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On Alpenwild trips your guide will carry the following items which are available for your use on the trail and throughout the trip:
Backpack: A 20-35 liter size daypack should be sufficient for your needs, though we also recommend bringing a hip belt. There are some great daypacks available that weigh less than 2 pounds. Go Lite, Gregory, and Granite Gear all provide these light daypacks which can carry up to 20 pounds of gear quite easily. If you’re looking for quality mid-sized packs, you can find them from Jansport, Sierra Designs, Mountainsmith, REI, Osprey, Kelty, Dana Designs, and Deuter. You will find that a good majority of these packs include a built-in waterproof cover, but should you need to buy one, you can buy them separately for a fairly inexpensive price. In years’ past, Alpenwild’s Trip Leaders preferred Deuter packs in the Futura line which is still an excellent choice. This season, our Trip Leaders will utilize the Deuter ACT 32 pack: incredibly functional with easy access.
Hiking Boots: It is vital to have a good pair of hiking boots. When shopping for your boots, be sure to find a pair with proven comfort. These days, the majority of modern hiking boots do not need to be “broken in.” However, you will want to have tested the shoe on different trails and terrain over a period of 8-10 days while carrying a light pack. This will be comparable to the conditions you will experience on the Haute Route and you know if your boots will be comfortable enough for your trip. Both low-cut and mid-ankle boots can be used on the Haute Route, but it is highly recommended that your boot has a sturdy sole such as Vibram. While on the Haute Route, you will encounter dirt trails with some rocks as well as areas with large boulders where some climbing and hopping may be required. Remember, if your feet are happy then you will be as well. Our favorite boot is the Lowa Renegade which is also the most popular hiking boot. You can find other great hiking boots in a wide variety from Lowa, Asolo, Vasque, and Merrell.
Trekking Poles: Trekking poles are great to have on a long hike. Stability, balance, propulsion, and protection are just some of the benefits of having a set of trekking poles on your hike. We do not require our hikers to have trekking poles; however, nearly all hikers on the Haute Route utilize trekking poles throughout the trip. If you bring trekking poles, be sure that they are collapsible and can fit into your checked luggage. Due to security regulations, you will not be allowed to bring your poles onto the aircraft even if they fit inside your carry-on. At Alpenwild, our Trip Leaders recommend using the Black Diamond trekking poles. Our Trip Leaders have used these poles for over 10 years and they have proven their worth. Check out a new addition to Black Diamond’s line of trekking poles, the Ultra Mountain FL.
Rain Gear: Ideally, this is an item that would not be needed. Unfortunately, weather is a factor that must be accounted for. Lightweight rain gear (both tops and bottoms) can be your best friend if Mother Nature decides to add precipitation to your journey. We always recommend Gore-Tex rain gear, but there are other great lightweight rain gear options. Go-Lite and Sierra Designs also make rain gear that performs very well. Many French hikers are seen using inexpensive ponchos that shelter the body and backpack completely. This is also a viable option; it all boils down to your own personal preference.
Clothing: When selecting clothing think about dual-purpose clothes and about layering for warmth and keeping dry. It is better to have several layers you can take off and put on one at a time versus one heavy layer.
It would be wise to use plastic or zip-lock bags when packing your clothes. Also, using vacuum-sealed packing packs will free up the amount of space you have inside your pack.