Packing Refuge Based

Keep it simple and minimal


“A heavy pack is a pack filled with anxiety.” Freud.

Keeping your pack weight to a minimum is the key to a successful trek. You really will do without the extras, and should aim for a pack weight of 7-10 kgs. We recommend people joining any of our treks where you will be sleeping in gites (hostels) or refuges be equipped with the following:

Technical equipment

Comfortable walking boots or shoes (3 or 4 season)
Walking poles (definitely two)

Clothing suggestions

Waterproof jacket (or big plastic poncho)
Waterproof over trousers (only if you really hate having wet legs!)
Lightweight puffer jacket for evening comfort in the higher refuges
Warm gloves and hat (for early starts)
Sun hat or peaked cap
One pair shorts
One pair lightweight walking trousers
Two T-shirts (anything but cotton, wool is best as it is quick to dry and doesn’t smell. Synthetic is also fine – it smells but it is quick to dry)
Good quality walking socks

Other essential items

40 – 60 litre Rucksack
Light weight towel
Sheet sleeping bag liner. No sleeping bags are required – refuges provide mattresses and blankets and pillows.
Waterproof ruck sack cover or waterproof bags to keep your things dry (unless you have a poncho, in which case this will suffice)
Sun block for face and lips (Factor 50)
Personal First Aid kit (plasters, Compeed for blisters, paracetamol)
Roll of toilet paper
Water bottle or Platypus type hydration system – 1.5 to 2 litres
Head torch for use in refuges
Survival blanket (light foil blanket to keep injured people warm).

Optional items

Change of clothing to include: underwear, tracksuit bottoms, dry shirt, spare socks (think of things that you can wear to both dinner and bed so you don’t need to change)
Paperback novel (light!)
Snack bars/dried fruit/chocolate
Waterproof map case
Ear plugs (there will inevitably be snorers in the refuge)
Buff – good for blocking out light and noise while sleeping, keeping your neck warm, holding your hair etc.
Swimsuit (our guides do everything they can to find swimming opportunities!)

Additional items for Independent Groups

GPS or Mobile phone with GPS

** Don’t Need **

Sleeping bags (just a sleeping sheet – the refuges provide blankets)
Sleeping mat (refuges provide mattresses and a pillow)
Food (refuges provide breakfast, picnic lunch to take with us and dinner). You might want to bring a bag of oats for breakfast, especially if you’ll be mainly in Spanish refuges.
Hair dryers or an extensive range of toiletries!

See information about Pyrenean Refuges for an idea of sleeping conditions on most of our treks.