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Hiking difficulty, gear and tips to maximize the fun

Updated: 7 days ago

One of the best things when it come to hiking is that it's one of the most accessible outdoor activities on the planet. There's no minimum distance that constitutes a hike, so it's a very personal experience and open to anyone to take part in.

It's important to come prepared and know what you're getting into when you go hiking for the first time so you can have fun as well as the people around you.

Here's a few quick tips that will help you have a great experience. You'll find a gear list below.

1. Expectations: "There's no professional guide, you're responsible for your own choices"

Expats in Ticino is an open community, all the activities are self-organized by passionate people like you. There's no certified guide that's going to teach you or help you during the hike. Members of the community will openly share details before every self-organized hike. No one (not even the organizer) is responsible for the choices you make before and during the hike. Be sure you know the inherited risks and come prepared so we can all have a good time together.

2. Difficulty: "The fun only comes out if you know your limits"

Hiking is a personal experience. Some people hike non stop for hours and others like to take pics and mostly go downhill. It's ok! Read carefully all the info before the hike and familiarize yourself with the SAC difficulty scale. Here's quick overview of the hike difficulties we follow.





An easy hike. Up to 2 hours and 300m of positive elevation gain. Great for almost any fitness level.

Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for most skill levels. Corresponds approx. to the SAC T1 difficulty.

A medium difficulty hike. Around 4-5 hours and 700m of positive elevation gain. Requires good fitness, hiking boots and sure-footedness. Mostly accessible paths. Corresponds approx. to SAC T2 - T3 difficulty.

A hard hike. Around 6-7 hours long or 1200m of positive elevation gain. Requires great fitness and hiking experience. Small sections can be exposed. Corresponds approx. to SAC T3 - T4 difficulty.

An extremely challenging hike. Up to 8 hours long or more than 1400m of positive elevation gain. Requires alpine experience and absence of vertigo. Pathfinding might be needed. Corresponds approx. to SAC T4 - T6 difficulty.

Note: the categories above don't precisely match the difficulty scale provided by the Komoot app

3. Check the plan: "Be on time and come prepared"

Always check the weather (including avalanche risk in winter) before any hike. Sometimes we'll do activities requiring additional gear (e.g snowshoeing or winter walking). Make sure you rent the gear before the hike starts. You don't want risk being late and then have to run to the rental to get the gear too.

4. Gear list: "The essentials for every hike"

Below is a list of things that are essential for your hike independently of the season or the difficulty of the trail.

  • Food: Always pack lunch and bring snacks (energy bars or nuts) even if you know there will be a hut somewhere on the way

  • Water: Bring always water. Here's a rule of thumb (Easy ~1l, Medium ~2l, Hard 2l+)

  • Extra clothes: Always a rain jacket, a change of socks or t-shirt and a warm layer

  • Backpack: a 25l backpack should be more than enough

  • Navigation: map, compass or a digital app on your phone like Komoot or SwissTopo

  • Sun protection: sunglasses, sun-protective clothes or sunscreen

  • Headlamp: just in case it gets dark

  • Micro-spikes: Very important as some trails can be icy until spring

  • Snowshoes: Optional although highly suggested in winter especially at high altitudes

  • First aid: including foot care and insect repellent (as needed)

Need more info? Check out the Swiss tourism office article on the topic.

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