Wow. Extensive required gear list for OLT in Boston.

8:01 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm taking an outdoor leadership training course next month that meets in Boston, and just received the list of gear required for the course. It's probably the most extensive list of gear I've ever encountered personally for a backpacking trip. I'm used to packing really, really light on trips, but apparently they are pretty steadfast in requiring all of these items.

They say that if you aren't able to bring certain items, they can provide you with them from their gear warehouse. I'm just not sure how much I trust used gear for safety and quality reasons. (Plus some of them like underwear and socks I definitely don't want used versions of, haha).

But like I said, I go really light weight, and this seems like it is going to be a metric crap ton of gear, haha.

I was looking for some advice as to whether or not certain items would be safe to borrow from them, and also some advice on potentially getting some new gear for the trip. It's frustrating that I'm required to have all this when I'm probably not going to use it again. (They estimate our packs will be 40 pounds. I'm used to about 20.) Also keep in mind they aren't allowing any cotton clothing.

It's for five days in the White Mountains.

1. One pair of waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support (I've never worn hiking boots - only trail runners. Is borrowing boots from them a bad idea? Especially with no chance of breaking them in?
2. At least three pairs of wool socks (I have more than this, but they are all low-cut, because once again, I don't wear boots, just trail runners. So there's some more stuff to buy haha.)
3. Two sets of wool or synthetic long underwear. (I don't own any long underwear. Once again, I pack very minimally and don't get cold easily)
4. One pair of  fleece pants (Now when most people think of fleece, what they are actually thinking of is 80% cotton and 20% polyester. Do you think they mean 0% cotton for fleece pants? If so, there's another 50 bucks, haha.
5. Two insulating layers for upper body - fleece or wool jackets or sweatshirts (same questions/issues as above)
6. Waterproof rain gear (jacket and pants, I have these already)
7. Wool or fleece hat (have this already)
8. Gloves (have these already)
9. Two wide-mouthed one quart nalgenes (I have these, though I prefer plastic for its lighter overall weight).

10. Sneakers to wear in camp (I have to bring both boots and sneakers? Ugh.)
11. Several pairs of synthetic underwear (How hard is this to find, and how cheap/expensive?)
12. two synthetic t-shirts (same question as before - does this mean 0% cotton?)
13. hiking shorts (have these)
14. headlamp or flashlight (have these)
15. mug, bowl and spoon (I usually don't cook over the fire, and use sticks for utensils, so I'll have to grab some of these)
16. two bandannas (No prob)
17. two large heavy duty trash bags (no prob)
18. sunglasses (really? We are required to bring sunglasses?)
19. watch (I've never worn a watch)

And anything else we want to bring is optional. They will provide the packs, bedrolls, sleeping bags, stoves, and other essentials.

It's for five days in the White Mountains. Does this seem like a lot of stuff to anyone else? It's going to be weird carrying twice as much gear as I normally do. And if I don't want to borrow used equipment from them, I guess I will have to be ready to drop $300-400 on some new gear.

Does anyone have any advice on this list overall or on any part in particular? It's very overwhelming/frustrating to take this all in when I am used to going so minimalist everywhere. Thanks.

9:02 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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1. You most likely will be sorry if you borrow boot's.  You might get lucky but I sure would not count on that.  Boots are the hardest fit IMHO regarding outdoor gear.  Sucks to be you if you get the boot thing wrong.  I'd call the outdoor leadership training course and have them clarify what they want. Then check for boots that are on sale.  You should be able to get pair of light weight high top boots on sale for cheap if your only going to use them for the weekend.

2.Pick up some high cut wool socks.

3.I guess if you are forced to bring long underwear but know you won't wear them just borrow there's and don't wear them.  They can make you hump them they can't make you wear them.

4.I do think they mean 0% cotton for fleece pants?  I would myself, have no problem using a pair that they provide.

5.Same as 4.

11. Several pairs of synthetic underwear. Easy to find but can be a bit pricy depending on the brand.  Try and find some on sale now that the weather is getting warm.  Can be bought of of EBay for much cheaper than the store.

12. two synthetic t-shirts 0% cotton.  Should be able to pick these up at Walmart, Target, K-mart type of stores.

15. mug, bowl and spoon  If you don't want to use your good pots/pans over the camp fire pick up a cheap set of aluminum, check you local second hand stores, Craigslist and EBay.  Grab a spoon from a second hand store for $.10

18. sunglasses.  You didn't know that you can get kicked out of the back country for not having sunglasses.  Those new pesky Goverment regualtions ya know ;-}>.  If you know that you will not use them just borrow their's or get a super cheap pair at you local second hand store.  One way to get free cheap sunglasses is to go to a business such as a resturaunt and ask if they have any sunglasses that have been in the lost and found box for a long time.

19. watch (I've never worn a watch).  I'm assuming your cell wiill have the  time and or,  get a cheapy watch at your local second hand store or Walmart.  I've seen them for a cheap as $4.99

Most of all don't spend a bunch of money on stuff you would nto normally use.  Just my thoughts on the matter


9:33 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Finding packed snow and ice is not out of the question in the whites in June. I've skiied there in June. So they probably want you to have a good boot for that reason. Plus the terrain is Rugged. A boot with a good shank will give you more stability. If you or a member of your group get into trouble on that steep granite, those boots could be priceless.

+1 on Apemans recommendations.

11:54 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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the outdoor store is going to like you

12:20 a.m. on May 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Just a bit to add.....I wouldn't be overly invested in doing things the way you always have if you are looking for this type of training. It can assist you in being more tuned in to the average other hiker.

The boots: Trail shoes can be fine...but they gotta also ensure that the group is not bogged down by its parts. By that I mean that injury due to heavy pack and no ankle support could impact the whole group. But don't borrow them. Perhaps something similar to your trail shoe but with a tall ankle shaft would be ok since I assume you don;t have a lot of time to try out boots before your trip.

0 cotton is 0 cotton. Nobody wants you to have cotton any more. Again, getting rained on with garments that do not dry well can impact the whole group.

11:58 a.m. on May 12, 2012 (EDT)
denis daly
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Although I would call into question some of the gear.They have required the gear because they found it worked for their course.I agree with apeman's suggestions.

4:25 p.m. on May 14, 2012 (EDT)
andrew f. @leadbelly2550
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for the most part, i can't argue with that list.  most of it is common sense.  it particularly makes sense in the context of outdoor leadership, where they are providing training for people who may someday lead others (often novices) on hikes and trips, novices who should be more concerned about being fully prepared than with cutting pack weight.   

a few specific thoughts:

-i agree with the above, don't borrow boots.  with a 40 pound backpack & the typical terrain in the Whites, you might appreciate a more robust & supportive shoe anyway.  also, get socks you like - borrowing socks you might not like could lead to blisters & ruin your trip. 

you could ask whether your existing trail shoes plus short gaiters is an option.  Integral Designs makes great short eVent gaiters that only cost 20-30 bucks.  i suspect they will tell you that you need better support and protection from rocky trails than you get from a trail runner. 

-fleece means polarfleece, no cotton.  for a lot of the clothing, except for underwear, i wouldn't hesitate to borrow from the program or from friends.  shirts, fleece jackets/pants, can all be washed.  for 5 days, you can also be fine with a borrowed sleeping bag and backpack, if the pack is reasonably adjustable.  might not be perfect, but you don't need perfect for a 5 day outing. 

-they want separate footwear in camp so you can let your boots air out and give your feet a break.  ask them if they are OK with alternatives if you want, they might not care.  crocs, fivefingers, and other alternatives don't weigh very much. 

-sunglasses and a watch weigh and cost very little.  even if you don't use them, why not take them?

-this obviously isn't a complete list.  no hat for sun protection, no sunblock, no bug repellent, no essentials (knife, matches, and so on).   

4:58 p.m. on May 14, 2012 (EDT)
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This trip is in the White Mountains, which bear the name legitimately. Freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and hurricane force winds are possible and have been experienced there in the middle of Summer. This is not soley due to the elevation, or the latitude, but a combination of those two coupled with the fact that the Jet Stream drops down right on top of the Whites and inflicts the harshest weather on earth. Literally. 

A bare bones UL setup isn't advisable, and can get you killed there. 

I would only personally adjust or advise adjusting that list slightly, and think it is pretty spot on. 

As far as asking about clothing material, cotton is just a bad idea most of the time. Cotton absorbs tons of water and retains it. This promotes skin rashes, chaffing, B.O., athletes foot/jock itch, and does not allow you to control your insulation and effective temperature control. 

In short: cotton + perspiration/precipitation + dropping temperature & wind = a hypothermic and potentially fatal situation.  

Synthetic fleece both shirts and pants, excellent quality ones can be purchased cheap from army surplus outlets.

Synthetic underwear can be sourced from any athletic store, online, and probably Walmart, too.  

6:51 p.m. on May 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Have you asked if this list is a guideline or is it a mandate?

You do not mention what weather you away with a 20' pack, or what weather your trip will be experiencing, but I imagine you don't do cold weather, and that the trip intends to push yout comfort zone in more ways than pack weight. 

Rather than whine about their list, just go along.  Of course you are free to ask why specific requirements (I never wear synthetic underwear and have been in very cold climates), but don't set yourself up to be made an example of by an instructor who is annoyed by your challenges.  Regardless I may have different practices, I abide by the prerogatives of trip organizers when I sign on to their agenda.  When you consider part of any leadership training includes learning to accept structure and follow directives, bucking up to their list is even more imperative.


9:06 a.m. on May 15, 2012 (EDT)
Robert Rowe
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Are you certain you have ample hiking / camping / backpacking experience to engage in "leadership"?

No harm in learning as much as possible.

As you do not have several fairly significant pieces of kit / gear, I sense your background may be "light" (?).

BTW -- Contrary to popular 'lore', there ARE cotton items that are good to use.   I am NOT going into THAT here and now, however. 

                                   ~ r2 ~

May 27, 2020
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