Deciding how to dress and getting the proper gear for hiking in the Dolomites is an important part of your planning process. It may be a given in wintry conditions and it should be likewise in summer. We may underestimate the impact of sudden changes in the weather, but keep in mind that rapidly changing conditions are typical in the Dolomites. Be well-equipped.
Convective systems are very common during the summer months. We generally advise starting as early as possible in the morning and returning early in the afternoon to avoid getting stuck in a violent system. Always be prepared for a surprise snowfall or high winds, even in the summer.
Last summer I was leading a group from the Unites States in the 3 Cime di Lavaredo when the sky turned suddenly dark. The ominous clouds were fast approaching from the west and were a clear indication of what was to come! We quickened our pace as much as we could making sure we were all together. It was no small accomplishment considering this was the tail-end of a six hour hike that took us through scree territory in the north face of Mt.Paterno and steep climbs on extinct glacial moraines. As we approached the Rifugio Locatelli we were hit with sudden cross-winds and torrents of rain pouring down from the sky. We ran for cover, and were thankful for the shelter the rifugio gave us as the weather front stormed by. It could have been worse had we not been properly geared up.
Make sure you have the proper clothing. There is no shortage of options and you can shop around for what suits you best. Make sure the garments you chose are quick-dry as you want the moisture to evaporate quickly from your body. Someone said that hiking is about being wet, you’re either sweating it out or getting soaked by rain! The good news is that you can purchase quality items at affordable prices, see here.
This is what we recommend for a day-hike in the Dolomites.
• Sturdy hiking boots. They should be light weight, but offer rigid support in the sole
• Waterproof breathable jacket
• Quick-dry synthetic pants and shorts
• Wool or synthetic socks (several pairs)
• Quick-dry synthetic short and long-sleeve shirts (several)
• Medium fleece sweater
• Fleece hat for the evenings
You can check out our walkthedolomites equipment list for more information.
Keep in mind that being properly dressed in the Dolomites will help you keep safe, and warm.