Mountaineering Packing List
Mountaineering my be the ultimate form of backpacking adventure. Not only do you get to survive in the outdoors, you do it from the sides of glaciers and mountains. And as you may expect, mountaineering requires its own type of gear.
While each adventure has its own unique gear requirements, the goal of this list is to provide you set of basics to get you started. Sure, you will need to modify this list for your own particular trip, but this is a good first place to start. Remember, only bring what you really will need.
In the far right hand column of this table are a listing of the reviews on this website of gear that may be appropriate for your adventure.
Clothing, Base Layer
Base layer, short sleeve Great for approaches before you get to cold weather. Mountain Hardware Wicked Tee,
REI MTS Crew Tee
long sleeve top Great for cool and cold weather by themselves, or with other layers, and for sleeping. Choose from lightweight, midweight, or expedition, as temps dictate. Mountain Hardware Extend Base Layer Top,
Outdoor Research Secant
bottoms Great for cool and cold weather and sleeping. Choose from lightweight, midweight, or expedition, as temps dictate. Mountain Hardware Extend Base Layer Bottoms
Underwear Men/Women, avoid cotton.
Clothing, Insulation Layer
Jacket Fleece jacket, windshirt, soft shell jacket, depending on temps and preferences. Arc'Teryx Gamma MX,
Beyond Fleece Cold Fusion,
Marmot DriClime Windshirt
Insulating Jacket If you expect to encounter below freezing temperatures, consider a down jacket in addition to a light jacket. Feathered Friends Helios,
Mountain Hardware Sub Zero
Pants Fleece pants or soft shell pants, depending on temps and preferences. Ibex Guide Lite,
Beyond Fleece Cold Play
Insulating Pants Consider down pants for very cold temperatures.
Clothing, Shell Layer
Shell Top Waterproof or soft shell, depending on weather expectations and preferences. Soft shell jackets can often substitute for both insulating and shell layers. Arc'Teryx Gamma MX,
Beyond Fleece Cold Fusion,
Marmot Liquid Steel
Shell Pants Waterproof or soft shell, depending on weather expectations and preferences. Soft shell pants can often substitute for both insulating and shell layers. Ibex Guide Lite,
Marmot Liquid Steel,
Beyond Fleece Cold Play
Shirts Not really required, as you can substitute base layer tops for shirts.
Pants Normally, you will not wear standard pants, instead wearing soft or hard shell pants.
Shorts If appropriate, for approaches. Mountain Hardware Canyon
Plastic or Leather Mountaineering Boots Select based on expected temps and weather conditions.
Down Booties Great for keeping your feet warm in your tent.
Outer Socks Merino/synthetic blend, lightweight to midweight. SealSkinz Waterproof Socks
Liner Socks Bring only if you find liner socks helpful.
Gaiters To keep snow from getting into your boots.
Insulated Hat Sun hat, ball cap, sun visor, or similar hat. Outdoor Research Hat for All Seasons
Balaclava Lightweight or heavy-weight, depending on expected conditions.
Glove/Mitten Shell Waterproof shell gloves or mittens.
Glove Liners Use inside shells, or by themselves for light protection. Bring more than one pair of liners, and check to see if you can wear all two liners inside your shell glove/mittens.
Small Towel For cleaning and drying.
Toilet Paper Store in zippered plastic bag for water protection.
Trowel To dig holes for waste disposal.
Pee Bottle In case there is no other choice. Be sure to clearly mark.
Wet Wipes For cleaning, try to avoid ones that have a strong fragrance.
Chapstick If you suffer from chapped lips.
Ear plugs If you have to sleep in loud environment, like a noisy tent partner.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss Bring in small containers. Don't bring more than you need.
Shaving accessories Assuming you can't get along without shaving.
Sunscreen SPF 25+ works best, especially if at altitude.
Moisturizer If you get dry skin.
Mirror In case you want to find out what you look like. Can also be used as a signal.
Bug Repellant For the approach, Deet, 25% or higher works best.
Tent Four-season tent for expected number of people. Vestibule highly recommended. Hilleberg Akto
Ground Cloth To help protect your tent. Use footprint designed for your tent, or 6 mil. plastic from hardware store.
Sleeping Bag Bring bag rated closest to the temps you expect. Generally should be rated between +15 to -20 degrees. Down provides the greatest warmth for the least weight. Marmot Aiguille +0
Sleeping Pads A luxury that everyone likes. Bring two pads. One that is inflatable and one that is closed-cell. Cascade Designs Therm-a-Rest GuideLite,
Cascade Designs Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest
Backpack The size will depend on the length of your adventure. Generally speaking, you need a bag from 5,000 - 6,000 cubic inches. Bring backpack cover if you expect lots of rain or blowing snow. Arc'Teryx Khamsin 62
Hydration Two, one liter plastic bottles, plus insulating jacket. Nalgene Lexan Bottle,
Aquamira Water Treatment Drops
Trekking Poles Bring snow basket for poles. LEKI Ultralite Ti Air Ergo
Headlamp If you expect to be hiking at night. Also useful for anytime you need a little extra light. Bring extra batteries. Black Diamond Gemini
Stove & Fuel Fuel can't be brought on most airlines, so plan accordingly.
Cooking Kit At a minimum, 2 quart cooking pot. Prefer titanium for least weight. Include pot gripper if pan doesn't have handle.
Eating Utensils Spoon, fork, spork, cup, bowl. Prefer Lexan or titanium for least weight.
Matches and/or Lighter Bring both to be extra safe.
Water Purification Device Mostly for approach. Above tree line melted snow is generally used.
Ice Axe with Leash Under 5’7" use a 60cm tool; 5’7"- 6’1" use a 65cm tool; over 6’1" use a 70cm tool. No rubberized grips.
Crampons 12 point.
Prussiks Make with 6mm perlon rope.
Alpine Climbing Harness Must be big enough to find over clothing. Leg loops should be adjustable.
Carabiners As many as needed.
Climbing Helmet Should be adjustable and allow for hat to warm head.
Shovel For moving snow.
Snow Shoes Useful for some mountaineering trips, but not all.
First Aid Kit Include one to match the length of your trip and the number in your party. You might be able to share the weight of a good kit among backpackers. Include anti-diarrhea med, blister pads, and anti-itch med for bug bites.
Compass If you don't know how to use one, learn.
Maps and/or Guidebooks If wet weather is expected, bring along plastic map case.
Personal Medications Bring enough for the trip, but no more.
Biodegradable Soap For cleaning eating gear, clothing, and yourself.
Stuff Sacks Staff sacks are a great help for organizing your gear for your backpack, duffle, or luggage. Consider waterproof stuff sacks if you expect foul weather. Outdoor Research Advanced Stuff Sack
Sponge For cleaning and sopping up water from tent.
Repair Kits Include sewing kit, string, safety pins, sleeping pad repair kit, tent repair kit, etc.
Pocket Knife or Multi-Tool Don't get carried away with too many gadgets.
Glacier Glasses Don't forget hard glasses case to protect them.
Backup Pair Prescription Glasses Only if needed. Don't forget hard glasses case to protect them.
Zipper Lock Plastic Bags Good for storing and protecting gear, plus for trash.
Camera & Film Keep camera as small as possible, store in padded, waterproof case. Bring extra batteries.
Writing Materials If you like to document your adventure, bring waterproof notepad and pen that can write anywhere.