How Many Should Each Participant Bring?
Gear & Explanation
Because we carry all gear and food to our campsite, a backpacking framed backpack is necessary. Your backpack can have an internal or external frame and must have a hip belt.
Many inexpensive sleeping bags are heavy, bulky, and are hard to pack. We recommend mummy-style sleeping bags rated to at least 30 degrees. Three pounds or less is a good weight for a warm sleeping bag.
From inexpensive standard blue sleeping pads to self-inflating therm-a-rests, the purpose of a pad is to insulate your body from the cold ground and provide some amount of comfort. We insist you camp with a sleeping pad on Sure Foot trips.
|Headlamp or Flashlight – check or change batteries before the trip!
Because it frees up your hands, a headlamp is by far preferable to a flashlight when camping and backpacking. Headlamps also weigh less than flashlights.
If your light source has an incandescent or halogen bulb, we recommend that you bring an extra set of batteries because these bulbs deplete batteries quickly. If you are using a device with LEDs, extra batteries are not necessary.
|1 of each
|Cup and/or Bowl & Spoon
We highly recommend a bowl with a snap-on or locking lid. Your bowl can be used as a mug for cocoa or tea, so a cup is not necessary. All of our meals are easily eaten with only a spoon, so a knife and fork are unnecessary.
|One-liter Bottles for Water
Because we purify our water with Polar Pure, wide-mouth bottles are preferred. Used Gatorade or Powerade bottles work as well as high-tech Nalgene or metal Sigg bottles. Camelbaks or other bladder-style water carriers are not as functional and we recommend that you not bring them.
|1 of each
|Toothbrush & Toothpaste (and floss, if you’d like)
We take care of our teeth on Sure Foot trips, so be sure to bring your toothbrush and a travel-sized tube of toothpaste. Though single-use toothbrushes are now sold, we ask that you not bring these as they create more trash.
|1 roll per family
You need not bring a whole roll. Be sure to pack your toilet tissue in a plastic zipper bag.
|Journal & Pen or Pencil
We often journal on Sure Foot trips, and having a writing pad and utensil is an excellent way to remember your adventure. Pack your paper and pen in a plastic zipper bag.
Reading is a good way to pass the time while driving to the trailhead and before falling asleep at night. Hardcovers are too heavy, so bring a paperback! Be sure to pack your book in a plastic zipper bag.
Though we do not require participants to wear boots, your footwear must have a rugged sole. Though running shoes are acceptible, ankle support is preferable. First and foremost, your shoes should be comfortable! Do not wear a brand new pair of shoes or boots on your Sure Foot trip. Break them in beforehand.
Cotton socks get wet and stay wet, causing blisters and cold feet. Wear wool or synthetic socks. At least one pair of thick wool socks is nice to wear at night.
Convertible pants (with zip-off legs)made of nylon or another synthetic material are our favorites because they dry quickly, are durable, and serve as shorts and pants. Other options include jogging pants and other non-cotton athletic pants. Please do not bring cotton sweat pants, as they are heavy, bulky, and absorb water like a sponge.
A bathing suit is a good option for hiking shorts, but any other athletic shorts work well. Pockets are useful.
|Underwear (and sports bras for women)
Though we do not require synthetic underwear, we recommend it.
Non-cotton shirts are a must in cold, wet weather. Since we cannot ensure dry weather, you must have a least one non-cotton shirt to be worn in the rain. Synthetic materials wick moisture away from your body in the summer, keep you warm when wet, and dry quickly.
Though t-shirts are not used for warmth, it is REALLY nice to have a shirt that dries quickly so you don’t have to put on a wet cotton shirt in the cool morning. We recommend that all your short-sleeved shirts be made of a synthetic material.
|Long Underwear or Fleece pants
In the evenings and in cold weather, we must have extra layers of warmth for our legs. Long underwear or fleece pants are the best way to provide this warmth. This requirement may also be fulfilled by layering two or more pairs of pants.
|Long Underwear Top, Fleece, or Wool Sweater
Because our hiking shirt is sweaty at the end of the day, we change into a new shirt at night. This warm layer can be a long underwear top, fleece or wool sweater. By far, we like fleeces best for the protection against cold and wet that they provide.
|Rain Jacket or Poncho
When camping and backpacking, rain jackets are far more useful and durable than ponchos. A rain jacket can be used as an extra warm layer in cold temperatures. Because they are loose-fitting and often poorly made, ponchos tend to rip and tear and provide negligible warmth. If you choose to wear a poncho, please make sure it’s made of thicker plastic and not “garbage bag” material.
|1 of each
|Warm Hat and Sun Hat
We lose most of our body heat through our head–especially when sleeping. Therefore a warm hat is necessary survival and sleep gear. In the summer, though we’ll be under tree cover most of the time, it’s nice to stay protected from the sun with a brimmed hat.
Cold hands are some of the most uncomfortable and debilitating problems on cold backpacking trips, and gloves are an easy way to alleviate this.
|Sandals or Water Shoes
On trips in which we’ll be playing in or crossing water, we may require sandals that strap around your foot and heel or water shoes. These can double as camp shoes.
It sure is nice to stay dry in the rain and waterproof rain pants are a great way to do so.
Though we line our packs with trash bags to protect our gear from rain, an external pack cover is an excellent lightweight piece of gear to carry.
Your Sure Foot guides will be taking many photos during your trip, and you’ll get a CD of all the photos. If you’d like to bring your own camera too, be sure to pack it in a plastic zipper bag. We do not recommend bringing expensive digital cameras, as it is hard to protect them in the woods.
If you’d like to take off your shoes or boots after a long day of hiking, lightweight sandals, flip-flops, or Crocs are good camp shoes. We particularly like Crocs because they are lightweight and protect your toes.
Though Sure Foot provides several knives for use when cooking, if you would like to bring your pocketknife, please do. However, in our experience, knives are easily lost in the woods and you would do well to keep your knife in a zippered pocket of your pants or pack whenever you are not using it.