A nice gearlist for the TMB. I did the TMB this summer in August and I would say that most of what you have is just right. I agree with Roger on some of the items he mentions.
- You definitely don't need a GPS for the TMB. The signs are generally so well posted that you could for the most part do the entire trail without a map, though I wouldn't recommend that. The trail is also so wide that it is just about impossible to miss, even in the dark when ultramarathoners run the whole thing.
- As Roger indicated there is so much wonderful bread and cheese along the way that it would be a shame to miss them. I first had a Classic Swiss Army knife but it was so small and so useless at cutting bread that I bought a folding stainless steel #7 Opinel knife (don't buy the more common cheaper version! It will rust within a day) so that I could sit in the hills eating bread, salami, and cheese every day at lunch.
- People in France, Italy, and Switzerland love drinking cocoa. You can find it in most of the towns that you pass through, at just about any cafe and all the refugios. Try the wonderful Nutella cocoa at Refugio Elena in Italy! As to milk, I, too, prefer fresh milk especially the GREAT milk in the Alps! I bought a small bottle of fresh milk for the evenings and mornings at local grocery stores all along the way (you will always see one somewhere), but used a little powdered milk for my drinks during the day.
- The only piece of your gear that I'm somewhat concerned about is your quilt. I just got the Cocoon Pro 90 and it is DEFINITELY not adequate for the TMB. There were some nights along the trail when the temperature really dropped and it snowed a little higer up (never in the campsites I stayed at, though it could have at Refugio Elena when I camped there... usually something they won't let you do, but the refuge was full, so they made an exception for a few of us... it was FREEZING that night!) I was really glad I had my MontBell #3 along with a MontBell Alpine Down Jacket. And that was with a double walled tent... warmer than the TarpTents.
- I agonized about whether to take my small Nikon 5400 or the Nikon D70s DSLR (bigger and heavier than the D40). I decided on the D70s and the Nikkor VR 18-200 and am really glad I did. If you are serious about photography there just aren't any digicams yet that can compete with the control, picture quality, and battery life of a DSLR. With the number of photos I take in a day (I came back with 850 images) the battery in my 5400 would have died after two hours. I also really appreciated the wide angle and telephoto abilities of the 18-200 VR lens. WIth the Mont Blanc massif often across the valley along which you are walking it was nice to be able to capture as much of the range in one picture as possible, but also to be able to zoom in and get the more distant details. I brought two 2 gigabyte CF cards, but only needed one.
- For clothing I used zip-off trousers, a wool base T-shirt, a windbreaker, and a wide-brim nyln hat for most of the walk, rarely needing more than that, except in the rain and two really cold days. I originally went with Schoeller tights, but felt so conspicuous and ridiculous in the towns (one woman at a youth hostel exclaimed, "Ou-la-la!" when she saw me) that I switched to zip-off pants along the way. If you go with a light quilt, be very sure your clothing system can complement the sleeping system for the cold days.
The TMB was one of the most wonderful walks I've ever done. I met so many wonderful people and saw so many awe-inspiring sights that I will always hold this trip in my memories. I hope you and your family find the same thing together. (By the way, one great place for a zero day is Champex. It's a tranquil place where you can forget about walking for a while)