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Alps Gear List
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Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Alps Gear List on 08/01/2007 05:52:31 MDT Print View

On Saturday I'm taking off for a month of walking in the Alps. Tentatively I will be walking the Tour de Mont Blanc and if my legs are up to it, perhaps right on to the Walker's High Route. That should be about 3 weeks walking. But it all depends on the condition of my diabetes; right now things look pretty good, but if the cramps in my legs return then I will change to an easier walking route, like perhaps walking the Jura Mountains in the north of Switzerland, or lots of shorter walks in southern France or Northern Italy. Have to see when I get there.

This is the gear list I've come up with for now. I'm just too busy to get the proper weights written down or to offer the list iin a proper table. Let me know what you think!


  • GoLite Jam2 or the newly acquired Backpacking Light Arctic Pack

  • Home-made silnylon pack liner (if not taking the Arctic Pack)

Shelter and Sleeping:

  • Gossamer Gear SpinnShelter or a modified TarpTent Rainbow (still have to make time to sew on a door zipper)

  • Titanium Goat Adjustable Hiking Poles (I don't like walking with poles very much, though they have often done a lot to help me when my bad knees start hurting. I'm a little worried about the Titanium Goat poles... they've done a lot of sticking and loosening over the last few weeks)

  • Bozeman Mountain Works Vapr Bivy (if I take the SpinnShelter)

  • MontBell Ultralight Sleeping Pad 90 (I was going to take my Artiach Light Plus Closed Cell Ground Mat, 3/4 length... only 75 g!!!... but it is just too bulky for the plane)

  • 12 titanium skewer stakes (4 for the bivy)

  • MontBell UL Superstretch Alpine Downhugger #3 Sleeping Bag (wanted to get a Nunatak quilt, but don't have the money)

  • MontBell UL System Pillow. I'll use it on the plane, too

  • MontBell UL Down Jacket (I thought of using synthetic fill, but just like the weight and compactness of the down. If things get bad I can always retire to a mountain hut)

  • Extra pair of SmartWool Adrenaline short socks

Clothing, worn:

  • Patagonia Trim Brim Hat (wide brim sun... and rain... hat)

  • MontBell Superfine Merino Wool Short Sleeve Undershirt

  • Lightweight polyester running shorts

  • Mammut Courmayeur Pants (will usually roll them up to the knees to act as breeches)

  • SmartWool Adrenaline wool short socks

  • The North Face Anurva Running Shoes (I have the GoLite Spike Trails, but after walking around in them a lot I'm somewhat wary of the lack of lateral stability in them... worried about rocky trails)

  • Simple, solar powered analog watch

  • MontBell Quickdry Towel (will use to wipe sweat while walking, as a regular towel for washing, but also to act as a collar for my crewneck undershirt)

Clothing, carried:

  • Aforementioned MontBell UL Down Jacket

  • Montane LightSpeed (I was going to use the Finetrack Breezewrap Jacket, but it is just too short and tends to hike up at my rump while wearing a pack. I don't like the wrist elastic on the LightSpeed, but otherwise it's a great jacket)

  • Finetrack Floodrush Tights (very water resistant and light, these add extra warmth to the legs, both while walking and while sleeping)

  • Paramo Cascada Jacket (I'm still debating whether to take this rather heavy, but very versatile, supple rain jacket or my much lighter Montane Superfly Jacket... they both have advantages and disadvantages. Another advantage of the Paramo jacket is that I can wear it in the city and not look too much like a mountain climber, plus, because it has a thin liner inside, and is more like a shirt with waterproof properties, it can worn most of the time, including as part of the sleeping system, and have the sleeves rolled up for ventilation)

  • Turtle Fur fleece tuque

  • MontBell convertable Fleece Mitts (the front ends can flip open allowing for fingers to operate a camera or draw)

  • Extra pair of socks

  • Underpants (for traveling)

  • Light cotton/ polyester trousers (for traveling... not sure about this right now. It's extra weight, but I'll be spending time in town, too)

  • Bandana

Cooking and Water

  • Snowpeak Gigapower Stove (inside pot)

  • Snowpeak gas cannister (to be bought once I reach Zurich)

  • Foil and plastic cardboard windscreen

  • Evernew .9 liter titanium pot, with stuff sack (I use the lid/ bowl that comes with it. Others may like the lightness of an aluminum foil lid, but when I eat I prefer to have my food all at once in several containers rather than digging in my pot all the time)

  • Light plastic cup (many people think this item unnecessary, but I like to drink my tea while the water for the meal is boiling. I can also eat soup while keeping my main dish in the pot)

  • Bamboo spoon (very lightweight and strong. Stronger and stiffer than a lexan spoon, and lighter than a titanium spoon. Also the feel of the material and the knowledge that it is a natural and recyclable item adds to its beauty)

  • Bamboo chopsticks (so many things can be done with this item while cooking and eating)

  • Bic lighter and film cannister with matches

  • Sponge with small bottle of MontBell all-purpose soap.

  • Light daypack also used for food (enough for five days worth of food. A little tougher than my other stuff sacks because of the sharp edges of plastic containers and the weight of the food)

Essential Items

  • Classic Swiss Army Knife (I may remove the tweezers and toothpick and possibly the red plastic cover to the knife)

  • 15m length of EVC spectra core cord (not the absolute lightest, but has good grip and is very strong)

  • Whistle (part of the sternum strap buckles)

  • National BF-198B LED Headlight (tiny Japanese 3 LED light that uses a single CR2 lithium battery. Simple, uncomplicated, and lasts forever. Doesn't have the longest throw of beam, but is good enough for the walking that I do. I will most likely use it mostly for reading in the tent at night and occasionally for dawn or evening walking. It is designed to be adjustable so that you can hang it from your neck and you gain the advantge of light cast from below your eye level, much better for distinguishing shadows on the ground)

  • First aid kit (small, with just basic essentials like bandages, antibiotic cream, ibuprofin, superglue... for closing wounds, which is what superglue was originally designed for...I could use African soldier ants, but I have a feeling they're somewhat uncommon in the Alps..., sleeping pills... for when the ground seems hard and uncomfortable... earplugs, for those awful times when I have to sleep in a room with snorers. Still have to research other items necessary)

  • Repair kit (duct tape, tiny sewing kit, vulcanizing glue and fabric patches for slippery silnylon fabric)

  • Toiletry kit (shaving oil with small razor, MontBell all-purpose soap, toothpaste... child's toothbrush, toothbrush with the handle cut off to act as a fingernail brush, credit-card-sized, very light mirror... can perhaps also be used as a signalling mirror in an emergency, roll of toilet paper with spool removed, titanium trowel that can also be used as a stake.)

  • Diabetes kit (perhaps the item I am most concerned about and which I must protect at all costs. Insulin, needles, blood glucose meter, blood strips, log book, copy of diabetes identity card, emergency glucose)

  • Documents (passport, health insurance card, money, credit cards, diabetes identity card, plane tickets, youth hostel card)

  • Maps (the trails are too long and too many to carry all the maps available. Will buy a general overview map of the Mont Blanc and Matterhorn area and get more detailed maps along the way)


  • Camera* (I will be spending a lot of time taking photographs and I want the best control I can have with them, so I am taking my heavy Nikon D70s with Nikon 18-200 VR lens. The VR lens allows me to do away with a tripod in most situations and keep the kit relatively light by only having a lens that covers a good range of angles)

  • Extra lithium batteries and (perhaps) charger

  • 2 x 2 gigabyte CF cards for the great number of photos I will take

  • Sketchbook* (very important. I write entries every night and do a lot of sketches and cartoons to go along with the writing. I value this even more than my camera and am thinking of possibly only taking the sketchbook and no camera)

  • Watercolor set* (small traveling kit with palette, paints, brush, pencil, and pen)

  • Book* (those hours on the plane can be very long, as well the hours in hotels and airports. One book will just not be enough for a month, though. I am thinking of bringing Edward Abbey's "Desert Solitaire", one of my favorite books, to read once again. Any suggestions, anyone? Just can't be too big. I have to carry it and I'm trying to keep the weight way down)

  • Snufkin figurine (Snufkin, my hero since I was a boy, from Tove Jansson's "Moomintroll" books series, represents part of how I view and would like to live my life. One of my favorite fictional characters)

The camera and lens, book, notebook, sketchbook, watercolor set, and Snufkin figurine are not included in the base pack weight.

Edited by butuki on 08/01/2007 07:20:10 MDT.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Miguel, good luck on 08/01/2007 09:49:00 MDT Print View

And be safe. No doubt you have agonized over that list for months, so I won't give any silly advice except take a second shirt?!
I look forward to the awesome photos for your blog/site, but hey, no pressure : )

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
re: Alps Gear List on 08/01/2007 11:41:14 MDT Print View

Brett, thanks for the encouragement. I'm both psyched and nervous... maybe too much thinking about all this! Actually any advice you may have would be great. I'm still kind of anxious about the gear I'm taking. And I just discovered that the Austrian Alpine Club membership card for which I joined last week for the hut discounts and travel insurance (and the only mountain walking insurance that I've been able to find that covers people from other countries and covers diabetics) has my name wrong and the people at the UK office who issued it refuse to acknowledge the mistake and reissue my card before I take off on Saturday. That basically leaves me with no travel insurance... very scary for a diabetic. I'm not sure what to do... give up walking in the Alps or just go and da*n the torpedos. I'm so upset I can't sleep tonight.

If I take the Paramo jacket I won't need another shirt because the Paramo jacket is like a warm shirt in itself. But I am taking a MontBell Chameece Henly Neck Long Sleeve Shirt, which I forgot to add to the gearlist.

Anything else you think I might need?

What are you doing for the summer? Any good walks planned?

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
re: Alps Gear List on 08/01/2007 12:19:41 MDT Print View

don't worry about your packlist. It covers the essentials and it will be more than OK for the TMB and HR.
I understand your worries about your diabeties but perhaps it helps that at least on the TMB you will see lots of other hikers and every few days, you have the opportunity to visit some towns.

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: re: Alps Gear List on 08/01/2007 12:25:46 MDT Print View

I would staple your receipt and email to UK office to the membership card as proof of the mistake and go for it. Your receipt and email shows you paid for insurance and chances are you will not have an accident.

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
realx and ejoy on 08/01/2007 15:55:50 MDT Print View

Miguel ......your list is perfect, the TMB is an "easy rute", full of people, full of huts, if you need something chamonix and courmayeur have shops and shops whith all the gear that you can imagine.....

Please ..... ejoy your walk and forget your worries ;-)

ps . (take the rainbow :-)

Edited by pitagorin on 08/01/2007 15:57:21 MDT.

Jeroen Wesselman
(jeroenman) - F

Locale: Europe
Alps Gear List on 08/03/2007 06:56:35 MDT Print View

Good luck, whatever you will take with you, you will have a great time. I am sure you will love the TMB and there will be so many opportunities to make great pictures or to sketch (by the way; what sketch/note book are you using..Moleskine?)

Don't worry about looking like a climber, that's what will set you apart from the regular tourists but I always like to have some descent looking clothes because I always end up spending more time in towns than planned.

I would love to read about your experiences when you return.

Happy hiking.


Edited by jeroenman on 08/03/2007 06:57:44 MDT.