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We had two days right before leaving Berlin to Elbrus. So, we did not have enough time to do good research for better prices, but ordering online tend to be cheaper than buying in a store. However, it is also important to support local, family-run mountaineering stores and price differences are usually not that huge anyways. Vienna had some cool family-owned stores, but we had only one full day there to make quick decisions and buy some basic necessities.

Berlin in contrast is rather an awful shopping city for mountaineers (no wonder: next mountains are miles and miles away). There are one-two good mountaineering stores that are worth visiting in the city of three million. The best deals and equipment are rather to be found online.

So what was on our gear list?

Top layers

  • Gore-Tex, Microtex or K-Tech Trilaminate jacket
  • Gore-Tex, Microtex or K-Tech pants
  • Warm/core jacket
  • Warm/winter trekking/hiking trousers
  • Thinner hiking/trekking trousers
  • Fleece/thermal jacket or wool sweater
  • Fleece, wool or thermal inner gloves/liners
  • Goose warm gloves
  • Gore-Tex or outer gloves
  • Rain poncho (you do not really need it)
  • Shorts

Under layers

  • Thermal thin long johns/base layer: top and bottom parts
  • Thermal/merino wool thick long johns/base layer: top and bottom parts
  • Thermal/wool underwear
  • Sport, breathing underwear
  • Sport, breathable, easy-to-dry, thin trekking T-shirts (short sleeve)
  • Sport, breathable, easy-to-dry, thin trekking T-shirts (long sleeve)


  • Hiking thermal/Gore-Tex boots
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sandals (preferred) or flip-flops
  • Running/gym/sport shoes/trainers
  • Thermal/wool socks
  • Medium-thick warm socks
  • Low cut city/sports socks
  • Thin sport, breathing liner socks
  • Gaiters


  • Day pack with cover
  • Duffel bag with cover
  • Small lock / safety net for the duffel bag
  • Hiking bag with cover – 30L (rented)
  • Dry bags/pum sacks/compression bags
  • Zip lock bags


  • Fleece or thermal balaclava
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Cap
  • Thin beanie
  • Thick beanie
  • Neck Band/Warmer/Scarf/Buff


  • Trekking towel
  • Swimming shorts
  • Goggles

Cooking set

  • Alpine knife set
  • Thermal flask
  • Water bottle or camel bag Water Bag/Hydration Bladder (3L)
  • Energy oat bars
  • Nuts mix
  • Plates and cups
  • Spoons, forks

Electronic equipment

  • Cell phone
  • Ear phones
  • Cell phone flash card/USB connector
  • Flash cards
  • GoPro
  • GoPro head strap
  • Memory cards
  • Power banks with solar panel of bigger size
  • Power banks of smaller size
  • Charger for the phones
  • Spare batteries for the head lamp
  • Head lamp/torch
  • Kindle
  • Laptop with a charger
  • Waterproof cover for the laptop


  • Wound desinfection spray
  • Pain oil
  • Maleron
  • Acetazolamide/diamox or nifedipin 10 (recommended dose: twice a day)
  • Paracet (twice a day)
  • Tramadol
  • Valoid (nausea/vomiting) or Cinnarizin 20/40 (travel disease, 3 times a day)
  • Imodium (diarrohea one tablet every 4 hours)
  • Antibiotika
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Angina medicine
  • Magnesium
  • Pain reliever for sun burns
  • Nontransparent medical plaster
  • Transparent medical plaster
  • Cut plasters (of different sizes, waterproof)
  • Blister plaster (of different sizes)
  • Duck tape
  • Fenihydrocort (against the mosquito bites)
  • Dukoral against Cholera (1 bottle in a week, 2 weeks prior to the departure)


  • Paper napkins
  • Acne medication
  • Dry eye medication
  • Hiking soap
  • Small cosmetic mirror
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shaving razor
  • Shaving gel
  • Shower cap
  • Small shampoo
  • Small shower gel
  • Small hair balsam
  • Small body cream
  • Daily contact lenses
  • Facial cream
  • Face sun cream (50+) 1 small and 1 large
  • Body sun cream (20+) 1 small and 1 large
  • Lip balm with UV protection
  • Pee bottle
  • Wet baby wipes
  • Water purification tablets
  • Mosquito/insect repellent with high deet (Nobite, Anti Brumm Forte, Care Plus) or Picaridin/Bayrepel (Autan Active)
  • Washing powder/solution for clothes – 100ml
  • Alcohol for desinfection
  • Small empty spray bottles for travel

City clothes

  • City T-shirts
  • City shirts
  • City trousers
  • City shoes
  • City sunglasses

Valuables and documents

  • Cash
  • Passports + copy
  • Wallet
  • Credit cards
  • Insurance card
  • Driving license
  • Student card
  • Airline miles collecting card
  • Keys
  • Residence cards or visas + copies
  • Air ticket bookings
  • Vaccination book
  • Hotel bookings
  • Passport-size pictures

Sleeping stuff

  • Ear plugs
  • Sleeping eye mask
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping Bag liner out of silk
  • Sleeping mat
  • Inflatable air pillow


  • Tent
  • Chair foldable
  • Walking sticks/poles (adjustable)
  • Rainbow flag
  • Country flags
  • Silica gel
  • Self defense pepper spray
  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Paper note book

In fact, anyone can rent absolutely everything in rental places in Terskol, a closest village to Elbrus. They have it all: from ice axes to jackets, however, the quality of rented equipment was not the best. So we would recommend to bring it all with you unless you want to travel light. We heard that there are always people who come to Elbrus with no gear/clothes at all and rent or buy everything at Terksol.

In the above-mentioned list we had almost everything except for the items that are marked as rented. If you have a very good warm core jacket (like those huge polar ones that make you feel like a fat ball), take it! My mistake was to underestimate how cold it gets up there on the top. Also, I would suggest to wear two-three layers of wool socks and to buy layered mountaineering shoes (you really need proper ones: normal hiking boots will kill your toes). Even with my good mountaineering shoes,I felt that my toes are freezing and I needed to play an imaginary piano with them to keep them warm all the time.

Conclusion: invest in the best mountaineering shoes possible and take the warmest jacket you can get!

I think that it makes sense also to buy your own hiking poles. They really ease your hike especially under a strong wind and a huge backpack weight. We rented our poles and they were of a bad quality. It took some time to properly adjust them, but even in that condition they helped us to walk faster and safer.

The other important thing: do not rent out the tent. Our guide had his own tent that we used, but it was not the best one with some water coming in from corners. This can absolutely ruin your hiking experience and we had luck that it did not rain that much. Otherwise we would be soaked in wet sleeping bags at night.

In general, I would again repeat that it is better to invest and buy your own high-quality equipment than blaming yourself for bad clothes you wear on the way to the summit.

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