The key is to pack stuff that is light and versatile. Lots of thin layers are better than one or two thick heavy ones. Also, light colours are best – if you wear black you will often overheat in the sun.


Clothing & personal gear for Arolla


The key is to pack stuff that is light and versatile. Lots of thin layers are better than one or two thick heavy ones. Also, light colours are best – if you wear black you will often overheat in the sun. On the mountain you want long sleeves to give you protection from the sun. It’s hard to know what temperatures will be exactly, but in the valley, it can be really warm – maybe 27/28c at times, but then in the mountains, you could experience temperatures from -10c to +30c in the space of 1 day! The sun is very strong so you will need very good sun protection – wide-brimmed hats are better than baseball caps generally, but they need to be able to be thrown into a rucksack too.

Rab are kindly providing some outdoor clothing items for you. We will let you know what they intend to supply on selection so you know what else you will need. The list below is everything you will need, include supplied items:

  • Waterproof jacket – with hood, this can be quite light but a good hood is essential.
  • Waterproof trousers – with long or full-length side zips if possible. Again – light is better as hopefully, they’ll be in the bag most of the time!
  • Mid layers – mostly thin and light fleece/Primaloft etc.
  • Warm jacket – something light and warm that stays in the bag mostly. E.g. light down/Primaloft jacket or down vest.
  • Mountain trousers – softshell is good but expensive, alternatively, light quick dry walking trousers that you can add or subtract thermal leggings underneath as required.
  • Shorts – for hut walks and hanging out in the valley.
  • Long sleeve thermal – not black if possible!
  • T-shirts – for the valley, short-sleeved technical t-shirt for hut walks
  • Wash stuff and towel for the valley. For huts, you just take a toothbrush.
  • Silk sheet sleeping bag liner for huts – silk is best as it’s very light, cotton will do, as will a single duvet cover.
  • Headtorch – Light LED type is fine (e.g. Petzl Tikka).
  • Warm hat/beanie – that will fit under a helmet.
  • Sun hat – buffs are very useful too.
  • Sunglasses – need to be as dark as you can get cat 3 or 4.
  • Gaiters – short ones are fine in summer.
  • Gloves – 1 pair thin warm weather gloves and 1 pair thicker cold weather gloves, like ski gloves.

Footwear & Equipment

  • Flip flops – for the valley. There are hut shoes provided in the huts. 
  • Trainers – for hut walks and crag approaches. Light enough to be carried. 
  • Rucksack – should be around 35 Litres – if you need bigger you have too much stuff!  The best design is a slim single compartment with side straps, a waistband and chest strap, and a pocket in the lid. 
  • Mountaineering boots – B2 or B3 which will feel a bit rigid for walking but will be ideal for mountaineering with crampons, or climbing. We can borrow these from Plas y Brenin. They have Scarpa Manta Pro boots which are ideal. 
  • Rock shoes – for valley rock climbing on poor weather or valley days. Bring your own if you have them. If not I can lend some. 
  • Trekking poles – non-essential. Just bring them if you have some and are used to using them for walking. 
  • Water bottle – 1.5 litres maximum. Bring a real bottle either re-usable plastic or metal. Drinking bladders are good for hut walks but can freeze / leak/ get punctured easily so don’t rely on it as your only way of carrying water. 

Climbing Gear – we will provide all this, but bring your own if you have them

  • Harness – rock/mountain – i.e. one you can get on and off over crampons & boots. 
  • Ice axe – 55-60cm ish for general mountaineering 
  • Crampons – general purpose with front points – not too heavy. 
  • Helmet 

Other Useful Stuff

  • Lipsalve/Blistese 
  • Wipes 
  • Suncream
  • Ziplock bags for lunches and toiletries. 
  • Swimwear 
  • Personal first aid kit (blister patches, aspirin) 
  • Camera 
  • Mobile phone 
  • Watch 
  • Batteries/chargers for all the above 


  • Passport 
  • Insurance details (Austrian Alpine club) 
  • Travel details, boarding passes, train & bus tickets / reference numbers 
  • Phone numbers 
  • Swiss francs 

Where to buy gear? Joe Brown in Llanberis or Capel Curig has a great selection of equipment and a wealth of expertise to help you get everything you need for Alpine Start. 

Download Packing List