The Dolomites are a fantastic destination for active holidays, both in winter and in summer. In winter many people go there to ski and in summer the location is excellent for hiking and mountain biking. Me and my wife went there on holidays two years in a row. We really enjoyed our holidays both times but every year we also forgot some essentials. Here I’ll explain what you should bring for hiking holidays in the Dolomites to get the most out of them. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the temperatures will be quite low in the mornings and evenings due to altitude and thus it’s important to have warm clothing as well as warm sleeping gear if you plan to camp.
Table of Contents:
- Clothing Essentials for Summer Hiking in the Dolomites
- Footwear Recommendations for Hiking in the Dolomites
- Safety Gear You Shouldn’t Leave Behind
- Other Essential Gear
- Gear for Camping
Clothing Essentials for Summer Hiking in the Dolomites
When it comes to clothing for summer hiking in the Dolomites, I recommend bringing both clothes for very warm weather and clothes for cold conditions. During the day we were mostly hiking in pants and short-sleeved base layers but in the mornings, we also wore an insulation layer such as a fleece jacket. When approaching the peak, we often had to put on a shell layer, either a rain jacket or a softshell jacket. Both do the job, but softshell jackets provide better breathability. On the other hand, a rain jacket provides better protection against the rain. Nevertheless, I don’t recommend going hiking in rainy weather in the Dolomites because the terrain becomes very slippery and there is a higher chance of hazardous thunderstorms. Don’t forget to also bring a pair of gloves and a hat. I brought both a winter hat and a baseball cap. I wore a winter hat in the evenings/mornings and a baseball cap during daytime for sun protection. For going out in the evenings you’ll probably also need an insulated jacket, depending on the weather. So, in terms of clothing we recommend bringing the following:
- Hiking pants
- Short-sleeved base layer
- Underwear, socks
- Winter hat and summer hat
- Fleece jacket
- Softshell jacket or hardshell jacket
- Insulated jacket (for being out in the evenings)
Footwear Recommendations for Hiking in the Dolomites
Now, in terms of footwear it all depends on the trails you’re planning to take. However, most trails in the Dolomites are rocky and somewhat difficult. Therefore, I do recommend bringing good footwear. Me and my wife wore Salewa Mountain Trainer Mid and Scarpa Marmolada hiking boots both times we were there. We were happy with these robust hiking boots because of their support and stability. They were perfect for the trails we took. Now, if you’re an experienced lightweight hiker or mountaineer you’ll probably also be okay with hiking shoes or trail runners. Nevertheless, hiking boots are the most versatile option and will allow you to take whichever trail you want.
Safety Gear You Shouldn’t Leave Behind
The Dolomites are a well-known destination for via ferrata enthusiasts, offering challenging routes that feature a series of metal rungs, cables, ladders, and bridges. Climbing skills are a must when it comes to via ferratas. Now, not all trails in the Dolomites are like that but if you do decide to do some via ferratas, bring a via ferrata set, climbing harness and a helmet.
A helmet is recommended also for many other trails. Danger of falling rocks and stones is common on trails in the Dolomites. So, if you do have a helmet at home bring it with you. It could be useful for more trails than you think.
Other Essential Gear
Other essential gear includes a backpack and accessories. I recommend bringing a lightweight backpack that is big enough for the hikes you’re planning to take. If you’re planning to only do day hikes, a backpack with a volume of 20 to 30 liters should be perfectly fine. If you’re not sure how big a backpack you need, check out our article How to Choose the Right Backpack Size.
In terms of accessories don’t forget suncream, lip balm and sunglasses. The sun can be very strong at high altitudes and thus it’s important to wear and regularly apply sunscreen. Sunglasses will protect your eyes against damaging UV rays and are equally important.
Most trails in the Dolomites are marked and crowded. Therefore, chances you’ll get lost are low. Nevertheless, I do recommend that you at least install a hiking app on your phone if you decide not to bring a compass and a map. If you want to learn how to print topographic maps for free, check out our article here. So, let’s summon other essential gear:
- Lip balm
- Map + Compass or phone with a hiking app
Gear for Camping
One year me and my wife stayed in Sass Dlacia camp. The camp was amazing, but we did make the mistake of not checking at what altitude it is positioned. It’s 1600 meters above the sea level and thus the temperatures drop drastically during the night. We only had summer sleeping bags with us, and we were freezing a bit in the night, at least until we borrowed some blankets and the reception. So, if you’re planning to camp, I do recommend bringing 3-season sleeping bags. Since thunderstorms are very common in the summer in the Dolomites, you should also bring a high-quality tent that can withstand such weather.
The most important thing to remember is that the temperatures can be quite low during summer months in the Dolomites. So, do bring warm clothes and in case you’re going camping also warm sleeping equipment. Sun protection is the second most important thing. The sun rays are extremely strong at high altitudes and therefore you should regularly apply sunscreen, lip balm and wear sunglasses and sun protective clothing.
I’d love to hear about your thoughts on packing list for hiking in the Dolomites. Write them in the comments below.