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10 indispensable things to take with you to a mountain retreat

The mountain equipment

Sleeping in a high-altitude refuge is a fantastic experience: the silence of the mountains, the spectacle of sunrise and sunset, the total immersion in nature and the relaxed climate of the shelters are the quintessence of the pleasure of staying overnight in these structures spartan and essential.

And yes, just because they are at high altitude, are Spartan and are essential, you can not expect a 5-star hotel treatment, indeed: stay in a shelter at high altitude means to deal with what is really useful and what instead is superfluous and can be left at home. So, whether it's a summer trekking or ski mountaineering from refuge to shelter, there are at least 10 indispensable things, both in summer and in winter, and net of specific equipment for the activity you practice and the season in which you do it, to put absolutely in the trekking backpack

Staying in a high-altitude refuge means dealing with what is really useful and what is superfluous

1. Bed sheet (or sleeping bag)


In the shelters there are no sheets: well that goes there are bunk beds, otherwise planks with beds placed side by side, with a mattress and a blanket, often made of wool. So if you want to save on weight you bring along a sheet, also those with a hood for the head, otherwise the sleeping bag. To be sure, you spread them on your bed when you arrive, and when you leave fold the blankets and leave everything in order

2. Headlamp for hiking

Often in electricity waste is contingent for a few hours. Which means that if you have to get up at night to go to the bathroom there is not a light to turn on and, net of some emergency lamp, you are immersed in the dark. The most practical thing is a headlamp, better than those with adjustable intensity (you do not need to light up the whole valley to sneak out of bed in the middle of the night.

3. Wather bottle

Another precious and limited good. You want because the supplies at altitude are always complicated and problematic, or because sometimes the shelters are located upstream of the water sources. Which means that drinking water is better to think about it autonomously, taking your water bottle with you and keeping it always full.

4. Battery charger

Now many shelters are equipped with solar panels, others continue to use the power generators, in any case also electricity could be a good with limited availability. If you bring along some electronic gadget (not necessarily the smartphone, which often at high altitude there is no signal, but maybe the watch with the GPS navigator, or the camera, or GoPro) you have to arrange to recharge your batteries: there are the battery chargers or those with solar panels, depends on how much charge you need.

5. Replacement underwear

Ok, in the mountains you do not wash (or wash very little) but this does not mean that at least at night you can not take off the technical clothing and wear something (relatively) clean and comfortable. They can be enough: a second pair of socks and pants, a cotton t-shirt for sleeping and a pair of trousers (depending on the season: even shorts in summer, tight in winter). NB: in the shelters you do not enter with the boots, which must be left in the shoe rack where there are also spare slippers; if you do not like to wear the ones supplied, you should bring them home.

6. Multi-purpose Swiss army knife

Non si sa bene perché, ma non si sa mai; fosse anche solo per sistemare un’unghia o una vescica, il coltellino svizzero nello zaino deve sempre trovare posto. La volta in cui servisse, giustificherà tutte le altre in cui non se n’è avuto bisogno.


Altimeter GPS is the Swiss Army knife for walkers

The Altimeter GPS app uses the integrated barometer of your iPhone (available from iPhone 6S or higher). It shows useful indications such as atmospheric pressure and weather forecast based on the barometer.

The data displayed are the result of the sensors in the mobile device, ie the GPS and the barometer. If the latter is not available in the terminal, the data will be less accurate as the app will be based on data from local weather stations, if available.

7. Waste bag

In most of the shelters there is a sign that speaks very clear: take your waste downstream. Which means there's no trash bin and that your trash comes back with us, in a true zero-impact trek. So a plastic bag of those of the shopping, to be tied with their handles, is always put in the backpack.


Yes, of course, you do not wash yourself. But a minimum yes, you wash, were only the teeth and face to the outdoor fountain. And the towels are not on the bed. So a small towel of quick-drying ones is essential.

3M adhesive tape

Like the Swiss army knife: you can not imagine the times when it really can serve. A garment that tears, the flask to be isolated, something to be fixed. A small roll of 3M tape is always to be kept in the backpack.


Often in the shelters there is no telephone signal, imagine if the ATM arrives. So cash always in your pocket because for everything else there is Mastercard, but only downstream

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