Summer Adventures Wilderness Explorations

Trip Pack List

Part of the challenge of a backpack trip is carrying a full pack. Another is discovering what is essential and what is not. When starting to pack, first check for detailed weather forecast at NOAA or Weather Underground. Plan and prepare using their forecast and this pack list as a guide. We will let you know if there are any other adjustments to this list based on the weather forecast and trip itinerary.

Every trip pack list we create has essentials that we expect will be needed in the wilderness. Note: Though a lightweight pack can minimize discomfort on the trail, you know your tolerance for other discomforts (such as cold, wet, bugs, etc.) so use your common sense and pack with consideration of your particular needs.

Important Reminder! For outdoor adventures, cotton is rotten! No cotton clothing!

Please read over this list carefully. If an item is not listed, you probably don’t need it!

Loaner Gear: we have gear and clothing available to loan. If obtaining any of this gear is keeping you from participating in a trip, please contact us and we will work to get you everything you need! Also note that consignment and thrift stores can be inexpensive sources of outdoor clothing. 

What to bring to the Pre-Trip Meeting

Bring everything except departure day’s lunch. We will go through packs together and decide if anything is missing or can be eliminated.

Our Goal: A backpack with a base weight (without group gear added) that is less than 18 lbs.  Remember! Packs alone can weigh 3-5 lbs.


Hiking Socks: 2-4 pairs

  • Wool or synthetic (taller than the ankle of your hiking boot)

  • Optional: Hiking sock liners. Some find that sock liners reduce friction and wick moisture, reducing the chance of blisters.

Camp/Water Shoe: 1 pair

  • Close-toed, sturdy, secure to feet, lightweight, and quick drying. These are worn around camp after a day of hiking to give feet a rest. They are also worn while swimming to avoid cuts on feet from debris in water and while entering water. Such cuts could lead to the evacuation or early cancellation of a trip for participants for safety reasons. Examples include: Mesh water shoes, Keens®, Crocs®,or any off brand equivalents. Not appropriate: thin water shoe/socks, jelly sandals, flip-flops, or open-toed sandals.

Hiking/Backpacking Boots: 1 pair

    Above ankle, waterproof boot. Other features to look for:

  • Fit: This is the most important consideration for your boot. A great resource for proper fit is REI’s boot fitting guide here. Also, don’t forget that breaking in a new pair of boots can take as many as two months of consistent use!

  • Ankle Support: Boots that fit above the ankle provide support for your ankle and lower leg and protect your ankles from painful sprains. With heavier loads, above ankle boots help minimize the occurrence of rolling ankles over rough terrain.

  • Materials: Preferred boot material depends on what you will generally use boots for. Leather and Gore-Tex® provide better waterproofing, but are slower to dry. Synthetic materials will dry faster, and generally require shorter break-in periods. Select a boot material that is comfortable for you.

  • Example of brands include: Asolo®, Danner®, Merrill®, Montrail®, Raichle®, and Vasque® are just a few popular brands. Equivalent brands are also acceptable. Not appropriate: tennis shoes, hiking shoes (below ankle), Five-Fingers® (toe shoes), trail runners.


Underwear: 2-3 pair

  • 2 lightweight, wicking (synthetic or wool-blend). Tip: Bring 1 pair. Turn inside out or wash mid-trip. 1 cotton pair for sleeping (if preferred).

Sports Bra: 1 (if needed)

 Long Underwear Top: 1

  • Wicking (synthetic or wool-blend) long underwear bottom and long-sleeve top.

Hiking Bottoms: 1-2 pair

  • Quick-dry, lightweight material

  • Shorts, hiking skirt, or dress are acceptable, but if you bring one of these, you must also bring full length hiking bottoms. Examples include: leggings, hiking pants, athletic shorts, etc..

Warm Pants: 1 pair

  • Warm fleece pants or pair of heavyweight wicking (synthetic or wool-blend) long underwear.

Rain Pants: 1 pair

  • Waterproof and breathable (i.e. No PVC vinyl or rubberized fabric). Must fit over all layers.

Hiking Tops: 2 pair

  • 1 lightweight, wicking (synthetic or wool-blend) short-sleeve shirt.

  • 1 lightweight, wicking (synthetic or wool-blend) long-sleeve sweater or fleece mid-layer.

Jacket: 1

  • Warm, synthetic (ex. fleece) jacket or down jacket. Note: Down is 50% warmer than synthetic and considerably lighter weight and compressible, but more sensitive to moisture.

Rain Coat (with hood): 1

  • Waterproof and breathable (i.e. No PVC vinyl or rubberized fabric). Must fit over all layers.

Hats: 1-2

  • Warm, lightweight hat.

  • Brimmed, lightweight for sun protection (sun hat, visor, or baseball cap).

Gloves: 1 pair

  •  Warm, lightweight (required for advanced trips or high elevation trips).

Swimsuit / Swim Shirt: 1

Bandana and/or Buff: 1

 Sunglasses: 1 pair



  • 50-70 liter backpack with waist belt and chest strap. Note: Smaller capacity packs may be better for smaller backpackers.

Sleeping Bag

  • Rated to 20 degrees F or less. Non-cotton. Note: Down is warmer and considerably lighter weight than synthetic and compressible, but more sensitive to moisture.

Sleeping Pad

  • Closed-cell foam or self-inflating. Note: Closed-cell foam pads weigh less than inflatable pads and are more durable (but can be less comfortable). Tip: Closed–cell pads can be cut down to torso length to save space and weight.

Headlamp or Lightweight Flashlight and Batteries (New and Fresh): 1

  • Trust us when we say new batteries are essential. Those who don’t heed this advice have regretted it!

Water Bottles or Bladder: 2 (32 oz/1 liter size each)

  • Note: If you plan to bring a bladder, please make sure the second is a bottle in case the bladder leaks, malfunctions, or gets punctured. Any hard-sided bottles will do (sport drink bottle, water bottle, Nalgene, etc).

Pack Towel: 1

  • Small-medium size, quick-drying.

Mug: 1

  • Lightweight, heat-proof.

Bowl: 1

  • Lightweight, sturdy, plastic reusable container with a screw-top or secure lid for storing uneaten food. Small, heat-proof reusable container, ex. Rubbermaid, Tupperware, etc..

Utensil: 1

  • Lightweight, sturdy spoon or Spork. Silverware works just fine (spoon recommended)!

Plastic Bags: 2-1 gallon freezer-weight (1 for mess kit, 1 for toiletries)

  • Helps reduce clutter in packs and keeping bear hangs organized.

Small Journal and Pencil


Toiletries (Travel Size)

  • Toothbrush (toothpaste provided)

  • Sunscreen (if particular brand is needed, otherwise we will provide)

  • Lip Balm w/ Sunscreen

  • Insect Repellent (if particular brand is needed, otherwise we will provide)

  • Glasses (if needed)

  • Contact Lenses/Solution (if needed)

  • Medications (Note: Medicines must be in original containers with labels that show participants name and dosage. Medications will be collected on day one and administered as needed by staff). Please bring completed Medications forms with you.

Lunch: First day

  • Large lunch, snacks, and water bottle for day one en route to trailhead.

 Optional Personal Items

  • Extra Bandana (lots of potential uses)

  • Extra Pair Gloves (warm)

  • Hiking Poles: 1 or 2 (strongly suggested for all advanced trips)

  • Large, heavy-duty, plastic trash bags (pack liner and/or pack cover): 2-3 large

  • Bug Headnet

  • Eyemask (or Cotton Headband)

  • Ear Plugs

  • Post-trip Clothes (for ride back to Bellingham). Cotton OK.

  • Nylon Stuff Sacks: 2

Important! Please do not bring:

  • Cell phones, cameras, iPods, or other electronics.

  • Valuable items that may get lost, stolen, or damaged.

  • Medications or vitamins of any kind that are not listed on your health form.

Wild Whatcom will provide:

  • Tents/Rainfly/Stakes

  • Water Purification System

  • Stoves/Fuel/Matches

  • Pots/Pans/Cooking Utensils

  • Food and Beverages (except first day lunch)

  • Critter hang bags plus rope for food storage (if not using bear canisters)

  • Gear Repair Kit/Other Tools

  • Whistles

  • First Aid Kits

  • Map/Compasses

  • Hand Sanitizer/Biodegradable Soap

  • Toothpaste

  • Toilet Paper/Trowels

  • Insect Repellent

  • Sunscreen

  • Camera

  • Emergency Spot Device (Communications)

  • Permits

Important! All participants will help carry group gear (ex. tents, stoves, pots/pans, food, etc...). The amount of weight/gear added beyond a participants base pack weight will be based on the individual's height, weight, and abilities.

Trip Pack List

Questions? Need to borrow loaner gear or clothing?