Equipment and Gear for Wilderness Adventure Skip Navigation

Equipment and Gear

Having the right gear on your trip is critical. In most cases, if you don't have it, you can likely borrow it — free!

Gear Lists

Backpackers on the trail loaded carrying their gearEverything you need to have with you for a successful Wilderness Adventure trip.
Level 3 Trips

Body Measurements

When backpacking, it is important that your pack fits your body. When you pay your trip balance, we will ask you for some measurements to ensure you've got the right backpack.
How to measure your torso and hip size

Acquiring Gear

When shopping for gear, the most expensive option is not necessarily the best option. Consider fit, as well as how many times you anticipate using the gear in the future.

Borrowing from Colgate

The gear list for your trip will indicate which pieces of equipment are available to borrow from Outdoor Education, free of charge. You can request this equipment when paying your trip balance, after receiving your trip assignment.

You may assume that you are receiving all the gear you have requested unless we contact you directly about an item being unavailable.

Buying Gear

  • Family and friends
  • Local sporting goods stores
  • Thrift stores
  • Army/navy surplus stores
  • REI
  • Campmor.com
  • Sierratradingpost.com
  • Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS)
  • Walmart, etc.

Gear Elaboration

Confused about what we mean by “synthetic" or “camp shoes”? Important tips about what you should bring with you. Please be sure to check your trip's specific gear list above when packing.
Synthetic (not cotton)
Cotton is not breathable when wet, so cotton is not good to bring on camping trips! Instead, bring clothing made of synthetic fabrics, like:
  • Polyester
  • Acrylic
  • Nylon
  • Spandex
Note: for some trips it is okay if some items are made of cotton. Always check your trip's gear list for details about what to bring.

Examples of synthetic shirts
Long underwear
Long underwear is a base layer, worn to keep warm in cooler weather.

Examples of long underwear made from synthetic materials
Synthetic or wool socks
Cotton socks retain water and sweat — leaving you with soggy boots, prune toes, and painful blisters. Go for sweat-wicking socks, or quick-drying wool socks for a more comfortable hiking experience.

Examples of synthetic and wool socks
Lightweight rain pants
Examples of lightweight rain pants
Waterproof jacket
Examples of waterproof jackets
Camp/wading shoes
Shoes must be worn at all times while on the trip — even in camp, or while wading. Shoes must have back straps; flip-flops are not allowed! Great options include Crocs, Tevas, Chacos, or similarly designed footwear.

Examples of appropriate Teva, Crocs, and Chacos, sandals and footwear
Wool or fleece hat
It can get cold at night in Central New York, even in the summer. A baseball cap won't do the trick — bring a hat you'd wear in the winter.

Examples of wool and fleece hats
Hiking boots
It is extremely important to break in your hiking boots! It will make your feet much more comfortable, and less prone to painful blisters.

Some trips require hiking boots with high ankle support, while others do not. Check your gear list for your trip's footwear requirements.

Examples of hiking boots with different levels of ankle support