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Packing Recommendations

Dear Dragons of the Rio Grande,

Maybe you’ve had your pack ready to go and parked by your front door for three weeks already. Perhaps you were planning a frantic run to your local gear shop at 9pm on September 14th. Either way, you might have some questions!

For a comprehensive packing list, take a look at page 27 in your Course Preparation Manual. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know, but there are few important points we want to reiterate.

The first is a reminder that all your gear should be light and simple. We’re doing a lot of different activities over the course of the semester. We will also be frequently on the move and it’s no fun to be hauling your day pack around on your chest, stuffed to the brim with everything that didn’t fit in your larger bag! The packing list in your CPM is very comprehensive. Please don’t bring more (or less!) than suggested there. Do your best to balance cost and weight considerations when shopping and reach out if you have any questions.

Second, it will be getting cold. We’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors and in the backcountry as fall creeps into winter, so make sure you’ve packed the recommended layers and aren’t skimping on warmth when checking out sleeping bags or trying to decide which coat to bring.

Q: Will I have to carry all of my stuff on our treks?

A: No. We’ll be able to leave town clothes and other non-essentials behind when we’re backpacking. That being said, make sure that all of your gear fits neatly into your pack without undue strain. When we’re moving around, it’s very helpful for you and the whole group to only have one bag to pack and carry. When we trek, the space created by the belongings we leave behind will be used to pack food and group gear. Do a quick test and load up your pack with your trekking gear and make sure there’s some room to spare!

Q: How much should my trekking gear weigh?

A: That will depend a little bit on the gear choices you make and your own comfort level. A good rule of thumb that many backpackers use is that your total pack weight (with food and water) should not be more than ¼ to ⅓ of your body weight. Personally I recommend trying to make sure your base weight (weight without food and water) is no more than 20lbs. or so. If you’re having trouble, reach out and we’ll help you with a “shake down”!

Questions? The gear list can be daunting! If you have any questions, please reach out to us over email or here on the Yak Board.

Wishing you all well,

Your instructors