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. 

Check List: Upper Body Clothing

INSULATING ITEMS: These garments are essential pieces that will provide extra warmth during backcountry travel. Both insulating pieces should comfortably fit under rain jacket and have a hood.

  • 1 light-weight synthetic fill jacket with hood - to keep you warm when you are active on cold days (Look for fills such as Polarguard 3D, Primaloft, or 3M Hollowfil); Staff Favorites: Black Diamond First Light Hoody, Patagonia Micro Puff, Patagonia Nano Puff, or Patagonia Nano-Air. 

  • 1 heavy weight synthetic or down jacket with hood - to keep you warm when not active in camp. Staff favorites: Patagonia Hyper Puff, Patagonia Fitz Roy Down Parka, Black Diamond Stance Belay Parka, Outdoor Research Perch Belay Parka

  • 1 medium weight fleece jacket or pullover (200 weight fleece) Comfortable, breathes well, insulates when wet. A sufficiently warm wool or wool/synthetic sweater may be substituted - if in doubt, bring two sweaters. Having a hood is preferred, but not required for this item. 

    UPPER BODY CONTINUED            

  • 1 unlined nylon windbreaker (examples: Patagonia Houdini, BD Alpine Start, Outdoor Research Tantrum II)
  • 1 lightweight synthetic long underwear tops
  • 2 medium weight synthetic long underwear top
  • 1-2 long-sleeved, light colored, loose fitting, (non-cotton or cotton/poly blend) button-up shirts with collars – for sun and bug protection. 
  • 3 synthetic t-shirts
  • 2 cotton t-shirts
  • 3 sport/jog bras (if applicable)


  • 1 synthetic, fleece, or wool beanie hat
  • 1 fleece or synthetic balaclava (looks like a ski mask) to insulate the head and neck
  • 1 wide-brimmed sun hat or baseball cap
  • 3 bandannas (used to shield your head, neck or face from insects and sunburn)
  • 1 bug head net (mesh needs to be small enough to protect against no-see-ums and mosquitoes)
  • 1 pair of glacier compatible sunglasses with side shields (no goggles). At least 97% UV protection; should not allow any light to enter from the sides or below. Glacier glasses are the best option. Good sunglasses are extremely important. Snow travel without them can result in sun burned eyes and temporary snow blindness. Removable side shields make the glasses more versatile during other phases of this course. (Examples: Julbo (Tamang, Camino, Explorer 2.0)
  • Prescription eye wear (if applicable) Bring an extra pair in case of loss or damage. If you have limited vision without your glasses, bring prescription sunglasses or glacier glasses, or bring high quality ski goggles (make sure they block 97% UV) that fit over your glasses.
  • Retainer straps (make sure they fit your glasses tightly and have an adjustable strap)
  • Hard cases to store glasses/goggles


  • 1 pair of medium weight warm fleece gloves
  • 1 pair of lightweight fleece gloves
  • 1 pair of Gore-Tex (or similar) waterproof gloves (required for glacier)


  • Rain Jacket: Three-layer Gore-Tex or similar high quality waterproof breathable jacket with a stormproof hood. Reinforced shoulders will help protect the jacket from the rubbing of your backpack. Examples: Outdoor Research Furio Jacket, Patagonia Triolet, Black Diamond Liquid Point Shell. Other brand to look for are: Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, ArcTeryx, the North Face or Mountain Equipment Co-Op.
  • Rain Pants: Full zip Gore-Tex or similar high-quality waterproof-breathable pants with full side zippers. Look for reinforced knees and seat. The same brands as above are recommended.

If you own a high quality waterproof-breathable jacket and/or pants that are more than a year old, test them to see if they are still waterproof. Wear them over a dark t-shirt and dark underwear with the hood up and stand under your shower for several minutes. Make sure to thoroughly soak the entire jacket and pants, especially around the shoulders. If the items are no longer waterproof, leaks will show on the dark cotton fabric. If this is the case, treat your existing jacket/pants with a waterproofing product (available at many outdoor stores) or purchase a new jacket/pants.