Beware High Altitudes!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you're traveling in the warmer months and plan to venture to the top of Zugspitze (which I recommend), be sure to pack both warm and cold weather clothes. Garmische is beautiful in the spring, and in the town shorts and sundresses are appropriate, but high up on the mountain there is snowfall year round! Be prepared.
Photo Equipment: If you leave the camera at home for this trip, you'll regret it for the rest of your life. There's a photo-op every five minutes.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
packing light is sound advice
Luggage and bags: Packing light is not just sound advice, it is essential for group dynamics. I ski tour with special forces soldiers, who are big, and strong, and I have seen them beaten by the size of their packs. For one, you are up at 3000 meters and higher. You are ski touring the whole day. On a hot day, the snow sticks to your skins on your skis and every step is like lifting 5 lbs. of snow, boot, and ski, not anything like gliding. You sweat, you lose a lot of water, you get tired and dehydrated. And, if you are carrying too much it will kick your butt.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: But, even if you're an uebermensch, and can carry 40 kgs or 80 lbs. all day, you still have to reckon with skiing. I have been in breakable crust, able to jump turns, and glide between turns to regain my balance, as I am not that heavy and did not have a large, heavy pack. My larger friends, with their monster packs, were breaking through the crust, sinking down, unable to properly unweight their skis during the turns, and not able to spring up out of snow to execute jump turns. They were also not able to keep or regain their balance if they lost it. Therefore, they were falling a lot. This tires you out a lot and slows the whole group down. Nothing worse than waiting for the slowest person all the time. A group that skis at the same speed is more enjoyable and safer. If you work hard and sweat, waiting around for people to catch up means you're more likely to freeze if it is cold and windy or if you are in the shade.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The worst experience I had was with two snowboarders that I was forced to share a snow cave with. They had way too much stuff, and all the wrong stuff. Not only were they slower on snow shoes than I was on skis, but due to the weight of their packs they struggled on the downhills on snowboard. One became so exhausted, that we had to divvy up his gear amoung everyone else, to help speed him up. After 6-hours of ski touring, we had to dig our snowcaves. He was too tired to help us, so we did the hard, wet, and tiring work of digging the snow caves, which means we were even more drenched in sweat when it got dark and cold.
Photo Equipment: Then once in the snowcave, it turns out that the snowboarders forgot what they were supposed to have. A sleeping bag, a bivvy bag, and a thermal matt to sleep on. Between the two of them they had just one sleeping bag, one bivvy bag, and one thermal matt. I had all three, plus the stove and fuel, and extra dry cothing to change into. However, I was forced to share my matt with them, so they did not have to sleep on the snow, without a proper sleeping bag. So, I was forced to lie half on my matt, and half on the cold snow, instead of being warm and dry and looking forward to a good night's sleep after a long, hard trek. I was furious. Their inconsiderate behavior and stupidity, meant I carried all that gear, and then could not even enjoy it properly.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: They brought the most useless articles, and too much food. What are you going to do with 5 lbs of gorp? The worst case of group dynamics, but I have seen it again and agian. Guys that think they are big and strong, and they bring too much gear. And, worse when they bring the wrong gear.
Miscellaneous: Also, you have to think about how you are going to ski with your stuff on. It has to be well packed and tied down well. If you have stuff hanging off the outside of your pack, and take a fall, all that stuff is going to get lost in the snow. I have seen water bottles shoot out of the outside of the pack and head clear down the mountain. Everything should go in your pack, unless it was designed to be on the outside, like ice axes, and in this case my skis. And, it should be well tied down so it does not move around while you are skiiing.
Less is more when you have to carry it. It is not just yourself, but the whole group, who have to evaluate and reduce what you bring, so divide up the communal gear, and only bring what you will need.
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
- Skiing and Boarding
packing & what to leave at home
Luggage and bags: A comfortable knapsack is a must. It should fit your back and distribute the weight evenly between your shoulders and your waist. Of course, it should have a padded back and a belt for around your waste, as well as a strap across the chest. Do not buy too large. 20 kgs or 40 lbs. gets awfully heavy at the end of a long day.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you plan to travel light, rinse your laundry in the sink as you go, and want versatility, then think about replacing some of your traditional standbys with something different.
I am a runner, biker, hiker and skier. Therefore, I own a lot of functional clothing made from lycra, nylon and polyester, along with cotton and wool blends. I try to bring many layers, so that I can put on and take off as the weather changes. Of course, I carry lights for hot weather, but also darks, which do not show the dirt as much. Hint: grays and blues are better than black when it is hot & sunny outside.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: One light weight camera that is water resistant and can withstand a fall and getting knocked around in your knapsack and or pocket. Leave your expensive gear at home when skiing.
Photo Equipment: Replacing a pair of jeans with a pair of hiking pants with zippered legs versus carrying an extra pair of shorts saves on weight. Lightweight, polyester/nylon t-shirts weigh a third less than cotton shirts, and pack up a lot smaller. They also dry faster when you rinse them out or when you are just cooling down after a long, hot walk in the sun. Fleeces are often more versatile than cotton sweatshirts. Sweatshirts are bulky and take forever to dry once they get wet. Fleeces come in many styles, so you can get less bulky cuts that also take up less room in your suitcase or backpack.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: With fleeces or jackets, I like the ones with zippered sleeves, so I do not have to carry a jacket and a vest. Unless I am sleeping in a snow cave or it is really cold, quite often a 100-weight fleece with windstopper will keep me warmer than a 300-weight fleece without it. That is because it keeps the wind off me, and if it is not going to rain, then I can eliminate an extra layer, too. Pit zips are a must regardless of what anorak you carry.
I prefer hiking socks to wool socks. They rub less, soak up and retain less moisture, and therefore cause fewer blisters.
At the end of the day, synthetics need to be rinsed out so they do not smell, so I carry a tube of fast-rinsing laundry detergent with me. It is extra weight, but saves many trips to the laundry mat or packing extra clothes for that weeklong business trip or when trekking and every ounce counts.
Miscellaneous: Caution: If you are going to be in the mountains you must also reckon with an unexpected overnight stay on the mountain if and when something goes wrong and it can. So packing light is often a tradeoff with being warm and dry, so weigh your options carefully. Communal group gear can often help you carry extra items, but less overall than if every member brought everything.
I love my old sweat shirts and jean jackets, they just take up a lot of room, and I keep them for bumming around home on the weekends, or when I am driving, and am tempted to bring everything (just in case).
Pack light. Carry a credit card.
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
- Skiing and Boarding
What to bring for the skijumping
Luggage and bags: Bring a water and dirt resistant bag and clothes. When we were here there was mud all around the stadium which made everything dirty, the bags, the shoes, trousers, jackets.... simply everything. What a mess!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Be prepared to stand in the stadium for hours. So dress warmly. If you have wear your skiing clothes and warm shoes.
Photo Equipment: A big zoom is necessary because in this stadium you are quite far from "the action".
Miscellaneous: Bring fan equipment such as flags and everything that's noisy. You will get caps and lots of other advertising there!
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