Whether your bag has been fully packed for weeks or if you haven’t yet started gear shopping, we are sure you may have thought of some questions about what to bring on your course with Dragons. The key to smart packing is: simplicity, packability, versatility, and light weight equipment.
Simplicity means only bringing what you need. The packing list (which you can find in your Course Prep Manual, pg 26) was designed specifically for our Spring 2021 itinerary, and we think it’s quite thorough. Please read it carefully and stick to it. It should have all the answers you need. And, if you’re thinking about bringing something extra, we advise you to take it out.
Packability means bringing items that are not bulky. This will especially come into play when we’re backpacking—in addition to your own gear, you’ll need to fit group gear like a pot and stove and up to 10 days worth of food into your backpack. If you’ve chosen a sleeping bag that occupies half the backpack, we urge you to reexamine.
Versatility means avoiding items that you are only going to use once. Look through your gear and figure out items that serve a similar purpose, then eliminate the less necessary item. (i.e. a rain jacket could act as a wind jacket as long as it fits over your warm layers, a foam sleeping pad can also be a sitting pad for around camp)
Light weight is our ideal for backpacking, and it does not always mean expensive and fancy gear. It’s easy to build a heavy backpack by not knowing how much your items weigh. As many backpackers say, “every ounce counts” and a series of small items will add up to feeling like a big item in your bag. While you do not need to weigh each item you are packing (though you totally can!), we encourage you to stay aware of the weight of what you are choosing.
We have compiled a supplementary list to the extensive packing list found in your Course Preparation Manual. We hope to highlight a few more items that you may find helpful and to clarify features on some of the items already found on the packing list. While we want you to pack light and not bring any unnecessary items, we also want to make sure you are comfortable and happy throughout the semester.
Being prepared for the weather and climate:
Toiletries: pack small sizes of everything! They will take up less space and you can refill as you go. It is common for groups of students to get together to buy a big bottle of shampoo, etc so everyone can fill up their smaller bottles. Another option is to buy shampoo bars, conditioner bars, etc. They take up less space, reduce the likelihood of spilling in your bag, and are more environmentally friendly! Win, win, win!
Make sure you know how to use your gear: When you’re new to backpacking or travel, it can feel overwhelming to learn how to use all of your gear. We want to highlight here some of the most important items to know how to use before arriving on course:
Final notes on other things to bring:
A couple things to not bring:
Used or borrowed: Buying new gear can be expensive and use a lot of non-renewable resources. While some items are important to have fit well to your body (i.e. backpacks, boots, etc) and may require being purchased new, we encourage you to consider used or borrowed gear for other items when possible! Check out thrift stores, used gear shops and websites, talk to friends about items they can lend, etc. Look for at our Yak post on discounted gear resources for more!
Hopefully all these thoughts have answered many of your questions. If this hasn’t (or if it’s created even more questions!!) please reach out to any of us instructors to ask questions or gain clarifications. We are here to support you and that starts with feeling prepared.
Your Instructor Team