The Clothing and Gear list is the result of many years of staff and participant feedback. Please read and follow these suggestions and the check list closely. 

Fitting & Breaking In your Hiking & Mountaineering Boots
HIKING BOOTS Proper footwear is essential for your safety and enjoyment. Take the following information with you when shopping for boots. The best boot for our terrain for backpacking courses is described as: 
  • light to medium-weight boot with ankle support.
  • hard rubber sole
  • Waterproof

Do not bring:  

  • tall boots that constrict the calf
  • Timberlands, Doc Martens, or Blundstones 

FITTING YOUR HIKING BOOTS It is essential that your boots fit properly and are comfortable. You are unlikely to judge this walking around a store. Some retailers will allow you to purchase your boots with the understanding that if you wear them indoors for several hours and they do not feel comfortable, you may return them. Fit your boots with the socks you will wear on course. 

  • Test 1: With the boots unlaced and your toes touching the front of the boot, the boot should be large enough to place your forefinger between your heel and the boot’s heel. 
  • Test 2: With the boot laced, your heel must be firmly lodged in the heel cup with very little lift when you walk. 
  • Test 3: The boot should fit snugly around the ball of your foot so that when you twist your foot, it does not move or slip inside the boot.  
  • Test 4: When on a steep incline or tapping the front of your boot against the floor, your toes should not hit the end of the boot. 

BREAKING IN YOUR HIKING BOOTS Begin wearing your boots long before your course starts. Wear them around town and at home as much as possible every day for several weeks. You should put 10+ miles on your boots to break them in, walking on both level and rough terrain. If you start feeling any hot spots, treat them immediately using moleskin to protect against the hiker’s worst enemy: the blister! Be kind to your feet. 

WATERPROOFING YOUR HIKING BOOTS After you are confident your boots fit properly, make sure they are waterproofed. Some boots are already waterproofed when purchased; but if not, follow the sales associate or manufacturer’s recommendations concerning the type of waterproofing to apply.  

INNER SOLE LINERS Inner sole liners can give your feet extra warmth and comfort. If you choose to use an inner sole liner, make sure to wear them when you are fitting your boots. If you try to use them after your boot has been fitted, they may make your boot too small. Examples of inner sole liners include: Spenco Neoprene Liner and Spenco Polysorb Replacement Insole.

PLASTIC MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS North Carolina Outward Bound has a supply of plastic mountaineering boots (Kolfach Degrees) for your use during the Patagonia phase at no extra charge. However, if you have any foot abnormalities, it may make fitting boots to your feet difficult. If you have feet larger than size 14 or any foot abnormalities (bunions, bone spurs, etc.), please contact your Student Services Representative. You may have to purchase your own boots. Make sure to give your boot size to your Student Services Representative.