By: Erin "Wired" Saver

The Pyrenees mountain range, which creates a natural border between Spain and France, runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. There are multiple routes that can be traveled along the length of the Pyrenees, but I wanted the one that would stay higher and not dive down to villages as often. The Haute Route Pyrenees (HRP) is about a 500-mile route that traverses the Pyrenees while trying to stay high and closer to the crest as much as possible. After having done some other high routes in the U.S., this one caught my eye. Since there can be a great range in weather at anytime in the Pyrenees, I wanted gear that could handle all that I might encounter.

Haute Route Pyrenees Map

My gear evolves slightly each year, with most of the main items rarely changing. I have used the Gossamer Gear Mariposa since 2013, and it's become like a security blanket. I feel unlucky without it. I know I could carry the smaller and lighter Gossamer Gear Gorilla, but I like the flexibility of having more space to pack in more if I want.

Mariposa backpack on the Haute Route Pyrenees

I tend to pack conservatively, so packing for a wide range of weather really wasn't much of a change from the gear I would bring on the long trails I've hiked in the U.S. The key was to be aware of the weather. The Pyrenees is mostly above treeline, so I knew I needed to be in low locations if fronts came through.

Eyeing the traverse above Lago de Literole

In recent years, I've migrated towards always carrying a slightly heavier rain jacket (now the Montbell Torrent Flier) and the Liteflex Hiking (Chrome) umbrella. I know I can get cold quickly in rain, so I also carry rain paints that some would consider overkill. They also work well for general warmth on cold nights.

Foggy trail on the way to the village of Gavarnie

An unexpected challenge in the Pyrenees was the strength of the wind at times. I likened it to hiking with a jet engine with the force and noise it could make. I often used my buff over my ears more for silence than warmth.

Refuge de Pombie on the Haute Route Pyrenees

My major gear change for this year was ditching the camera and using my smartphone instead. As a blogger, this was a big step. I never used the camera to its full ability, so found this to be an easy transition. It gave me one less thing to carry, was more time efficient, and even saved me enough weight to reason upgrading my external battery. This gave me even more flexibility in the length of time I could be out between charges.

Cell Phone adapter and tripod

With the chances of high winds and precipitation at night, I was very aware of where I pitched my tent. I did have a surprise thunderstorm one night when I camped up high, and a brief hail storm where I had to find shelter one day, but other than that, I did well with getting low or being in a village when storms came through. I usually don't use a ground cloth under my tent, but I brought one for the Pyrenees, and was glad I did. Camping, rather than using refuges, is less popular out there, so the camp spots were often on rough ground and had a lot of sheep droppings. Beautiful locations though!

The Pyrenees have to be one of the most scenic places to hike in the world. The view to mile ratio is the best I've had on any route or trail, but it isn't without hard work. The route is rarely level, and the elevation changes are quite steep with long stretches on rocky terrain. The path is generally well marked, so navigation is not very difficult. Due to how strenuous the route can be and the weather's unpredictability, there is a fair amount of solitude along the HRP. That adds to the magic of it all, and I highly recommend this route for anyone looking for a rewarding challenge in the mountains.

Alpine lakes on the Haute Route Pyrenees

You can find a detailed daily blog of my thru-hike of the Haute Route Pyrenees from July 2nd to August 5th on my website. You can also find my upcoming list of presentations to learn more about my recent travels here:

Wired's Current Gear List

Item Specific Item Cost Weight Weight (oz)
Backpack Gossamer Gear Mariposa $235 1 lbs 14.7 oz 30.7
Waterproof Liner Trash Compactor Bag 1 oz 1.00
Tent ZPacks Solplex w/8 Titanium V Stakes $535 1 lbs 0.2 oz 16.20
Tent Stakes Tite-Lite Titanium V Stakes (8) $24
Stake Bag Gossamer Gear Q Stake Bag $15 0.1 oz 0.06
Sleeping Bag ZPacks 10 Degree $390 1 lbs 3.8 oz 19.80
Sleeping Pad Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Women's $160 11 oz 11.00
Sleeping Pad Stuff Sack Therm-a-Rest $15 0.5 oz 0.50
Alcohol Stove Toaks Titanium Siphon $40 .7 oz .7
Cooking setup/windscreen Caldera Cone Set $35 3.2 oz 3.2
Pot Evernew Titanium .9L $41 4.1 oz 4.10
Spoon Gossamer Gear Long-Handle Bamboo Spoon $10 0.6 oz 0.55
Food Bag ZPacks Roll Top Blast Food Bag $30 1.4 oz 1.40
Water Filter Sawyer Squeeze $40 3 oz 3.00
Mini Dropper for Bleach Gossamer Gear Mini Dropper w/bleach $4 0.4 oz 0.40
Water Bag Platypus SoftBottle 34oz $9 1.2 oz 1.20
Water Bag Platypus Platy Bottle 70oz $13 1.3 oz 1.30
Water Bottle Smart Water Plastic Disposable 1.7 oz 1.70
First Aid Band-aids, cloth tape, mini lighter $36 3 oz 3.00
Knife Gossamer Gear Pocket Knife $20 0.8 oz 0.80
Toiletries Chapstick, toothbrush/paste, floss, bodyglide, wet wipes, razor 4 oz 4.00
Stuff Sack Gossamer Gear-Sm/3L $10 0.3 oz 0.3
Brush ALAZCO Folding Brush (customized w/out mirror) $4 0.5 oz 0.50
Sunscreen Sawyer Sunscreen $3 1.2 oz 1.20
Menstrual Cup Diva Cup $20 0.7 oz 0.70
Potty Bag Toilet paper, ziplocs, hand sanitizer 2 oz 2.00
Trowel Deuce Backpacking Trowel $20 0.6 oz 0.6
Stuff Sack Gossamer Gear-Sm/3L $10 0.3 oz 0.3
Camera iPhone SE 64GB
Headlamp Petzel e+Lite (Ultralight) Headlamp $17 1 oz 1.00
MP3 Player SanDisk Sansa Clip $50 1 oz 1.00
Headphones Apple Earbuds 0.4 oz 0.40
Phone iPhone SE 64GB $500 4 oz 4.00
Phone Charger Cord Apple 5W USB Power Adapter 1.4 oz 1.40
Flash Drive SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive(64GB) $100 1.1 oz 1.10
USB Travel Charger Adapt. NooQee 27W 5.4A 4-port wall charger $11 3 oz 3.00
External Portable Battery Anker PowerCore 20100mAh $42 12.6 oz 12.6
USB Cords in Reach, MP3, & Extern Charg. USBs 2 oz 2.00
Personal Locator Device DeLorme inReach SE $300 6.7 oz 6.7
Watch w/alarm Head of a generic watch with alarm in tent
Selfie Stick Camera Mounter StickPic $9 0.8oz 0.80
Selfie Phone Adapter StickPic Cell Phone Adapter $8 .9oz .90
Sewing Kit Mini Travel Sewing Kit $7 0.1 oz 0.10
Field Repair Tape Tenacious Tape (clear) $5 0.2 oz 0.20
Umbrella Liteflex Hiking (Chrome) Umbrella $39 8 oz 8.00
Hanging Rope Dynaglide Bear Hanging Line 50' $16 1.3 oz 1.3
Compass Suunto A-10 Compass $20 1.1 oz 1.1
Wallet Gossamer Gear Cuben Q-Storage Sack $5 0.1 oz 0.05
Tripod Pedco UltraPod Mini Tripod $15 1.6oz 1.6
Sit Pad Back Pad on Pack Doubles as Sit Pad 0 oz
Mosquito Head Net Sea to Summit Insect Shield $11 1.3 oz 1.3
GPS Phone App GAIA GPS $10/yr
Extra Clothing (in pack)
Stuff Sack Gossamer Gear-Lg/10.5L $14 0.5 oz 0.5
Heavier Rain Jacket (heavier) Montbell Torrent Rain Jacket $225 8 oz 8.00
Rain Pants Sierra Designs Hurricane HP Pants $50 6.2 oz 6.2
Insulating Jacket Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer $350 7.2 oz 7.2
Waterproof Rain Gloves Disposable Nitrile Medical Gloves $0.40 0.4
2nd Pair of Socks Balega Enduro VTech Quarter $10 1.2 oz 1.20
Pajama Top Smartwool Microweight Crew Long Sleeve $65 5 oz 5.00
Pajama Bottom Smartwool Microweight Long Underwear Bottoms $75 5 oz 5.00
Gloves Seirus Hyperlite All-Weather Gloves $30 1.8 oz 1.80
Warm Hat Outdoor Research Flurry Beanie $20 2.2 oz 2.20
Buff Buff Original Buff $20 1.3 oz 1.30
Sleep Socks Lotion Infused soft socks $10 1.5 oz 1.50
2nd Pair of Underwear ExOfficio $12 1 oz 1.00
Ankle Brace Walgreens Ankle Support $9 1 oz 1.00
Camp Shoes Teva Mush II Flip Flops $12 5.3 oz 5.30
Sub Total $3,746 12lbs 12.8 oz 200.71
Worn Clothing (not in pack)
Sunglasses Road Runner Sports Sunglasses $30 0.6 oz 0.60
Shoes La Sportiva Bushido (men's) $120 11.3 oz 11.30
Hiking Poles Fizan Compact Trekking Poles $60 11 oz 11.00
Sports Bra Nike Pro Core $28 3.7 oz 3.70
Underwear ExOfficio $12 1 oz 1.00
Top Mizuno Short Sleeved Tech Shirt $39 3.7 oz 3.70
Top Adidas Long Sleeved Tech Shirt $40 4.6 oz 4.60
Pants White Sierra Teton Trail Convertible $35 10.6 oz 10.60
Socks Balega Enduro VTech Quarter $10 1.2 oz 1.20
Skins (under pants) Andiamo skins (unpadded) $15 1.9 oz 1.90
Hat Nike Feather Light Hat $20 1.9 oz 1.90
Gaiters Dirty Girl Gaiters $17 1 oz 1.00
Sub Total $426
Other Gear Used on Various Trips When Needed (not in total BPW below)
Rain Jacket (lighter) Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket $150 5.8 oz 5.8
Bear Canister BearVault BV500 or BV450 $80 2 lbs 9 oz 41.00
Odor Proof Food Bags Loksak OPSAK $13 1.7 oz 1.70
Bear Bag Ursack Major S29.3 AllWhite $90 8.7 oz 8.70
GPS Garmin eTrex 30 $300 5 oz 5.00
Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS25 $300 6.5oz 6.50
Wi-Fi SD Camera Card Toshiba 32G FlashAir III $40
Shoulder Strap Pocket Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket $16 1.5oz 1.5
Ice Axe Black Diamond Raven $80 15.9oz
Microspikes Kahtoola MICROspikes $70 11oz 11.0
Bug Spray Sawyer Insect Repellent $3 1 oz 1.00
Sub Total $1,132
Combined Total $5,304

Erin "Wired" Saver is a Gossamer Gear Brand Ambassador and long distance thru-hiker. Learn more about her adventures on her website.