drops were a must for us. After the first two days of hiking, our muscles and backs were so sore, we could barely walk (make sure you stretch before and after the hike!), and Advil and CBD lotion were a lifesaver. Your body takes a beating even if you do not feel it sometimes.
Try to buy the smallest size of toiletries possible. Shampoo, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, and foldable toothbrush in travel size can easily be found in almost any grocery store. For specific skin treatments, you may use or need you can use a contact lens container, I usually use one side for the face wash and the other for the face moisturizer. It’s compact, lightweight, and can hold much more than you think.
Do not skimp on body lotions and sunscreen size though. You may need to bring full size to last 10 days. Do not forget lip balm with SPF!
FOOD AND SNACKS
Food and snacks are readily available on the trail as you will be coming into a village to spend a night almost every night. However, we did bring our favorite breakfast bars and small packages of nuts with us every day to have available in case we do not make it to the village in time or decided to hike through lunch and not stop at any refuges for food.
You can also ask your accommodations the night before to prepare packed lunch to take with you, that way you can stop where ever you would like for food.
Most of the time you will be exhausted after dinner and ready for bed, but if you do have more energy or find yourself finishing a hike early one day some easy-to-carry things with you that can keep you entertained are cards and dice. There are always games you can come up with that will entertain a group. Also, a lightweight good reading book to help you fall asleep.
We brought our hiking speaker with us, we like to listen to music while hiking by ourselves and it came in handy during the days when the hikes were not crowded. I would not recommend using a speaker if there are other hikers around, earbuds are a better option for that. If sleeping in dormitories, earbuds can be used as earplugs to get through the nights of snoring.
Luckily while on Tour du Mont Blanc you will be walking through villages and towns on a daily basis and if you forget or destroy or lose something you will have an opportunity to replace/repair it, which makes packing for this trip even less stressful.