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Packing up light to the alpine refuge – my backpack pack list

A light backpack does wonders

Time to clean up the tons of paper on my table. I’m putting my Pack List for the weekend (2-3 days) at the alpine refuge right here so I’ll never have to look for it again. Items and content differ from person to person, depending on their habits and how much you sweat. Nevertheless, these are the basics that worked for me.

If you are not intending to spend the night at the refuge, you’ll have to additionally add in meals, stove, fuel, spork, a sleeping pad and bivouac / tent and extra water to the list.

Every successful trip comes from good planing and information of your tour and weather conditions before you start!


PRINT out the Checklist HERE

What I wear:

  • 1 functional short-sleeved tee
  • 1 3/4 functional long pants (synthetic /merino mix)
  • 1 merino woolen socks (never a hike without them again!)
  • Approach shoes (or trial running shoes) / mountain boots

In the Back pack:


  • 1 functional tee (e.g. Merino or Synthetic)
  • 1 skort (skirt/shorts)
  • 1 leggings (or long johns. Leggings are good for running around)
  • 1 merino long arm shirt (used as sleeping tee)
  • 1 extra light flip flops (heres a DIY from Outdoormädchen and how to wear them with socks)
  • 1 sleeping inlet for the beds (compulsory in Europe, unless its a hotel!)
  • Extra underwear
  • 1 extra merino woolen socks

Outer insulation

  • Beanie
  • Rain jacket
  • Warm isolation jacket (Primaloft / Down)
  • Bandana / Handkerchief (instead of tissue paper)
  • Sunglasses
  • 20 ml Sunscreen
  • Lipgloss SF 50
  • Crampons (if snow topped summits are registered)
  • Gaitors (if you hate snow getting in your shoes all the time)
  • Trekking poles
  • First Aid Kit / refelctive blanket / Survival Kit
  • Swiss pocket knife, sharpened!
  • Lighter / Matches
  • Headlamp (or mini lamp chargable through solar and churning)
  • Fleece / Softshell handgloves


  • Toothbrush
  • 20g Toothpaste
  • Small Hand towel
  • Dental Floss (Sticks)
  • Blister plasters (e.g. Compeed)
  • Ear Plugs (forget them if you love sleepless nights)
  • Medicines
  • Toiletpaper / Pee rag (and tips for the female hygiene)


  • Food for the day (Sandwiches, chocolates, Glucose/Dextrose sweets, cereal bars)
  • 1.5l Water (more, if sunny, and no rest points along the way)
  • Water bladder (2-3l from Source) or bottle (1l from e.g. Nalgene)


  • Digital Compact camera (e.g. Sony RX 100 II)
  • Extra Battery (original Sony)
  • Smartphone
  • Extra Battery (e.g. Fuel 3000mAh – loads a a smartphone 2-3x)
  • Cabels
  • GPS Watch (e.g. Suunto Ambit) / Device


  • Alpine Club ID (if applicable)
  • Personal ID / Passport
  • Health Insurance Card
  • Important telephone numbers
  • Trekking Map
  • Cash (most alpine refuge accept only cash!)

Keeping in mind to take only portions along that you really need, this pack list could weight around 7.5 kg, which includes 1.5 litres water. I usually put the smaller things together in a Ziplock bag. These bags are magic. It’s light, it’s transparent (so you can see where you put your mascara and eyeliners) and it’s waterproof. 🙂

A light backpack does wonders
A light backpack does wonders

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  1. I have backpacked many times alone for a few days at a time but plan to do a 2-3 wk loop on the Colorado Trail so need some ideas, please!

    1. Hi Judi,
      thanks for dropping by. The packlist of items does not actually vary that much, when you travel longer. You might want to double up the amount though. Usually, you wear your spare clothes while the used ones are drying out. You can also wash, when you’re certain of good weather. Please be aware that this is a pack list of items when you plan your accomodation at a refuge. If you are thoroughly on your own without a base you will have to add meals, camping and survival items to your list. You might additionally find this list useful: http://www.coloradotrail.org/GearList-Lightweight.pdf Have a great trip and stay safe!

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