Doing a tour from hut to hut for several days means carrying everything you need apart from what you are wearing in one backpack. You want to travel light but you, also, don't want to forget anything that might be an essential piece of kit like an ice axe - or sunscreen.

Ski touring for three days or more? Then forget what your mother told you because you won't be changing underwear and socks everyday. And you'll be sleeping in your thermals. Some guys can make one pair of Merino underpants last the week. Let's all thank God for Merino sheep and their moisture wicking and minimal odour wool. But at the end of the day - and tour - what's a whiff or two between friends and felllow tourers? And, ladies leave your pots of cosmetics, shampoos and potions at home. They may be small and light but a lot of small light items can add up to one mother of a heavy rucksack. Here's a 'short' list of 45 items - give or take a carabiner - to wear, pack or dangle as tried and tested on a 6 day Alpes Maritimes Mercantour ski randonnee tour by Tech Editor, Gavin Baylis

What you need for a 3-6 day ski tour to wear, pack or dangle:

Backpack at least 35L (bigger if you need sleeping bag) with easy access to main compartment and outside pockets

Shell jacket

Down jacket (easily compressed to pack and essential for cold and/or wind at altitude)

Gilet (optional and depending on time of year)

1-2 Pairs Merino socks (wear one pair, carry a spare)

1-3 Buffs or similar (wear neck and head and take one extra if desired)

2 Base layer tops (wear one, pack one)

T-shirt (especially for warmer spring touring)

Microfibre towel (from camping or mountaineering shops)

1-2 Pairs Merino underpants (guys take a spare but ladies you may want to add a couple)

Lightweight touring pants (one all weather pair with waterproof shell and side venting)

1 Pair longjohns/thermals preferably Merino (wear under touring pants on cooler days and in bed in cooler huts) 

Goggles for low vis

Sunglasses for high vis

Hydration system (at least one and half litres)

Ice axe

Crampons (skis)

Crampons (boots)

Skins for skis




Transceiver (obvs wear at all times in backcountry)

Heavy duty gloves

Lightweight gloves

Shoes (lightweight but robust, worth carrying for long walks outs and wearing in refuge)

1 Pack Compeed blister plasters and needle (to drain blisters)

3 Carabiners (assorted sizes) to hang gloves/crampons off pack for quick access

Toothbrush and travel size toothpaste


Mobile (for emergency calls, GPS and optional download map app)


Cable ties (very light but very useful for quick fix eg broken bindings)

Swiss Army knife

Ducktape (wind around top of ski pole, useful for temporary binding of gear or flesh)

Head torch (night visits to unlit refuge loo)

Ear plugs (sharing a room with heavy breathers/snorers)

Sleeping bag liner (most huts have beds/blankets)

Sleeping bag (if they don't)

Small pack of wipes (in case of no washing water)

Small tube sunscreen

Helmet (your choice)

Avy bag (your choice)

TOTAL: 45 items give or take a carabiner


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