A good pair of sturdy but comfortable walking boots should be top of your list. The terrain can be challenging on certain trails so opt for boots with decent ankle support rather than a trainer-style shoe. If you’re buying brand new footwear for your trip, be sure to ‘break them in’ beforehand as this will help prevent painful blisters. Don’t forget to pack a few decent pairs of walking socks too.
When it comes to walking attire, it’s all about the layers. We’d suggest packing a few thin thermal t-shirts or compression tops (sports material, not cotton) to wear next to the skin, a lightweight fleece, and a thicker fleece or jumper to wear on top.
Trousers should be flexible and loose fitting; a thin pair with zip-off legs are a good option in warm weather. Don’t wear jeans as these will restrict movement and hold moisture.
We’d also advise packing a quality set of lightweight waterproofs. Even if there is no rain forecast, a sudden downpour can turn an enjoyable walk into a soggy and uncomfortable one, so it pays to be prepared. Mountain weather can be unpredictable!
Although not essential, most hikers in Morzine use poles to aid balance on uneven ground, and reduce damage to their knees. Security regulations do not allow poles to be carried on aircraft, so make sure you get collapsible ones that can fit into your checked luggage.
Choose a lightweight and waterproof rucksack with a hip belt. Try a few on for size and seek advice from a specialist retailer before making your purchase - comfort is essential. Hydration backpacks are a great option in hot weather.
Map, Compass & GPS
Even the most experienced walkers will admit to having had a ‘where am I?’ moment. While the majority of the Portes du Soleil is well signposted, it pays to carry a map, compass or GPS device, should you find yourself off course. Most smartphones have maps and compass features, but a backup paper map is advisable - paper doesn't run out of battery power!
During the summer, temperatures in the Portes du Soleil can reach upwards of 35℃, so sunscreen, a hat and a decent pair of sunglasses are essential.
The views here are simply stunning, so don’t forget your camera, some spare batteries and a charger.
Things to consider before you set off
- Choose a trail that is suitable for all members of your group, and always check with a local expert if you’re unsure about which route to take.
- Make sure someone knows where you're heading, and what time you expect to return.
- Revise basic first aid, and make sure you know how to call for help in the event of an emergency - it’s worth saving emergency numbers in your mobile phone before setting off.
- Carry plenty of fluids and snacks for energy.
- Consider purchasing a Multi-Pass for unlimited access to the chairlifts and gondolas, plus a whole host of other activities in the region, for as little as €2 per person, per day.
While this list is not exhaustive, it should prove as a useful starting point. For further advice we’d recommend speaking with your local hiking or outdoor retailer, who will be able to recommend items suited to your specific requirements.