Mountaineering is a difficult task. It requires mental and physical strength while doing so. In addition, mountaineering also requires proper training and a proper guidance system. But do you know what is the most important thing in pursuing mountaineering?
A sturdy list of all the essential mountaineering equipment and gear you need. The art of mountaineering requires a lot of necessary items, without which your act may fail. Further, investing in good quality mountaineering equipment will ensure a successful adventure.
So, are you interested in knowing all the necessary mountaineering equipment you will need in your next journey? If so, keep reading this article as we list and describe all the necessary items with some favorites of our own.
To make the list of mountain equipment easier to read, let us break it down into parts.
You see, in mountaineering, you require a long list of clothing items to protect you from the harsh weather of the mountains. All this clothing will ensure you do not get hypothermia and can easily climb any mountain you choose.
So, let us look at all the essential clothing, shall we?
Base Layer (2 to 3 Pieces)
Base layers will help insulate your body during mountaineering expeditions. In addition, base layers must be light or medium weight, based on your preference.
They can be made of wool, fleece, or other synthetic materials. Further, base layers provide warmth and are the first clothing layer in all mountaineering expeditions.
Fleece Layer ( 1 to 3 Pieces)
After you wear your base layer now, you must wear a layer of fleece. The fleece layer must fit you well, have medium weight, and be lightweight.
Additionally, the fleece jacket you buy can contain a hood too. While choosing the right fleece layer, we recommend picking the one with grid fleece because it provides the best warmth-to-weight ratio.
However, if you are not in the mood to buy a fleece jacket as your mid-layer, you can also purchase some lightweight puffer jackets.
Gore-Tex or Softshell Layer ( 1 Piece)
A Gore-Tex layer, or a softshell layer, is another must for mountain clothing. The Gore-Tex layer will protect from the adverse snow, water, and ice in the climbing atmosphere. Any Gore-Tex jacket you choose should be lightweight, windproof, waterproof, and breathable.
Also, any Gore-Tex trousers you choose must have the same qualities as the jacket. This layer must protect you from the icy environment of any mountain you climb.
Windproof and Down Jackets (Both 1 to 2 Pieces)
A windproof jacket is like a cherry on top of the layers of clothing you have worn underneath your upper body. Often used only during extreme snow or windy conditions, a windproof jacket like the GEMYSE or the DLGJPA‘s windproof jackets can be both windproof and waterproof while also being multi-purpose.
Mid-Weight and Light-Weight Pants (1 to 2 Pieces)
The mid-weight, hardshell pants are designed to protect against snow, rain, and wind. They are made of durable and hard materials and often have a considerable weight than other base layer trousers. Outdoor Research Apollo and Arc’teryx Beta Pant make some of the best mid-weight or hardshell pants.
Another layer to consider while mountaineering is some lightweight trek pants. The lightweight pants are worn over base layers and are perfect for any climbing, trekking, or mountaineering adventure. They are flexible, breathable, and provide ample movement. You can go for the Baleaf or the Columbia lightweight pants.
Down Jackets and Down Pants ( 1 to 2 Pieces)
Often called the expedition jacket, the down jacket is used for fighting the life-threatening cold top of mountains. The things to look for while purchasing a down jacket are that it should be down-insulated and have a hoodie. A non-synthetic down jacket is preferable. Also, the fill power in the down jacket must be +800. The Marmot and the Columbia down jackets are some of the best out of the best.
Down pants are some of the most basic and essential clothing in mountaineering. Any down pants will make your mountain climbing journey easy, especially if you are climbing 8000ers. Look for down pants that are down insulated. Your down pants must include full-length zips to ensure easy bathroom access and be big enough to support all the layers underneath. Tapasimme and Tentock sell some of the best down pants.
Down Suit (1 Piece)
If you don’t want to buy a down jacket and down trousers separately, you can invest in a good quality down suit that covers you from top to bottom in one piece. Take the Mountain Hardwear, which is made of 100% nylon and has a zipper closure. It is also warm, comfortable, insulated, and adjustable too.
Cotton T-Shirts And Underwear ( 3 to 6 Pieces Both)
You also need some cotton T-shirts, preferably short-sleeved and fully synthetic, which can easily soak up any sweat or odor your body creates while mountaineering. Also, a long-sleeved t-shirt can be worn as a base layer. The Gildan t-shirts are great for both mountaineering and daily use too.
Underwears are a no-brainer on the list of clothing required for mountaineering. Look for underwear made from Merino wool or other synthetic material, which can easily dry and keep you active. The Minus33 and the Eizniz underwear are made of Merino wool and are perfect for mountaineering.
Gaiters For Trekking Boots (2 Pairs)
Snow can be a constant struggle while mountaineering, and making them stay away from your boots can be daunting. Hence a gaiter can be used to put over your boots to check those pesky snow.
They are tube-like materials, and their length depends upon the type of trekking you wish to do. For mountaineering, we recommend a longer gaiter. Hikenture makes some of the best trekking gaiters that are durable and comfortable.
Mountaineering requires you to protect your hands too. The snow and the weather can be extreme on the hands. Not enough protection can even cause hypothermia, so to protect from that, gloves are mandatory.
Thin and Lightweight Gloves ( 2 Pairs)
The first layer which works for hand protection can be lightweight fleece gloves. We recommend you invest in good quality thin fleece gloves that fit you well to eventually layer other gloves on top of that. We recommend purchasing Columbia or Ozero’s fleece gloves that are form-fitting and designed for cold weather.
Wind Stopper or Screen Tap Gloves (2 Pairs)
As the name suggests, wind stopper gloves help to protect your hands from the harmful effects of wind and snow. In addition, look for a wind-stopper glove that is sensitive to screen touch so that you can easily use your phone or other electronic devices without opening your layers of gloves.
Ozero makes some of the best wind-stopper gloves that are screen sensitive too. It is also unisex.
Heavy or Guide Gloves (2 Pairs)
Heavy gloves, often known as guide gloves, are used when you start reaching high altitudes during mountaineering. These gloves are made using softshell technology and synthetic materials. You can often see a heavy guide glove made of leather with an effective palm grip. For example, Ozero makes some of the best heavy gloves with deerskin suede leather.
Summit Gloves (1 Pair)
If you reach an altitude over 8000 meters above sea level, you are most likely near the mountain’s summit. So, for that, you require a heavy-duty glove that will completely insulate you that is still breathable and waterproof. They also need inner gloves, preferably made of synthetic material and removable.
These gloves are made mainly for reaching summits. Mountain Hardwear Store makes the world’s best summit gloves that are warm and comfortable.
Since mountaineering is a heavy task, investing in good protective footwear is necessary. These range everything from socks to slippers to heavy-duty summit shoes.
Normal and Summit Socks (5 to 6 Pairs and 2 Pairs)
Normal socks are often used during mountaineering in high mountains to keep your feet warm and comfortable. Remember, happy feet equals a happy climb, so invest in normal socks made with synthetic materials that are a little longer to keep you extra warm and ensure good blood flow to your feet.
Merrell’s unisex socks are great because they are synthetic and have a cushion comfort sole that absorbs tough terrain.
Any summit sock you buy must be comfortable, lightweight, and have a good grip while mountaineering. SockGuy makes amazing summit socks that are lightweight, have soft cushioning, and are made of TurboWool.
Trekking and Sports Shoes (1 Pair each)
Trekking shoes are essential when walking on light and dry trekking trails. The trekking shoes you choose must be lightweight, have a lot or toe room, be comfortable, and provide ample support. Merrell makes men’s and women’s trekking shoes with rubber soles and are made in the USA.
Sports shoes or light trekking shoes are often used for normal walking. They can also be used inside the camp and must be windproof and warm. ABAO makes great sports shoes that are lightweight, comfortable, and have adjustable shoelaces.
Camp Booties and Slippers (1 Pair each)
Camp booties are essential footwear while mountaineering but aren’t used during climbing. However, they are used inside camps, must be comfortable, and provide the utmost warmth. RANDDER makes some of the best camp booties for both men and women that are warm, comfortable, and doesn’t make your feet sweat.
Slippers must be bought for doing menial tasks around camps. They also must have good traction. Of course, comfort is one of the top priorities. Rab’s slippers are great because they are insulated and weather resistant.
Climbing Boot (1 Pair)
Climbing boots are usually used when climbing over 6000 meters above sea level. While purchasing a climbing boot, ensure they have a sturdy sole, preferably leather, and strong shoelaces. La Sportiva makes good climbing boots for men, while Columbia makes excellent climbing boots for women.
Summit Boot (1 Pair)
Summit boot is used while climbing above 8000 meters above sea level. They should be well-insulated from the inside, which also should be removable and extremely durable, and waterproof.
Usually, summit boots comprise three water-proof, wind-proof, and wear-resistant taped fabrics. They should also be puncture resistant and breathable. La Sportiva makes a one-of-a-kind summit boot that eliminates the use of gaiters.
Higher altitude means much sunlight, snow, ice, and wind directly impacting your head. Hence, proper head protection is required to protect your head from any possible injuries and keep you warm and comfortable while mountaineering.
Sun Cap, Desert Cap, and Balaclava (2 each)
Desert caps are any caps that can protect your head, face, and also your neck from the scorching sun often found while mountaineering. ELLEWIN makes good desert caps that are breathable, cool, and 100% polyester.
Balaclava is one of the most head-protecting mountain equipment you require while climbing. It protects you from frostbite and icy cold wind in higher altitudes. Always look for a breathable and stretchable balaclava whenever you are purchasing one. Fuinloth balaclava is made of premium fiber and is extremely comfortable to wear.
Fleece Hat and Neck Gaiter ( 2 to 3 each)
A fleece hat should provide warmth while mountaineering and protect you from the adverse mountain climate. It must be stretchable and lined with fleece from the inside. It should also be breathable and waterproof.
A neck gaiter should be long enough to cover your ears and neck, like the TICONN neck gaiter, which is windproof and has UV filtering.
Now let us look at all the technical mountaineering equipment you will require while climbing any mountain you choose.
A climbing helmet will protect your head from injuries while climbing. Ensure that your climbing helmet is ventilated, lightweight, adjustable, and has a foam liner. Any good climbing helmet must support your head well and have a space to support your headlight. Tontron has an adjustable climbing helmet that supports a headlamp.
Any crampon you use must be the perfect size for your shoes. If you invest in a crampon, you must look for ones that have 12-pointed crampons and are made of anti-balling steel plates. Crampons must fit with your trekking boots with the help of straps or a baling system where the packing system is also attached. A great crampon can be the Petzl VASAK Crampons which have 12-point classic crampons.
A harness is one of the most important pieces of equipment while mountaineering. While buying a harness for mountaineering, look for one that is lightweight and has a webbing-based seat harness. Also, since a harness is required to support your lower body, it must have ample space which goes over your mountaineering clothing too. The KAILAS Climbing Harness is made up of nylon and is completely adjustable.
Ice Axe with Spike and Axe Protector
While mountaineering, breaking the ice is mandatory, for which you can go for a straight-shafted axe with a pointed spike. Often ice axes are used to protect from falling, chopping down ice, and stability. The Blue Ice Akila Ice Axe is a stunning ice axe that is lightweight, functional, and durable.
Also, you can use Climbing Technology Ice Axe Head Cover to protect your axe from further damage while traveling.
Carabiners are available in both small and big sizes. They are used for security purposes. A large-size carabiner is used in harnesses.
The RHINO Produxs is one of the most used lock carabiners in the mountaineering field.
Jumar or Ascender
An ascender is used for ascending a mountain while mountaineering or for ascending a rope. If you are left-handed, do not worry because almost every ascender supports both left-handed and right-handed individuals.
Petzl Ascension Ascender is an ascender with excellent quality and has an amazing grip with a dependable performance guarantee.
Belay Devices (Figure 8) or ATC
Another important mountaineering equipment is a modern tube belay device with a locking carabiner. You need a belay device while rappelling and to loop your rope through a large and small hole until the rope rests on the neck of Figure 8.
Then the small hole is attached to the belay loop attached to the harness. Figure 8s are used in rappelling, rescuing, and caving. We recommend purchasing the Black Diamond ATC-XP Belay Device, which is durable and versatile.
Snow and Glacier Goggles
Snow glasses or snow summit glasses are used to block the harmful snow, ice, and wind from the delicate eye area. You can also buy good snow glasses with a prescription if you need one. The OutdoorMaster can be a good snow glasses option that can also be used for skiing.
Glacier goggles are used for UV filtering and battle the harsh sun reflection when it hits a snow surface. A glacier goggle might also work as a snow glacier but make sure that any glass you wear must cover your eyes from all sides. Montebianco can be a sturdy, unisex glacier goggles with full eye coverage.
We recommend a 120 centimeters tape sling while mountaineering. A tape sling is used for safety and also rigging on your ascender.
Headlight is important while climbing a mountain, especially in the dark. While choosing the power of the headlight, we recommend using a 700 lumen. Look for a weather-resistant headlight like the Nitecore NU33 headlight, which is rechargeable too.
GPS Device and Satellite Phone
To make sure the navigation process is as easy as possible, it is important to keep a GPS device with you. A great GPS device can be the Bushnell BackTrack Mini GPS Navigation which is weatherproof and great for hiking and trekking.
A satellite phone is important to keep in touch with your friends, family, and various offices where normal places don’t work. In addition, a satellite phone is essential to call and message people in need. But make sure to purchase a prepaid sim card and put enough credit on it. The BlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone comes with a 600-minute prepaid sim card and GPS tracking facility.
An altimeter watch is a mixture watch with a barometer, altimeter, and compass feature. Thus, it allows us to know the level of air pressure and be aware of the potential bad weather, making it a prerequisite for any mountaineers worldwide. The AOSLSI altimeter boasts all the features of a normal watch but also has every altimeter feature on it.
Prusik loops make prusiks, one of the most important accessory cords during mountaineering. Prusiks are used as pulleys and hung on ropes. If making knots isn’t your cup of tea, then prusik loops will be your answer.
The BeneLabel Poseidon Series Sewn Prusik Loops are made of high-quality materials and are easy to use.
A pocket knife or a Swiss knife is essential while mountaineering. A small and portable knife that has good sharpness is essential. The CIVIVI Mini Praxis Folding Pocket Knife is perfect for anyone and is sharp and versatile.
Trekking poles are a no-brainer in mountaineering, often used to support and assist mountaineers during their long climbs like the Cascade trekking poles, which are lightweight, comfortable, and have amazing grip.
Sleeping is mandatory as important as it is to climb while mountaineering. You need sleep to re-energize and repair your body after a long day of climbing.
Base Camp and Down Sleeping Bag
A base camp sleeping bag is designed for altitudes less than 6000 meters. Also, we recommend investing in a down-insulated base camp sleeping bag. The bag sleeping SOLOUT sells amazing sleeping bags that are warm and cozy.
A down sleeping bag is designed for sleeping over 8000 meters above sea level. The down sleeping bag we recommend is from the brand QEZER, and it is ultralight and easy to carry too.
Thermarest and Down Mattress
A Thermaset mattress is a cell foam that is used primarily for keeping outdoors. Whenever we sleep on top of snow, glaciers, or ice, we need an extra layer, and for that extra layer, we use a Thermarest mattress. The Therm-a-rest store makes the best thermarest mattress found in the market.
A down mattress is similar to a Thermarest mattress but is inflatable. KingCamp Luxury makes the best down mattress which is self-inflatable.
Sleeping Bag Liner
A sleeping bag liner is an extra that you can carry to keep yourself warm inside your sleeping bag and keep your sleeping bag extra clean. Sea to Summit has an amazing selection of sleeping bag liners that is versatile and comfortable.
If you love pillows like us and are willing to carry an extra while mountaineering, then an inflatable pillow will be your best friend. An inflatable pillow we recommend is the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Inflatable Travel Pillow.
All the mountaineering equipment must be carried in a sturdy rucksack or an essential duffle bag. So, let us dive into that.
You carry a rucksack to carry most of your mountaineering gear. It is often a temporary bag and must have enough space for crampons and oxygen. The Alps make amazing rucksacks that can be used for mountaineering easily.
A duffle bag is another carrying and mountaineering equipment used to carry all your essential mountaineering equipment. It needs to be strong, waterproof, and windproof. IFARADAY Store makes sturdy duffle bags that have a lot of storage space.
You will need many waterproof bags to keep all your necessities safe and dry. They can vary in size, and Frelaxy Store makes a wide range of ultralight and dry waterproof bags.
Sunscreen, Moisturiser, and Lip Balm
A sweatproof sunscreen with zinc will protect you from the sun’s harsh rays. Banana Boat is a sweatproof sunscreen that is used especially for mountaineering activities.
Always invest in a good moisturizer and a lip balm while mountaineering because the harsh weather can seriously damage skin and even cause bleeding in the worst cases. Merlot Moisturizer and O’Keeffe’s lip balm are some of the best the market has to offer.
Hand and Toe Warmer
A hand and a toe warmer is optional. But if you get cold easily, using one would be a wise choice. However, remember to store it properly without damaging it. Sport Temp makes a great hand and toe warmer that is ultralight and keeps you odorless.
Eating and Drinking
It is very important to keep yourself clean and hygienic while mountaineering too. Essentials like toothpaste, toothbrush, earbuds, dry and wet wipes, soap, towels, sanitary napkins, and garbage bags should always be carried.
Other items to carry while mountaineering are a nail cutter, a pair of scissors, a hot water bag, an umbrella, a raincoat, a power bank, a camera, chargers, pee bottles, etc., should be carried as per your need and requirement.
Medical or First Aid Kit
Always prepare an exhaustive medical or first aid kit while mountaineering because you never know what might happen. Self-help is always great, remember that. Your medical or first aid kit should include essentials like bandages, band-aids, sanitizers, paracetamols, medicines for colds, headaches, body aches, diarrhea, etc.
You may also like:
- Everest and Lhotse, Which is the Most Difficult?
- How To Train to Climb Mount Everest?
- 8 Astonishing Mountaineering Facts
So, here you have all the essential equipment you will need in your next mountaineering trip. However, documents such as visas, passports, permits, passport-size photos, insurance papers, etc., are also needed. Therefore, make sure that whenever you go mountaineering, go through the list we have created, and you won’t miss anything.