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Cold weather gear for Alps in July?

Doing the My Way tour in July. I know last year there was a heatwave in July and got very warm during the days. So I have to prepare for that. But we'll be going up mountains most days where I know it will be cold, so wondering how much "cold weather" gear to bring. Gloves? Hat? Scarf? I know I'll need a waterproof jacket and a fleece type of jacket....3-in-1 jacket or better to bring 2 separate? Any other tips as far as what to bring? I am a notorious overpacker and the prospect of having to pack for 2 different climates is worrisome.

Posted by
11453 posts

We frequently go to the Alps in Switzerland and the Dolomites in Italy. My wardrobe does not change much whether August or October: hiking pants or jeans, a wool tee shirt (long or short sleeved depending on conditions), a lightweight mid-layer (fleece is too bulky), and a jacket. I bring a windbreaker and a lightweight puffer to help me transition as we are usually there from August to October. Always gloves, a rain/sun hat, hiking boots, wool socks. I pack tights for an extra lower layer but I seldom have used them. My puffer is a packable one that compresses to a very small “pillow” so not a space hog.

You can peel off the jacket and the mid layer if it is truly hot. If it is too cold for three layers, that is under 40 degrees, we don’t hike. 😁 When we went up to the Jungfraujoch we ventured out onto the terrace for a view but mostly enjoyed the scenery from indoors, for example.

I can make 8 weeks with a 21 inch roll aboard and a daypack. You can do this!

Posted by
5044 posts

The further up you go, the colder. If there's snow on the summit, I would need hat, scarf, and gloves. The Jungfraujoch was cold and windy , yet sunny and clear, on our Sept day a few years back. Yet Murren was just brisk, and I was happy with my packable down jacket. The cities were really warm, and I didn't bring summer clothes, so I was unprepared for that.
Have a great trip , and pack your layers.

Posted by
8210 posts

I lived in The Alps of Austria one summer. I would tell you to just carry a light jacket that repels rain. It's not especially hot or cold there but it does rain at 5:30 pm many afternoons--like clockwork.

I'm sorry you're an over packer. I remember my poor father having to haul my mother's heavy suitcases. With my family, everyone's carrying 21" rolling bags with 22 lbs. maximum load. If my wife can do it, anyone can.

Posted by
7007 posts

A scarf is bulky and quite useless to me on a summer hike, especially if you have a mid-layer with a collar that zips up. If you are worried, take a synthetic buff/neckwarmer maybe (they take almost no space).
A hat + gloves are very compact, if I had to choose I would go for the gloves as I don't typically need a hat in above-freezing temps.

Posted by
198 posts

I was on this tour last August. I did pack a jacket which was “water resistant”. Definitely not good enough for hiking in the Dolomites during heavy rain. I as drenched. I have since purchased a Gortex jacket. The rest of trip we had nice weather. I did not feel it was extremely cold at the higher elevations. I wore layers and was fine.

Posted by
289 posts

Any 3 in 1 solution is going to be heavy, bulky and non-breathable. These are better suited for skiing in cold weather. If you are only at altitude during the days, your warmth layer needs will be minimal. I usually have a rain jacket and a very light down vest when I hike throughout the world during summer months and have never need more. If the weather looks like it will be worse than my gear can handle, I dont want to be out anyways.

For what you are doing, I recommend the lightest gore-tex or clone rain jacket you can get. REI house brand Xerodry is great for all but the heaviest downpours . Goretex Paclite is, I believe, the name brand equivalent. It will double as a windbreaker.

For cooler days, try a light fleece layer such as Patagonia’s waffle weave pullover. You can layer this under the rain jacket and still be amazingly warm and it will double as a pullover at night.

For the highest altitude and/or freakishly bitter cold, add a 650-800 fill down puffer. I have an 800 fill LL Bean jacket that is really warm and breathes much better than any synthetic insulation I have tried over the last 30 years. Make sure it at least has a Pertex nylon outer shell. You will be able to wear this at noght at the higher elevations as well.

Eddie Bauer has decent stuff but it tends to be heavier and bulkier than what you may find elsewhere. However, it does tend to be a great value when their stuff goes on sale.

As far as a hat gloves and scarf, if you need them buy them there.

Posted by
195 posts

I've worn a three quarter zip-up as a layer by itself and over other layers for warmth on many trips. Haven't yet been to the Alps but it was comfortable in Alaska in the summer at Denali when it was 34 degrees. It's made of merino and yak wool.