What You'll Need / What You'll Want

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A prepared hiker/climber/skier is a happy hiker/climber/skier. Here you'll find recommendations of what you should have with you at all times in the mountains.

You'll also find some ideas for non-essential items that will make your mountain experiences more enjoyable.

What you’ll need in summer…

  • Water
  • Food
  • Raingear
  • Technical, “moisture wicking” base layer (top and bottom)
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Flashlight/headlamp and extra batteries
  • Signal mirror
  • Whistle
  • Nylon cord (at least 50 feet, parachute chord is very strong and light)
  • Basic first aid supplies
  • Ultralight emergency space blanket
  • Matches in waterproof container and firestarter
  • Emergency food rations
  • Knife
  • Sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses)
  • A mid/insulating layer of clothing
  • Lightweight gloves and hat
  • a backpack (preferably a light, technical hydration pack)
  • Helmet for routes rated class 3 and up

This may seem like a long and daunting list, but most of these items
are lightweight can be obtained inexpensively at...

Sierra Trading Post

It is equally important to know how to use any safety gear that you carry. This is especially applicable to the map and compass and your basic first aid kit. Make sure and check out our safety page as well. Read through the above list again, taking note that with all this stuff you are prepared to:

  • Weather storms and cold mountain temperatures
  • Find your way if you get lost
  • Survive an unplanned night out
  • Treat non-critical injuries and sicknesses
  • Signal for help to someone looking for you

Please be aware that the above are the basic essentials for summer conditions. For winter outings, you’ll need a lot more. In addition to all of the stuff on the above list you’ll need...

  • More water or a way to melt snow (stove, fuel, pot)
  • Expedition weight, technical, wicking base layer
  • Down or fleece insulating layer
  • Waterproof/stormproof outer shell and pants
  • Layering system of hats including a thin microfleece hat that fits under a helmet, a warm wool or synthetic hat and the hood of your parka/shell
  • Layering system of gloves/mitts
  • At least one extra pair of socks
  • Mountaineering/ski boots (plastic, composite or heavy duty leather)
  • Snowshoes or backcountry skis or split board
  • Goggles
  • Facemask/balaclava
  • Gaiters
  • A midsize, technical alpine backpack

The knowledge of and the ability to use the all of the following items are of the utmost importance. It is a lot of gear and it will be a waste of money if you don’t take the time to learn to use it.

For snow climbing, you’ll want to add…

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Light alpine harness
  • Helmet
  • Avalanche transceiver
  • Shovel
  • Probe

The correct and safe use of the above mentioned equipment requires instruction, practice and cumulative experience. If you are a beginner, please travel with and learn from experienced partners or seek professional instruction. The stakes are high but there is a lot you can do to manage the risks.

For multi-day trips and camping, you’ll want…

Some non-essential items that could enhance your journey …

  • GPS
  • titanium coffee press (for those who require cafeine and low weight)
  • Sun shower or modified nalgene bottle cap modified for use as shower
  • two way radios
  • MP3 player
  • a second stove for groups of 3 or more
  • some climbing gear (carabiners and webbing) is great for orginizing camp
  • Personal Locator Beacon

There are excellent choices for all the above gear at...

Free Shipping on Orders over $50

and make sure and visit our Safety page and our Gear Guide as well

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