When mountaineering, you should always plan for the worse because you never know what you will need to survive in the wilderness.

Weather can change at any moment, temperatures can drop, and your plans could easily go out the window.

Along with the necessary knowledge and technical skills to survive, in this article we are going to review 5 things every mountaineer needs, at least.

These items are most likely required on most mountaineering trips, but there may be additional items you need depending on where you are going, the length of your stay, the type of terrain, and so on.

Always do your research and be prepared, as it can make a life or death difference when out on the mountain.

Here we will be sharing the essentials to get you started!

Here are 5 Items Every Mountaineer Needs:

Clothing & Footwear

It is said that heat leaves the body through our extremities: head, toes, and fingers.

Wearing a hat to keep your head warm is going to help keep the rest of your body warm.

If it is snowing or raining, you will want a hat and a coat that is waterproof with a hood, to keep you dry.

You’ll also want a really good pair of hiking boots to keep your feet warm and comfortable.

It is recommended that you walk around in your hiking boots for several hours before a trip to make sure they are comfortable and supportive.

REI has a lot of hiking boots and they will help you get fitted as well.

Just like keeping your toes warm is important, so is keeping your fingers warm.

Frost bite is the last thing you want when out in the cold and wearing the proper gloves will make a huge difference.

Style Within Reach has a buyers guide of the Best Mountaineering Gloves.

Climbing Pack

Climbing Pack

A climbing pack is where you are going to store all of your gear.

It needs to be comfortable yet large enough to fit all of your essentials.

Dicks Sporting Goods has a huge selection of climbing packs.

PS: your climbing pack should always include a first aid kit.

Amazon.com has a huge selection of mountaineering first aid kits.

Overnight Gear

Even if you only plan for a day trip, you should be prepared for the worse.

If you get stuck or weather conditions change, you may have to camp out for the night and being prepared will come in handy.

Even though it will require carrying extra items, bringing some sort of shelter (tent), and a warm sleeping bag as well as a way to start a fire are essentials.

REI.com has some good compact emergency shelters here.

A head lamp would also be a good idea because it is pitch black out in the wilderness!

They can save your life if you need to stay overnight.


Accessories like an altimeter watch and navigation tools can make travel in the mountains easier and more comfortable.

Navigation items include: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon (PLB) or satellite messenger.

These will be your guide should you take a wrong turn and get lost.

A GPS or satellite messenger will help you get found if search and rescue comes looking for you.

Food & Water

Nuts, string cheese, energy or granola bars, dried fruit, beef jerkey, etc.

These are all great foods to throw in your climbing pack to keep you fueled while on your excursion.

Also make sure you have plenty of water or a way to get clean water.

You can get a Portable Water Filter straw by Life Straw if you are in an area that you know will have a water source.

As mentioned above, each mountaineering trip is unique.

Do your research on the terrain and climate, and always be prepared for each trip!