Suggested clothing and gear for your time in the Dolomites:
When you pack for the Dolomites – remember that this is not a rugged hiking or backpacking trip, this is day hikes from nice hotels in villages. You will also typically spend one night in a very comfortable three star mountain lodge where you have your own room and attached bathroom. In the villages there are many outdoor/clothing and gear shops in case you need anything.
The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable. Some days we are in shorts and tank tops, the next day it’s cold from a stiff north wind. Late June and early July it can be very pleasant, July and August are “usually” HOT, September can go either way – hot or cold – one never knows. Evenings can be cold, so please pack and dress accordingly. I do not “do” temperatures – what does the number matter… layers are what you need. You do not “need” anything special beyond comfortable shoes and clothing.
You will be staying some nights at a 4-star hotel where people get dressed up to walk around the town and especially for dinners – to them it is an event. Hiking attire and/or hiking shoes, shorts and/or t-shirts/tank tops are not appropriate for dinner, and remember it can get quite cold in the evening – especially at Passo Giau which is the mountain lodge which we sometimes stay at and is at 7,000 feet. You do not need a new outfit every night, and you can wear anything comfortable for the night at the mountain lodge. Italian men don’t generally wear shorts, especially in the mountain villages in the evenings, and they avoid “logo” wear. Shorts are fine in the hot cities and on the trail though. People dress up in the evenings, especially for dinner, and a collared shirt and long pants for men are recommended. Perhaps a dress, slacks and nice blouse is recommended for women. One of the most important items to ensure you have is well fitting and comfortable footwear. Please be sure you bring a well-broken in pair of trail or hiking shoes. Take whatever is most comfortable for you to wear for hikes that will range from 3-6 hours.
For hiking in the early season – June through mid July – please take an extra warm layer. For hiking in mid-July through mid to late August – the temperatures can get pretty warm during the day so there is no need to take too much cold weather gear. It is always best to dress in layers – use synthetic materials for your base layer. Try to avoid cotton as it does not dry as quickly or as easily as synthetics and you could get cold very quickly if the weather turns. Gary has extra warmers layers and waterproof jackets if needed. in the valleys below. As this trip takes place in the mountains, weather patterns can be unpredictable and change rapidly; participants must be prepared for variable weather conditions that can change suddenly and may include hot, sunny days, prolonged rainfall, wind, and even a dusting of snow. Although all-day rain storms are unusual, showers are a possibility at any time of the year so it it always recommended to be prepared.
For the trail: (think outdoor workout/yoga class/comfortable/walking for hours):
• 1+ pair light-mid weight long pants (zip off pants are perfect).
• 1+ pair of shorts or capris (and a belt).
• 1-2 – tank tops, 1-2 t-shirts, & 1-2 long-sleeve shirts. Synthetic materials are best
• 1 warmer layer such as a mid-weight shirt/hoodie.
• 1 pair comfortable walking/hiking/trail running shoes.
• 2-3 pair comfortable underwear and hiking socks (We suggest using whatever socks work best for you when hiking or walking).
To carry in your day pack:
• Sun hat/baseball cap/visor and maybe a bandana, sunglasses.
• Warmer layer such as fleece/soft-shell/and/or down jacket (lightweight).
• Waterproof/breathable jacket, or a cheap rain poncho!
• Lightweight windshirt (optional).
• Warmer hat/beanie/Buff (neck gaiter) and lightweight gloves (can get there if needed).
• Camera and accessories (extra batteries, memory cards).
• Small amount of toilet paper/wet wipes (in a zip-lock bag).
• Waterproof pack cover (a good idea – easy to get in the Dolomites).
• Small zip-lock bags for any trash/tissues/keeping valuables dry.
• Small flashlight (optional, and a good general travel item too).
• 1-2 Cliff/protein/energy type bars (optional – or buy some there).
• Water bottle (1 only – you can borrow one from us.)
• Any medications, knee braces, small coins for bathrooms.
Men: (what to bring in your luggage for travel/evenings):
• 1-2 pair of casual pants/jeans (and a belt).
• 3+ casual short and/or long-sleeve shirts.
• 1+ casual sweaters and/or a nicer jacket or a sports coat.
• 1+ pair casual and comfortable shoes (that protect your feet).
• Underwear and socks, PJs, swimsuit, gym clothing.
Women: (what to bring in your luggage for travel/evenings)
• 2+ dresses/skirts/pants/capris outfits.
• 3+ casual short and/or long sleeve blouses.
• 1+ casual jackets/sweaters/down jacket and a shawl/scarf.
• 1+ pair casual shoes (suitable for cooler temps and cobblestones).
• Socks, underwear, PJs, swimsuit for the pool, gym clothing.
• All of the hotels we use in the Dolomites have hair dryers.
Here are some items you do not need to buy, or bring, (unless you really want to):
• Day packs – We have extra day packs and 5 very lightweight packs (all you really need).
• Trekking poles – We have enough for everyone, and will teach you how to use them. No need to bring your own.
• Rain gear – No need for rain pants, and we have 2 extra rain jackets, 2 extra wind jackets, and 2 lightweight ponchos.
• The guide will have a first aid kit.
• No need for insect repellant, except maybe in Venice or in the lakes regions.
• Water bottles – We will have extras, and you can just buy bottled water and refill – the water is very pure and safe alpine water right out of the facets everywhere in the Dolomites.
• Warm upper layers – as a previously sponsored mountain athlete I have many, many warm jackets, vests, down jackets (men’s sizes L & XL, and women’s mediums and larges) available on loan.
• We also have half-a-dozen caps and sun hats if you want to borrow one, and as mentioned there are many outdoor shops nearby.
We recommend these stores for buying any outdoor gear and clothing and especially for expert help with footwear.