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Suggested equipment list

The packing list below is designed to suggest items that will make your trip safe and enjoyable. The objective is to make sure that you are protected from the elements while concurrently minimizing pack weight. Each trip requires a slightly different set of equipment.

Obtaining Equipment

The list may seem long, daunting and expensive. But don't let that dissuade you. We may be able to suggest alternate options. For example, you may be able to borrow some equipment from friends, rent certain items from an outdoor retailer or even obtain equipment via a Facebook post.

Equipment Rental

You can rent top notch quality gear for reasonable prices from Traverse Outfitters (discount given for mentioning Fatpacking), Lower Gear or Outdoors Geek. We may even be able to provide you some of the equipment for a nominal charge (details)

One more possibility

We may be able to provide certain major equipment for you for about $100 that goes primarily to cover shipping costs (although people do sometimes break our stuff).

We are not in the gear business so our stock is unpredictable and not necessarily ideal for your needs but it will do the job.

Possible Option

We may be able to provide certain major equipment for you for about $100 that goes primarily to cover shipping costs (although people sometimes break or wear down our stuff so it costs more).

We are not in the gear business so our stock is unpredictable and not necessarily ideal for your needs but they will do the job.

The Optional Column

The "Optional?" column means that you can get along without the item, but it still might be a really nice thing to have along on the trip. For example, if you forego Glove Liners and it happens to get really cold, you could put socks on your hands and stay reasonably warm, or you could just suck it up and have cold hands for the day.

Share?

The "Share" column means that the entire group should have this item, but that not every individual needs to.

For example, it's a lot of extra weight for 10 people to each carry a big tube of sunblock. 4 people could bring sun block and share theirs while using somebody else's bug repellant.

The Share Column

The "Share" column means that the entire group should have this item, but that not every individual needs to. For example, it's a lot of extra weight for 10 people to each carry a big tube of sunblock. 4 people could bring sun block and share theirs while using somebody else's bug repellant.

Where to Shop

Your local outfitting store is best. However, here are some national retailers that have an online presence and likely have a store near you.


Equipment list for Shenandoah NP, VA, May 2015     Back to top

    Here is the equipment list. You can also download this list as a spreadsheet.

CategoryItemToCarrySuggestedUseDetailedDescriptionOfTheEquipmentOptional?CanProvide?Share
Major Gear1 over 4000 Cu In BackpackFor carrying all your stuff aroundIt's a bonus if the pack comes with a detachable day-pack or hip pack, but it's certainly not necessary   
Major Gear1 Pair Hiking PolesTo help stabilize you when you hikeMany people think poles are superfluous, but they transfer some of the weight from your legs to your upper body. Old ski poles are OK, but they're hard to fit on a plane like retractable hiking poles. Don't buy the cheapest poles, but generally the 2nd cheapest is fine. Yes 
Major Gear1 Rated to 30 degrees Sleeping BagTo sleep inDo not bring a big bulky, heavy bag weighing 5 pounds or more. Make sure it fits in the bottom compartment of your pack.   
Major Gear1 Sleeping PadTo put under your sleeping bagInflatables are nice because they have greater loft and insulate you better, but in desert areas they can puncture. Non-inflatables are indestructable and can sometimes weigh less than inflatables.   
Major Gear1 TentTo sleep inMake sure your tent weighs under 5 pounds. Most people prefer their own tents, however tent sharing cuts down on weight carried. A coffin sized tent will reduce your weight, but will also be much less comfortable than a 2 person tent, which weighs much more and has a larger footprint. Some campsites are small, so a bunch of large tents won't always fit there.  Yes
Major Gear1-3 Total Capacity of 1 Gallon Water ContainersKeep hydratedWe highly recommend a Platypus, Camelbak, or similar bladder with a drinking tube to allow you to drink without stopping. You can have several bladders or a reservoir like a Nalgene bottle. If you're on a budget, used water/soda bottles work great.   
Clothing1-2 BandannaKeeps your hair out of the way, but is multi-purpose. Pot Holder, Face Washer, First Aid, etc. Yes  
Clothing1 Camp shoesTo wear in camp and for water crossingsSandals, Tevas, Chacos, Crocs, Keen.   
Clothing1 Fleece (or Sweater)To keep warmThis is a must, even in warm destinations   
Clothing1 Glove LinersKeeps your hands warmThe more water resistant the better. While most trips are scheduled around warm weather, most any trip can get cold enough, at least at times, to warrant gloves. On Yosemite Trip, bring gloves with rubber grippy dots for cables on Half Dome .Yes  
Clothing1 Hat, Wide BrimKeep sun and rain out of eyes.Do not come to the desert without a wide brimmed hat!Yes  
Clothing1 Hat, wool or fleeceKeeps your head warmIn 50 degree weather, this seems silly, but if you're outside in it for 6 hours, you need the warmth.   
Clothing1 Hiking Pants, Long Make sure they're quick-dry. No jeans!   
Clothing1 Hiking Pants, Short Make sure they're quick-dry. No cotton!   
Clothing1 Hiking Shirt, Long Sleeve Make sure they're quick-dry. No cotton!   
Clothing1 Hiking Shirt, Short Sleeve Make sure they're quick-dry. No cotton!   
Clothing1 light or mid weight Long Johns, BottomTo sleep in or use as a base layer in extreme weatherSilk, Polypro or Bergalene   
Clothing1 light or mid weight Long Johns, TopTo sleep in or use as a base layer in extreme weatherSilk, Polypro or Bergalene   
Clothing1 Rain PantsTo keep dry    
Clothing1 Rain Shell, Waterproof BreathableTo keep dryGore-Tex, for example. Also good at repelling wind. NO PONCHOS! And yes, even in the desert!   
Clothing2-4 Pair SocksKeep feet warm, dry, and blister freeMost people use 1 layer systems, but some like 2 layers with an inner sock liner   
Clothing1 Sturdy Hiking BootsTo hike in. Make sure they are broken in.Lightweight hikers are OK if they have sufficient ankle support. Proper fit is more important than brand.   
Clothing2-4 Underwear Silk is top of the line, but any wicking quick dry synthetic will do   
Personal Effects1 BowlEat out of itMetal bowls discouraged. They're heavy and conduct heat a little too well.   
Personal Effects1 Contact Lens Set-upTo See Yes  
Personal Effects1 CupDrink out of itFor serious weight-savers, cup can double as bowl.   
Personal Effects1 Duct TapeAlmost anything.Don't need a whole roll but bring more than you think you'll need. You an wrap about 25 feet around a hiking poleYes Yes
Personal Effects2 Pair Ear PlugsCut down on noise from nearby snorersThey are very lightweightYes  
Personal Effects1 GlassesTo See Yes  
Personal Effects1-2 Hair ClipsKeeps long hair in check Yes  
Personal Effects1 Hand SanitizerKeep germ freeThis is the best way to prevent transmission of disease   
Personal Effects1 HeadlampSee at nightLED lamps will run all week on 1 set of batteries. If you have this, there is NO NEED for a flashlight   
Personal Effects1 Insect RepellentKeeps bugs awayDo not bother with repellents that are less than 30% deet. They will be ineffective for all but the most benign mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums. Deet is a strong, toxic chemical, so be careful with its application.Yes Yes
Personal Effects1 Medications     
Personal Effects1 Mosquito HeadnetKeeps bugs away Yes  
Personal Effects1 Pack TowelDry yourself or your equipmentUse a quick-dry pack towel or chamois   
Personal Effects1 Pocket KnifeManyWhile Leathermans can be very useful, they can also be very heavy  Yes
Personal Effects2 Ponytail HoldersKeeps long hair in check Yes  
Personal Effects1 $100 Some Cash, a Credit Card, Health Ins Card and IDCan be useful in some emergenciesLeave the wallet and its contents with your other stuff   
Personal Effects1 Spoon or SporkEat with itLexan is best, plastic or titanium is OK   
Personal Effects1-4 Stuff SacksPut clothes inLighweight stuff sacks are not only good for compartmentalizing items, keeping them clean and dry. Also can be used as a pillow when stuffed.Yes  
Personal Effects1 SunglassesAdditional sun protection to wide brimmed hat. Also helps cut glare in snow fields.Don't bring your best designer sunglassesYes  
Personal Effects1 SunscreenSun ProtectionSPF 15 or greaterYes Yes
Personal Effects1 Talcum PowderDries wet skinBring small containerYes Yes
Personal Effects1 Toilet PaperPut in a plastic Ziploc1 roll per week is generallly plenty   
Personal Effects1 Toothbrush and ToothpasteBrushing TeethBring travel sized toothpaste, 2 oz or less   
Personal Effects2-5 Trash BagsMulti-Use. For trash, keeping things dry, covering your pack, etc.An assortment is good. A few Ziploc sized bags, a few kitchen sized and a few leaf sized bagsYes  
Personal Effects1 Vaseline, Glide or LubricantReduces friction and chafingBring small containersYes Yes
Optional20-30 Baby WipesHygieneBaby wipes are heavy and must be carried out after you use them, however many people use them to feel clean. On some trips, we can burn used ones.Yes  
Optional1 CameraChronicle your adventure Yes  
Optional2-4 CarabinersClipping items to your pack YesYes 
Optional1 DeodorantKeeps you dry and sweet smellingSome people like bringing this, but it's totally unnecessary.Yes  
Optional1 Inflatable Pillow / Soft Stuff SackFor a comfy sleepTry to avoid bulky or heavy ones. Clothing can be put in the soft stuff sack to make a pillow. Many sleeping bags have an opening in the hood where you can stuff clothing under your head.Yes  
Optional1 JournalA 20th century blogging deviceCan use for a firestarter in an emergency.Yes  
Optional1 Lightweight Reading MaterialTo read during down timeBesides the obvious, sometimes when we're tent bound by rain, it's nice to have something to read.Yes  
Optional1 MirrorUse this to signal rescuers if lostYou can also use it to look at yourself. Also can be used for contacts / hygiene.Yes  
Optional1 PenJournaling, exchanging information, emergency use Yes  
Optional1 Personal First Aid KitFoot care, bandages, etc.Guides carry one for the group, but sometimes it's easier to treat your own minor wounds.Yes  
Optional2 StrapsLashing items to your pack YesYes 
Optional1 WhistleUse if lostThree short blasts is a distress signal. Whistles often have limited rangeYes  

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