This article is based on the personal complete list of hiking gear in the Dolomites and some simple recommendations on how to choose and maintain equipment. Download the checklist at the end to print it out and fill it in before the trip, so you don’t forget anything going to the Dolomites.
What Is Hiking Gear for the Dolomites
— Hiking gear is a basic and personal set of clothes, shoes, equipment, electronics, and some other things with which you go hiking in the Italian Alps.
The personal list of things will be different for everyone, but it is based on a basic set: it starts with comfortable hiking boots or shoes and ends with your favorite hiking app with maps, weather forecasts, or something else.
The word “gear” itself is a common word that has been used in professional and amateur outdoors relatively recently. It can have other variations: clothing for hiking in the Dolomites, hiking wear in the Dolomites, packing list for hiking in the Dolomites, mountain equipment for hiking in the Dolomites, hiking checklist for the Dolomites, and others.
Why Equipment for Hiking in the Dolomites Is Needed
I’ll tell, as always, by my example…
Before I came to the Dolomites, I had never been to the any mountains or hiked at all, except my native region of Karelia, but hiking in the forest and lakes is different comparing to the mountains. During my first year in the mountains, I wore uncomfortable jeans, uncomfortable city boots, or sneakers for skateboarding (I never did skate in my life!), and wore an uncomfortable city backpack.
The main word here is “uncomfortable”.
Hiking boots and clothes differ from regular ones in that it is specially designed for comfy sports and outdoor activities. That’s what it’s all about.
Comfortable means that:
- Clothes will not embarrass your movements.
- Shoes will make your feet feel warm or cool depending on your need and your choice.
- Maps and apps will help you navigate the terrain.
- A waterproof tent will be your home in the Dolomites and protect against rain.
- And so on and so forth…
Cloths and shoes for hiking are lighter, more durable, more flexible, more technological…
Hiking equipment helps to save energy, increase your endurance, it is simply pleasant to use.
Some types of active recreation can also be easily done in a regular sports clothes and shoes, but I recommend using special clothing for hiking, not just for sports. For example, in sneakers for running it will not be convenient to walk in the mountains, because there are a lot of stones on the trails, and on urban asphalt streets — not. Hence, hiking boots have a special, denser, and embossed sole. There are many such examples.
What Gear for Hiking in the Dolomites I Use and Recommend to You
I won’t give you a list of my old uncomfortable things. Instead, catch the new one I’m using today.
This is a complete list for hiking at any time of year, except winter, for a period of 2 days to a week and overnight stays in mountain shelters bivaccos. Accordingly, for shorter hikes, it is not necessary to take all equipment from the list.
In general, the minimum set of equipment for hiking in the Dolomites is the same as in other mountains at heights up to 3000-5000 meters.
I try to buy the products only from the local outdoor brands close to my village Lamon in the Dolomites or some Finnish brands from my native region Karelia between Russian and Finland, or some international brand with good sustainability principles, or the ones I just like because of its design and quality. So links are to these products I use:
- Low or middle Aku hiking shoes for the summer season
- High Aku hiking boots for spring and fall
- Sandals / Crocs — interchangeable shoes for bivaccos
- Hiking trousers
- Hiking shorts
- Fitness man / woman leggins
- Cotton or synthetic short sleeve t-shirts
- Long-sleeve t-shirts — must have protection from the sun
- Shirt or t-shirt for the city to change before and after the hike, so you have clean cloth for bus, cafe, etc, on the way to / from the Dolomites
- Fleece jacket
- Lightweight floss down jacket for cold and dry weather
- Jacket for windy and rainy weather
- Underwear: top and bottom
- Warm underwear for cold days and night in the spring and autumn
- Special high-waterproof raincoat or strong folding umbrella
- Warm hat
- Hiking socks — one for a day of hiking plus one clean pair for bivaccos and rifugios
- Warm socks for the night so your feet don’t freeze
- Buffs: warm and light
- Warm gloves
- Light gloves to climb on via ferratas, so you are not to wash your hands in blood
- Backpack of 30-40 liters for 3-5 days hikes
- Folding 10-20 liters backpack for radial outputs and day trips
- Metal flask for the water of 1-1.5 liters (it is more pleasant to drink from metal, but it is heavier)
- Victorinox Swiss army fold knife
- Gas burner
- Gas 100 ml / 230 ml / 450 ml
- Little coffee maker Bealetti
- Set of dishes for cooking and eating: a minimum are containers for 1 l and 500 ml
- Plug and spoon
- Tea and coffee cap
- Sleeping bag +10…+15 degrees as bed linen in rifugios
- Sleeping bag 0… -5 degrees for bivaccos
- Via ferrata equipment: helmet, carbines, and cables
- Light tent for overnight stays in the Dolomites where there are no rifugios or bivaccos — for example, in Pale di San Lucano mountains
- Inflatable mat or yoga mat
- Trekking telescopic sticks (very recommended)
- Scotch to repair clothes / items / part of your own body
Hygiene and Medicine
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Band-Aids, cotton wool, and antiseptics for possible wounds
- Medicines in the minimum set
- Clock with alarm
- GPS-tracker (if needed)
- Smartphone with maps, weather, photo and other useful applications
- Photo camera (if needed)
- Power bank / battery for two phone charges at least
- Tabacco topographic paper maps (mandatory)
- Moleskin notebook and a pen with a rewritten bus schedule, in case your smartphone is gone
- Pocketbook (sometimes)
Depends on your preferences and needs.
Behind the Brackets
A good mood, a sense of humor, and the spirit of overcoming difficulties in the mountains are just as important as anything else from the long list above.
How to Take Care of Hiking Equipment for the Dolomites
It is not enough to choose the right hiking equipment and learn how to use it, you need to take care of it properly so that various high-tech things retain their useful properties and things will last you longer. Good quality equipment is expensive enough.
These are the basic rules of care:
Clean. On hiking, pollution is faster and more severe than in the city. Right after the hiking, a clean thing of dust, dirt, and everything else that spoils their appearance and functionality. We’re talking about dry cleaning, not wet cleaning, but if the dirt is hard to wipe off without water, you’re entitled to use it.
Wash (and not). Light clothes and small things that absorb sweat can and should be washed after each hike to put on clean clothes next time. But you don’t have to wash your pants and jackets often if they don’t get too dirty. Items have a washing limit, after which they begin to lose their properties, their appearance changes. This is especially true for down jackets and sleeping bags. They are washed and dried by special technology — this topic is worthy of a separate article. You also don’t need to wash very often tents, sleeping bags, shoes and so equipment after each hike.
Dry. After laundry, things must be properly dried. Do not put anything on the battery, heaters, or dry over fires. The only exception is if your clothes, shoes, and equipment are soaked and you need to dry them as soon as possible to put them on or go hiking again tomorrow.
Repair. Hiking equipment not only gets dirty quickly and easily but also breaks. Getting caught by the jacket sleeve or pants on a tree branch or a rock is easy. It is not necessary to buy new things, if they are not badly damaged, they can be repaired. It even gives things a certain charm: patches on clothes or shoes — like scars on the body, there’s even a saying that men are decorated with scars. That’s how the history of things is preserved.
Store. It’s important to store things properly. Any dark, dry room where no moisture or sun penetrates will do.
In 2020, hiking gear for the Dolomites is a necessary thing, despite the fact that for decades and centuries fans of outdoor activities did not need it.
It is not necessary to buy expensive equipment — you can do with basic sports equipment and / or buy more technological things gradually.
Later I will tell about particular brands I like and buy, stores I visit and Feltrino and Primiero Dolomites, apps I trust, and give more advice on hiking gear.
Cover photo: creative solo hiking in Pale di San Martino in June 2017 © Ivan Kuznetsov.