Checklist: What to Bring for a Hiking Tour

Hiking: Still the number-one activity with Austrian summer tourists

Hiking in Alpine areas bears some risks that foreigners are often unaware. Always do your homework and read guides to the area where you want to hike. Ask for advice at the local tourist information office. Don′t worry too much: Relatively few people die or get seriously injured in the Austrian Alps at hiking - but even a broken link can spoil your holidays. The important first step towards a safe trip is the collection of appropriate gear. The following checklist should help you to figure out what you will need on your hike.

A mountain cabin near Innsbruck in the Tyrolian Alps

In terms of packing, you might want to put certain items into plastic bags to keep them dry even in rain or in case you fall into a river. This includes in particular one set of clothing, food, first aid gear, money and documents. The best bags for this purpose are those with water-proof zip-locks. Packing should follow a basic rule: Heavy items should go to the bottom of your backpack and as close to the weight axis (near your spine) as possible - the further heavy items are from your body, the harder they are to carry.

Adjust your backpack in a way that half the weight rests on your shoulders, the other half should rest on your hip belt. Put water into side bags that are easy to access. If you hike with a lot of luggage (especially on hikes of several days), you should definitely get a backpack that you can open from the sides and bottom in addition to the main opening - otherwise you will engage in an ongoing struggle with your stuff in the quest for this one little thing you really need right now.

Basic Gear for 1-Day-Hikes

Light or Matches
Fleece jacket or pullover
Money and Credit Cards
Identification Document
Health insurance number and documents
Mobile phone or emergency communication systems
GPS system, altimeter and compass (if hardcore)
Food and Water
Hiking map (scale 1 : 25,000 or better) and guide book
Plastic bags
Raingear (water proof jacket, hood for the backpack, trousers)
Sun glasses and hat, sun blocker
Hiking sticks
Hiking boots
Sewing kit
Duct tape
Long underwear
Additional clothing
Fleece hat
Torch or head torch
Paper & pencil
Hiking socks
Pocket knife or similar tool (I prefer Leatherman)
Toilet tissue
Watch and alarm clock
Additional shoelaces

First-aid Box

Dressing material
Circulation stimulant
Blister treatment
Insect repellent
Medication for individual needs (check in advance with co-hikers)
Foil blanket
Safety pins
Lines and bandages
Clinical thermometer
Distress signals (flares, flags, hooter)

If you Hike for More than One Day

Swim wear
Batteries for camera and torch
Knives, forks, plates and cups
Camping mat
Camping burner and fuel
Water sanitising equipment (filters or chemicals)
Charcoal tablet
Personal toiletries
Repair kit for backpack and tent
Sandals or flip-flops for evenings
Sleeping bag appropriate for the season
Additional water bottle or water bladder

Further Reading

Hiking in Austria

Physical Geography of Austria

Hiking in Austria - Official Tourist Council

More on Hiking in Austria