• Home
  • Travel Planning,

How To Dress of Mountain Hiking and Climbs

 HOW TO DRESS FOR THE MOUNTIANS AND CLIMBING

Hiking Italy, Italan Dolomite's

Having the right clothes significantly increases your comfort and also your chances for success when alpine climbing. Weather conditions and temperatures changes extremely quickly in the Alps summertime. You need to be able to stay dry and maintain the right degree of warmth frommorning till the afternoon, without bringing your whole wardrobe in your backpack.

Being too cold, too warm, or wet quickly becomes an additional factor of fatigue. Moving around with badly adjusted clothing and equipment costs you precious climbing time, and time is safety in the mountains.

Following is a list of clothing that we suggest that you bring for all mountain hikes.

Base layer: Long-sleeve underwear top and long johns made of wool or synthetic materials is best to wear close to the body. Avoid cotton since it tends to get cold and clammy when wet. Depending on temperatures and your type of mountaineering pant, the long johns can be worn underneath or not. However, a long underwear top and one layer of long pants is always worn in order to protect our skin from the snow and the strong sun radiation in the mountains.

Pants: A thin pair of soft shell mountaineering pants, such as the Norrona Svalbard pants, are comfortable with or without a base layer and practical to wear most days. Additionally, bring a light pair of shell pants for rain, snow and wind protection. Instead of baggy gore-tex ski pants, bring a light pair of rain pants that you can pull on without taking off your boots and crampons (really handy when standing in the snow). For example the Falketind pack-light pants.

Jackets: As insulation layer, both a thin and a thick fleece is good to have; the choice of the day depends on the temperature. Norrona 29- and Narvik-series provide various thicknesses and have hoods, which can be used as sun and wind protection. Wind stopper fleeces are less convenient since they are heavy and do not breathe as well as a fleece, and you need a wind and waterproof shell jacket anyway.
Always bring a thin gore-tex shell jacket or a light rain jacket for rain and wind protection. We recommend the Falketind pack-light or the Bitihorn rain jacket from Norrona. When going as high as Mt Blanc, a light down jacket is also nice to have since is can be very cold with the wind chill.

Hats: Sunhat and beanie are both indispensable for long summer days in the mountains. The face also needs to be protected with 30-50 sun cream, and the eyes with sun glasses (preferable category 4). For climbing Mt Blanc, also bring skiing goggles to keep the face warm in case of cold winds.

Gloves: You need a thin pair of waterproof gloves, impregnated leather is good. For cold days and high peaks, bring an extra pair of warmer gloves too.

Boots: A pair of gaiters to link pants and boots is always good. Even if the snow is not very deep, the gaiters will prevent you from ripping your pants in pieces the first day you are using your brand new, super sharp crampons.

For most summer mountaineering we use a light and comfortable boot such as the Scarpa Triolet. It is very nice for walking and works well for all the climbing except for very technical ice routes. It is ideal for our Matterhorn courses.

For climbing Mont Blanc, a warmer boot is recommended if you easily get cold feet. La Sportive Nepal Top and Scarpa Jorasses GTX are all round boots that work well for both for summer and winter climbing in the Alps.

Scarpa Phantom Lite is an option for those who are concerned about cold feet. It might be good on Mont Blanc, but for all other summer mountaineering in the Alps it is unnecessary warm and heavy.

There is a lot to choose from on the market when it comes to alpine climbing boots. You just have to try them out and see what fits your feet best. For a first time mountaineer, renting boots to try out the first week is a good option.

SLEEPING SHEET:It has become standard practice in the Alpine refuges to use a personal sleeping sheet during overnight stays: enforcement is varied but in SAT huts it is obligatory. Using a sleeping sheet helps to save precious resources (electricity and water) whose supply is difficult in itself because of the mountainous environment as wall as contribute to the overall hygiene of the refuge, and mattresses and blankets used in the rooms. Sleeping sheets can also be purchased directly from the refuge

How to Pack and Organize Your Backpack

HOW TO PACK AND ORGANIZE YOUR BACKPACK FOR LONG HIKES

Loading a backpack is pretty simple. If possible, first load your backpack at home. You can spread out your gear on a clean floor, visually confirm you've got everything and feel less rushed as you load up.

Use a checklist to ensure you've got everything you need. This lessens the chance something gets left behind.

THE BASIC WAY TO PACK YOUR BACKPACK FOR LONG TREKS

As with anything this suggestion is a good starting point.  Most individuals tend to find this method works well, each hiker may wish to make adjustments based on their body shape and individuals likes.  However, I would suggest packing close to this method for the first days of walking to get a good feel of your equipment and how to make best use of your backpack. 

The Bottom of the Pack

Virtually all backpacks have large openings at the top and are known as top-loading packs. A seldom-seen alternative is a panel-loading pack which uses a zippered sidewall flap.

Most backpackers shove their sleeping bag into the bottom of the pack. On some packs, there is a zippered opening at the bottom of the packbag, known as the sleeping bag compartment, for this purpose.

The bottom of the pack is also a good place for other items you won't need until you make camp at night: long underwear being used as sleepwear, for example; a pillowcase; maybe a sleeping pad, if it's the kind that rolls up into a tiny shape.

Any other needed-only-at-night items can go down low except a headlamp or flashlight. Always have your light source in a readily accessible space.

The Pack's Core

Your heaviest items should be placed 1) on top of your sleeping bag and 2) close to your spine. Usually these items will be:

  •  Your food stash, either in a couple of stuff sacks or in a bear canister.
  •  Your water supply, either in a hydration reservoir or bottles.
  •  Your cook kit and stove might also go here,though both could be wedged into the periphery of the load if small and light enough.

Carrying a hydration reservoir? Most newer packs include a reservoir sleeve. This is a slot that holds a reservoir close to your back and parallel to your spine. It's easier to insert the reservoir while the pack is still mostly empty, so that leaves you 2 choices:

  • If you prefer efficiency, insert it at home. You'll have a loaded pack ready to go as soon as you reach the trail head.
  • If you want the coldest water possible, carry the reservoir in a cooler and load it and your other middle- and upper-pack contents at the trail head.

Heavier items should be centered in your pack—not too high, not too low. The goal is to create a predictable, comfortable center of gravity. Heavy items too low cause a pack to feel saggy. Too high and the load might feel tipsy.

In the past, traditional pack-loading advice recommended that for trail-walking, heavy items should be carried a little higher in a pack. Today, with most packs designed to ride close to the body, it's best to simply keep heavy items close to the spine and centered in the pack.  If you have an older style of pack with external frames you might wish to move heavy items a bit higher.

On the Outter sides and Outsides of the Pack

Wrap softer, lower-weight items around the weightier items to prevent heavier pieces from shifting. What items are these? Your tent body,rainfly, an insulation layer, a rain jacket. These items can help stabilize the core and fill empty spaces.

Stash frequently used items within easy reach. This includes your map, compass, GPS, sunscreen, sunglasses, headlamp, bug spray, first-aid kit, snacks, rain gear, pack-cover, toilet paper and sanitation trowel. Place them in the pack's top pocket or other external pocket, if one exists. Some packs even offer tiny pockets on the hip-belt.

If carrying liquid fuel, make sure your fuel bottle cap is on tightly. Pack the bottle upright and place it below your food in case of a spill.
Other Tips

  • Fill up empty spaces. For example, put utensils, a cup or a small item of clothing inside your cooking pots. Fill up your bear canister.
  • Split the weight of large communal items (e.g., tent) with others in your group. You carry the main body, for example, and your friend can carry the poles and rain-fly.
  • Tighten all compression straps to limit load-shifting.

The Desired Result

Ideally, a well-loaded pack will:

  • Feel balanced when resting on your hips.
  • Feel cohesive, a whole unit, with nothing shifting or swaying inside.
  • Feel stable and predictable as you walk, at one with your upper body.


Other Packing Tips

  • Tent poles: If your pack offers elasticized side pockets, place the poles down one side of the pack, behind one or more compression straps, with one end of the poles in the pocket.
  • Sleeping pad: You may need an extra set of straps to attach it to a lash point on the top of the pack or near your waistline on the outside of the pack. Another option: Put it beneath your top pocket (lid) and the top opening of the pack, then tighten the lid to the pack. The pad may be vulnerable to slipping out either side, so secure the pad to the pack with an extra strap or 2. Note: It's fine to carry tent poles and a sleeping pad inside a pack if you have the space.
  • Trekking poles: Same deal; just put the grips in the pocket and the tip pointing upward.
  • Ice axe: External tool loops make it possible to carry an inverted axe on your back until it's needed.
  • Crampons: Carry them inside your pack in a protective case. Or, lash them to the outside of the pack as long as you use protective point covers.
  • Other tools: Some packs offer a series of external stitched loops called a daisy chain. Use it to clip or tie small items on your pack.

Note: Minimize the amount of gear you attach to your pack's exterior. External items can potentially get snagged on brush in areas of dense vegetation. Too much external gear could also jeopardize your stability.

  • Carry a pack cover. Though some backpacks are made with waterproof fabric, they have seams and zippers that are vulnerable to seepage during a downpour. A pack cover is worth its weight when rain becomes persistent.
  • Bring a few repair items. Wrap strips of duct tape around your water bottles or trekking poles; in case a strap pops or some other disaster occurs, a quick fix could keep you going. Take along a few safety pins in case a zipper fails.
  • Consider a camera case. The need for one depends on your camera and your desire for quick access when shooting.

Italiaoutdoors di Vernon McClure's Travel Style

Italiaoutdoors di Vernon McClure's Travel Style

When you are planning your vacation it is important to understand the way of thinking of the planner.

It is About Life, Style is an Option

I believe travel should be interesting, fun, intimate and an enriching experience, where one is confronted with new cultures, different languages, alternative ways of thinking, as well as splendid natural panoramas. All it takes for one to be propelled into the unfamiliar is a keen sense of curiosity, and an open and absorbent mind ready to question and understand, as well as to grow from a full-immersion experience. I also firmly believe that travel to a foreign country should be a safe, stress- and worry-free experience where one feels as comfortable and relaxed abroad as when travelling in one’s own hometown.

Integrity, Passion and Enthusiasm.

I do not sell any trips or destinations if I am not passionate about them, and I focus on the regions I know best. I envision how I would like to travel and the kind of journeys I would like to take, then with extreme curiosity, enthusiasm, spirit of adventure, spontaneity, and sense of challenge drives me to create and guide a memorable active vacation.

Quality and Authenticity.

Nowadays, quantity and generic products seem to be the norm. I opt to offer less in number, but more in careful design and attention to the smallest details in order to provide a signature vacation. I explore areas yet to receive the recognition in the main stream guidebooks, but like hidden shrines they house many unexpected and exquisite treasures. I research the distinct characteristics and unique activities available on every one of our trips in order to provide an authentic experience. Of course, I never ignore those “not to be missed” classic journeys, where you venture to see a world-renown site. But as I mentioned before once you have "been there and done that" we move on to discover the hidden nooks, local hangouts, and special significance of these less familiar places or the forgotten history that made a sight special, before great marketing.

Intimacy and Safety.

I like to travel in small groups of people, and I encourage private parties of family or friends. I find that this fosters an incredible sense of intimacy and camaraderie among the participants, and it facilitates contact with the local people in the places we visit. Any outside resource I utilize during our programs are professionals, well experienced and who love what they do. During our programs you will understand that I know the territory and never take chances or cut corners, keeping in mind at all times your well-being and safety.

Responsibility and Awareness.

Nowadays, you hear or read about eco-travel and green-travel everywhere but the best way to interact with a host country is to be a “Responsible Traveler”. Responsibility towards the environment as well as the local people we visit, their culture and their customs. Where possible, we opt for public transportation for our transfers, such as trains and buses. When it’s not logistically feasible, local private companies provide the service, but the use of vehicles is kept to the essential minimum. Hiking and trekking follows official trails or bike routes along local club riding routes and bike paths. Where possible, we utilize·hotels that respect energy-efficiency standards; we support local restaurants recognized by the Slow Food movement (www.slowfood.com) for their commitment to sustainable farming and agriculture; we purchase locally grown produce and locally produced delicacies.··

Lots of Fun.

I like to research and develop your trips. But, most of all, I enjoy the fun of exploring and helping you get to know the Italy that I have called home for over 20 years.

Suggested Bike Touring Vacations in Italy

SUGGESTED BIKE TOURING VACATIONS IN ITALY

bike touring italy

Italy is one of the most bike-friendly countries in the world, it should be since half the Bike Industry is located in the country.  The USA has baseball, football, and basketball while Italy has soccer, cycling, and motor sports (and a mixture of other outdoor recreation activities). Any given day throughout Italy there are cycling events, individuals out training or just using the bicycle as a primary means of transportation.  Combine this passion for the bicycle with the diverse historical and cultural diversity, of the Italian Regions, you have a perfect destination for your active vacation.  

In this section you will find suggested bike touring vacations.  Great rides for every level of cyclist that I have conducted thought the years.  If you need additional information or find a program you would like organized for your private group click the photo below. 

 

Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine Bike Tours

WHEN TO BIKE TOUR ITALY

The bike touring season in Italy can start as early as April and finishes in late October.  When planning your bike tour, you need to understand the climate of the region you wish to visit and the tourist flow.

Examples are: riding the Italian Dolomites, you can ride as early as May but you could still find snow in the passes or be snowed on and there are fewer hotels open since this is the off season.  However, if you are an avid rider you will find many of the classic climbs traffic free and save on hotel costs.

Where as the Sicily Region it is best to ride during April and May, or in the fall late September and early November, outside these times you have the heat and beach tourism to deal with.  Any earlier or later you have rain storms and rough seas to contend with, and the road structure is not the best for riding.

Check out each region guide to find the best time to ride.

SUGGESTED CYCLE TOURING ROUTES

Veneto Region and Old Venice Republic Bike Tour, Northern Italy

Lake Garda to Venice Bike Tour, Veneto Region

Venice to Trieste Bike Tour, Northern Italy

Bike Tour Trieste and the Friuli Venezia Region of Italy

Bike Tour Venice and the Veneto Region of Italy

 

 

The Mountain Huts or Rifugio in the Italian Mountains

MOUNTAIN HUTS AND RIFUGIO'S IN ITALY

Rifugio Lagazuoi Dolomites

Rifugio – or mountain huts or refuges in English – are the classic accommodation for hikers, climbers, mountaineers, and ski mountaineers in the Alps. Set in spectacular locations high in the Dolomite's, Refugio are accessible only on foot (with a few exceptions that are reachable by car). These unique huts are open primarily in the summer (from mid June to mid September), with a select few in winter, and offer meals and sleeping facilities.

The Dolomite Refugio are considered the best in the Alps. While some are dormitory style with bunk beds, many meet the standard of a simple guest house with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms, and each has its own unique character and charm. Bedding and linens are provided, hot showers are available, and meals are served in common dining areas – like a small mountain inn set high in the mountains with the most incredible vistas in the Dolomite's. Whether you’re hiking in summer or skiing in winter, an overnight rifugio stay is not to miss on a Dolomite holiday.

Tips On Walking In Italy

tips on walking in italy

I keep saying that the best way to enjoy Italy is by foot and as you are planning your Italian escape look at these suggestion to help you in your planning.  You can be walking in the mountains,, along the coastline like Cinque Terre, or urban trekking through on of the regions of Italyhaving the right gear will make your trip more enjoyable.

san martino di pale 1

1. Invest in some trekking poles.

If you haven’t used trekking poles before, have no fear. You’ll figure out how to use them right away. The Dolomites Alta Via 1 is a difficult trail with varying terrain and steep ascents and descents while Venice has lots of bridges while . Trekking poles will help you power up hill, keep your balance when you slip in mud, and reduce the strain on your knees and feet with every step you take. I had good luck with Leki poles, but any type of poles will be better than none.

2. Pack light.

It you planning multiday hikes or train backbacking scrutinize every item you bring and bring only the essentials. Remember, you’ll be carrying whatever you pack for around 90 miles and for 6 – 12 hours each day through the challenging Dolomites.

dolomiti 2

3. Bring sandals.

Most the rifugios require you to remove your boots before entering the main areas of the hut. Also, you’ll want them for showering to avoid getting athlete’s foot. Plus, they are great for taking your shoes off on longer breaks or when you find a nice cold stream to soak them in.

4. Quick drying clothes.

Since carrying a full wardrobe would make your pack unnecessarily heavy, bring clothes that are quick drying so you can wash them at the rifugios at the end of each day’s hike. Ex Officio make some great clothes that will be comfortable and designed for adventure travelers. Don’t forget your quick drying towel either.

5. Don’t skimp on socks.

Be sure to bring multiple pairs of hiking socks. I recommend swapping them out for a fresh pair at lunch – I promise that your feet will thank you. Hang your old ones off the back of your pack so they will air out and dry. It’s amazing the difference that a pair of new socks can make for your comfort.

dolomites italy 1

6. Get a pack that fits comfortably.

A quality hiking pack that properly fits can make or break the comfort of your trip. You’ll most likely be carrying around 25-35 lbs for 90 miles, so get a pack that fits you. Gregory and Osprey both make some quality packs that are priced well. Go to a store and check them out by filling them up with gear and walking around for a few minutes to see if they are comfortable.

7. Prevent chaffing and blisters.

This a topic that most don’t want to talk about, but let’s face it, after hiking 90 miles there will be some parts of you that rub a bit. Whether it’s blisters on your feet or chaffing in your thighs, some preventive maintenance with products like chaffing creams and body rubs can prevent a miserable experience before it starts. Body Glide andGold Bond both make anti-chafe products that apply like a deodorant and work great.

rifugio italy

8. Trail runners vs. hiking boots.

Personally I recommend some comfortable hiking shoes or trail runners. Boots tend to be heavy, trap heat in, and after a long day in them you’re going to have some lazy feet (as I call it) and start stumbling on the trail. A pair of quality trail runners will be lightweight, comfortable, and give you great grip. I had great luck with my Vasque trail-running shoes but footwear really comes down to personal fit. Just make sure you choose something that fits well and give it a test hike prior to your trip. My last footwear tip is to ensure you trim your toenails prior to the hike. The steep downhills on Dolomites Alta Via 1 trails can put a pounding on your toes and even cause you to loose toenails over the course of the trip if they aren’t trimmed.

9. Get an early start.

Afternoon storms are the norm in the Dolomites and the northern areas in Italy, so start your hike early in the day. That leaves you a safety cushion should you get delayed during the hike and also leaves you more time to relax in the wonderful atmosphere at the rifugios.

10. Enjoy the food.

Rifugios make some great food that will certainly satisfy your appetite on the trail. If you normally eat a big meal, consider the half-board option. It usually comes with a pasta as a starter then a hearty meat course like goulash stew or local sausage. Plus, it comes with a dessert. If you don’t want to pack lunches for the whole trip, just plan your route to stop at a rifugio for lunch as well. They make some great sandwiches too.

Enjoy your trip and hope to see you in Italy.  For travel planning assistance or questions you can email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

follow us

Resources

General

  • About Us
  • Advertise with us
  • Privacy Policy

Newsletter