On our recent trip on the Tour du Mont Blanc we tried to keep our gear as minimal as possible while still being prepared for unstable weather and changing conditions. We didn’t need camping gear as we were sleeping at the refuges, so we prioritized running and on-trail clothing over comfort at night. My wife also had a similar gear list packed into a Salomon 14L vest, although she brought warmer clothes for the refuges (a down puffy!) that I was only slightly jealous of.
|Altra Olympus 3.0s||Patagonia capilene long sleeve thermal shirt|
|Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest 4.0||Prana shorts for refuge|
|Black Diamond Carbon Z poles||Swiftwick regular running socks|
|Suunto Ambit 3 Peak watch||Patagonia capilene underwear|
|Trucker hat (Canyons 2018)||Bandana|
|Quechua Polarized sunglasses||Petzl Tikkina headlight|
|MHW windstopper toque||Google Pixel 2 cell phone|
|Black Diamond Mont Blanc waterproof gloves||TMB map|
|Arc’teryx Beta LT shell||Sunscreen|
|Patagonia Houdini windbreaker||Toiletries (toothbrush, squirrel nut butter)|
|REI trail tights||Gu’s, Cliff bars, candy bars|
|(2) Salomon trail shorts||Water purification tabs|
|(2) Injinji light ¼ socks||Cell phone charger / plug adapter / Suunto charger|
|(2) Helium tech s/s shirts||Basic first aid kit - band-aids, gauze, Ibuprofen, medical tape|
|Helium tech l/s shirts||1 4L drybag and multiple Ziplocs|
Overall all of the gear performed as expected. We lugged around the heavy Arc’teryx shells, but then on Day 4 when it was pouring all day we were super grateful that we had them. The AK Mountain Vest 4.0 did quite well and by the last day I was able to pack it in such a manner to virtually eliminate any bounce. I love all of the pockets and room to stuff random things throughout the day in the front. However, the plastic “cinch-tight” design on the back is absolutely terrible. I learned during my Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim that it rubbed my skin raw on my back and became quite uncomfortable. I covered it with some padded furniture tape, designed to prevent scratches on the floor, and covered it with duct tape for this run. It all stayed adhered and I didn’t have any rubbing or chaffing on this trip. It is a little ridiculous to think that you have to pad and duct tape a $150 pack however.
The only gear I wasn’t super happy with was my gloves, because my hands were freezing on Col de Balme in the rain. To be fair I didn’t put them on until after my hands were wet, and they weren’t as insulating as I thought they would be. So I’m still searching for a pair of lightweight, insulated, waterproof running gloves.
The REI trail tights were surprisingly comfortable but I would probably bring another pant layer in the future in case it got any colder.
The only thing we really forgot was the dental floss, especially considering that we were eating 3-4 candy bars a day for fuel. There were nights I wish I had a few more layers at the refuge but I didn’t really have room and when I got super cold we just went inside to bed.