In 2021, I went on my first Hut-to-Hut hike. Hiking the Alta Via 1 was an amazing experience, but I have to say, I was quite nervous going on my first multi-day hike. Even though, I knew a couple of things from friends and did a lot of reading on what and how to pack, I still didn’t feel fully prepared. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit stubborn and still had to make some hut-to-hut packing mistakes on my own. Because of my mistakes and all prior research, I’m now confident I have crafted the perfect hut-to-hut hike packing list! Note: this packing list is based on my own experiences and Alta Via 1 packing list. Are you curious to learn more about my Alta Via 1 trip? Check out all the articles here!
Bring less than you think you need! Pack as light as you can and opt for fabrics like Merino, where unwanted smells don’t stick. Additionally, take as much as you can out of the original packaging, as this reduces weight. Your nice toiletry bag and the bag for your EHBO gear are just additional weight; therefore, only take what you truly need and in the required amount!
Now, the hut-to-hut packing list you’ll find below is tailored for a 7-day hiking trip. During our journey on the Alta Via 1 in Italy in early July, the overall temperature was pleasant, with occasional showers and some lingering snow on the tracks. Keep in mind that we stayed in huts, so this packing list is specifically designed for hut-to-hut hikes and doesn’t include camping gear or food.
a. 36L backpack – Mine is the Osprey Kyte and was perfect for the trip. I would highly recommend this size, as it forces you to not take too much and it has some compartments that are very useful for hiking (e.g. for your waterbag)
b. Hiking Poles – Before this trip, I never used hiking poles. But wow, it makes ascending and descending so much easier. I only got 1 pole, however, I could definitely recommend getting 2.
c. A waterbag/camel bag – A camel bag fits nicely in your backpack. As you are walking with all your luggage, you don’t want to take off your backpack for every sip of water you take. This is a must.
d. Additional water bottle – I also took a small additional water bottle (plastic, sorry, as it is the most lightweight). You don’t want to be drinking from your camel bag once you have arrived at your hut.
e. Plastic / Ziplock bags – Take some additional plastic and ziplock bags. They are great for restructuring, to store your garbage when needed. They don’t weigh anything but can help out in multiple ways.
f. Sleeping bag and or liner – As I was doing the hike during covid, we had to take our own sleeping bag. Check this with your huts upfront, so you are not bringing additional gear if not needed. A sleeping liner is always a great idea and compulsory in most huts
g. Pillowcase – in most huts you also have to bring your own pillowcase to cover the pillow
h. Microfiber towel – bring one towel for the huts where a towel might not be provided to you
a. Good hiking shoes – The most important part of your outfit. Take good hiking shoes (I recommend once that also support your ankle). I use mine from Lowe when going on larger treks.
b. 2x pair of hiking socks – buy hiking socks from Merino wool for them to stay fresh. Take 2 pairs to be able to alternate them and wash/dry them on your bag. I took one pair from Smartwool and one pair from Bridgedale.
c. 1 normal pair of socks – I took one normal pair of socks that were a bit thinner for when in the hut to make sure my slippers did fit well.
d. 4x panties / underpants
e. 2 sport bras
f. 2 T-shirts – I recommend T-shirts as tops could make your skin feel irritated with the backpack
g. 2x short sports legging – dependent on weather conditions and temperature
h. 1x long sports legging – or opt for some lightweight pants, such as from Kühl.
i. 1x long sleeve
j. 1x fleece vest
k. 1x raincoat
l. 1x relax outfit – I took one short and one long outfit to wear in the evenings and as a pyjama. Make sure you take items that are as light as possible.
m. Slippers – go with slippers you can wear with socks. In the huts you are not allowed to wear your hiking boots, so slippers with socks are perfect.
o. Cap (personally, I’m not the biggest fan, but a lot of people like to bring a cap. Bring a lightweight one, suitable for hiking)
q. Packing cubes – an amazing way to easily unpack and repack your bag, since you have to do this daily
d. Contact lens solution and spare contacts
e. Face cleanser & day cream
f. Small shampoo
g. Small body wash
h. Pressed deodorant
j. Plasters & Blaster plasters
m. Sports tape – (use them on starting blisters, works like a charm! or of course for any joint pains)
o. Laundry wash pocket
p. EHBO kit
q. Earplugs & sleeping mask
a. Camera (15-50mm lens) – I made the biggest mistake by also taking my 50-200mm lens. Which wasn’t the most suitable lens for the mountains but is quite heavy. Definitely would stick with only my main lens next time.
b. Camera Clip – I have mine from PeakDesign. Easy to clip to your backpack and makes photography during your trip way easier.
d. Small game – Nice as an easy activity, but don’t take more than 1 game and save on weight by e.g. bringing Yahtzee or cards.
e. Food bars – We had 1 bar per day, which is great for lunch or as a snack. I would highly recommend Cliff Bars.
f. External charger or USB charger with multiple entry points – This is dependent on the huts you are staying in. I only took my USB splitter, which makes it way easier to charge all your devices or share the plugs with other people in your room. If you take an external charger, take a small one as the ones with more power are also heavier.
g. Dry bag – Mainly to make sure your food and personal important belongings stay dry
h. Head torch
i. Detailed maps of the region – mark the route beforehand so it is easy to follow during your trip
j. Optional: Water filter – we only used this once and you can also buy bottled water in case the water is not suitable for drinking
k. Passport, credit card, cash – in most of the huts you can only pay cash, so take enough cash for your whole trip
In conclusion, while packing for a hut-to-hut hike, less is definitely always more. As mentioned previously, you might think about all the small things that add weight to your bag, such as a toiletry bag vs. a plastic bag. Even 100 grams additional weight, weighs heavy on your back after 7 hours of hiking. Nevertheless, going on a multi-day hike is one of the best travel experiences I’ve had, and I’m happy I have all the gear to plan a new hut-to-hut hike!