Expect the unexpected on this trip. While we would love to guarantee warm, sunny weather for the Haute Route trek, we can’t. Weather can change quickly and you can go from warm and dry, to wet and cold in a matter of hours so being prepared is critical. Make sure you’ve got plenty of layers and we strongly advise that those layers are high quality. That said, you’ve got to find a balance between being prepared and not carrying too much weight. You spend anywhere from 5-10 hours on your feet a day with some serious altitude gains so you will thank yourself for not overpacking on this trip.
Below is a list of our recommended kit for your trip. We work closely with Jottnar as they make, in our opinion, the best technical mountaineering clothing out there. All Adventure Base clients receive 15% off their range and you can learn more here.
KEY CLOTHING ITEMS
HARDSHELL WATERPROOF JACKET
A hardshell jacket is one of your key pieces of kit. Make sure it’s big enough to wear over multiple layers and that it comes with a hood. You’ll use this if the weather becomes a little wild and you need protection from wind and snow. Something like: The ‘Hodr’, ‘Grim’ or ‘Odin’ Jottnar hardshell jacket.
A synthetic down jacket comes in handy when an extra layer of warmth is required, which can also be removed easily when too warm. You will also use it for wearing in the evenings at the huts or popping outside for a view of the night sky. Something like: The ‘Asger’ or ‘Floyen’ jackets from Jottnar are ideal.
FLEECE / MID LAYER
There are a few options here depending on your preferences but this needs to be either a warm fleece or a thicker base layer item. This is one of your key insulating layers so something comfortable and technical is recommended. Something like: The ‘Erling’ or ‘Heimdall’ from Jottnar.
You’ll wear this everyday as your first layer so it’s worth bringing a minimum of two (so you always have a dry one to wear). We recommend moisture wicking material as you will work up a sweat on the uphills but you want that moisture to disappear so it doesn’t freeze when you stop at the top. Something Like: The ‘Ove’ or ‘Mar’ by Jottnar but ideally long-sleeve.
Trekking T-Shirts / Tops are what you’re likely to spend the majority of your time in. The Haute Route Trek is often completed in the summer so days can get very hot. A couple of high wicking options are best here.
HIKING SHORTS / TROUSERS
Don’t underestimate a good set of hiking shorts / trousers. You’re looking for something that’s going to get rid of sweat and not chafe, while provide you with good pocket options for on the go items like snacks and maps. Something like: The Patagonia Quandary Shorts
Hopefully you wont need them but for when you do, you’ll be grateful. It’s simple, get a pair of trousers that keep the water out. Something like: Torrentshell 3L pants by Patagonia
We recommend a good pair of hiking boots with ankle support for this trip although it can also be done in trail shoes. With trail shoes you run the risk of potentially going over on your ankle which often means ‘game over’ for your haute Route Trek experience. What ever you go for, make sure you’ve worn them in properly. Beware of the blister! Something Like: The Salomon X Ultra or Quest.
A hot topic for the Haute Route Trek. Most of the refuges you stay in require you to leave your shoes at the door in exchange for a chunky pair of crocs to wear inside. If you’re trying to pack light then don’t worry about ‘flipflops’ but if you want your own set up then find yourself a light pair.
3 HATS / FACE COVERINGS
1 sun cap, 1 warm hat that covers your ears and 1 buff. The idea should be that if needed, you can cover every part of of your face in bad weather and also keep yourself protected from the sun
Make sure you bring along some good sunglasses for the trip
We recommend a backpack between 30-35 litres pack but it all depends on how you like to pack and what you like to bring. It should be large enough to carry all your equipment but light enough to keep the weight down. The backpack should have a waist strap and ideally come with a rain cover for those soggy days. Something like: The Talon or the Tempest from Osprey
Trekking poles are not essential but are strongly advised. They help remove some of the weight from you knees and leg muscles on the up but also help with stabilisation while carrying a big backpack. Ideally look for poles that collapse as you can then store them easily and securely in, or on your pack. Something like: Black Diamond Distance Trekking Poles