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Mountaineering Gear List

The following is a more or less minimal list of equipment needed for a short, relatively basic mountaineering trip, oriented to New England hikes.

Before & After

Jacket, hat, and gloves that you are not using during the hike

  • Anything you wear during the trip can easily be soaked by the end

Change of clothes

  • @Mt Washington: Towel, soap, and quarters to take a shower at Pinkham Notch

Food & water for driving

  • Mountains are usually a long ways away...
  • Best to go in already hydrated

Sleeping

Winter sleeping bag

  • Rated down to 25 degrees at least

Sleeping pad

  • Inflatable is usually warmest, but also most fragile
  • Yoga/exercise mat can work but not a foam one, they freeze to the shelters

Moving

Backpack

  • Mountaineering (tall/narrow) shape is best, but a regular style will be totally fine
  • 5000+ cubic inch recommended for winter (bulkier sleeping bags, clothes, etc)

Mountaineering boots

  • I.e., plastic boots; need to be designed for crampons, not just hiking

Crampons

  • Bring tools to adjust crampons (screwdriver or hex keys, check!)

Knee-length gaiters

Mountaineering axe

Winter goggles (ski mask)

Large water bottles and cozies/insulation

Headlamp

  • Extra batteries

Emergency bivvy

  • Emergency blankets (space/foil blankets) can also work

Optional: Collapsible snowshoe poles

Optional: Snowshoes

  • @Mt Washington: Useful if planning to hike on the lower wooded trails, but not generally useful on the main summit routes, definitely not required for trips there

Clothes

Generally you need sets of clothes for on-the-move and camp---anything you wear hiking will likely be soaked when you return to camp and too cold to sit around in. Some people adopt a super ultralight approach in which you never change out of your base layers and other clothes, but anybody doing that doesn't need this list.

The following is essentially a minimal list with a few common options and notes. Add layers, changes, extras, and so on as you wish. Note that many clothes will get soaked from sweat or snow, and it's generally extremely hard to dry anything out.

Clothes should all be packed up in more or less waterproof bags, either stuff sacks or large re-sealable plastic bags (e.g., gallon size zip-locks).

On-The-Move Clothes

Snow or rain jacket/waterproof top shell

  • Ideally with vents and many pockets

Snow or rain pants/waterproof bottom shell

Warm, reasonably athletic jacket---softshell, fleece, or similar

  • Ideally water resistant

Medium to heavy long sleeve shirt

Top & bottom baselayer

  • Not cotton, which doesn't deal well with sweat/water
  • Some people change baselayers (usually just top, sometimes all) just before leaving treeline if there is a serious (i.e., sweaty) hike beforehand and long exposure after

Winter hat

  • Heavy headband or ear muffs can also be useful

Throat warmer/balaclava/bandanna (not cotton)

Thick hiking socks & liner socks

  • Ideally not cotton

Waterproof heavy gloves or mittens

  • Mittens are warmer

Lightweight/liner gloves

  • Waterproof gloves generally aren't insulated anyway, but it's useful to be able to take off the heavy cover gloves without exposing skin

Camp Clothes

Down jacket or similar

Long sleeve shirt

Medium to heavy pants

  • Ideally water resistant soft shell/fleece/etc

Top & bottom baselayer

Winter hat---not the same one as hiking!

Thick socks

Thin gloves to work in (tents, cook, etc)

Toiletries

Chapstick/balm---vital!

  • Ideally w/ sunscreen component
  • Stick rather than a pot, to be applied w/ gloves on

Toilet paper/wipes/etc

Waste canister if necessary or desired

  • @Mt Washington: Not generally needed (outhouses at Hermit Lake camp)

Camp Equipment

Tent if necessary

  • @Mt Washington: Not generally needed (shelters at Hermit Lake camp)

Snow shovel

  • Especially when tenting but even in shelter, need to be prepared to clear space

Cooking

Stove w/ base support, fuel

  • Insulation for fuel tanks
  • Appropriate stove type and fuel management in cold weather is an important topic

Medium to large water pot (at least 16oz)

Bowls

Cups appropriate for hot water

Spoons

Camp towel(s)

  • Double as potholders

Plastic bags for trash

Navigation

Watch

Compass

Map

Safety

Basic first aid kit

  • Bandages, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment, etc

Optional: Whistles

Optional: Hand, toe, etc warmers

  • Many people love them, many people don't
  • Remember needs air flow to work! Can't just jam in shoes

Tools/Supplies

Waterproof tape (duct tape)

Zip ties (short and long)

Pocket knife

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