Having the right gear on your trip is critical. In most cases, if you don't have it, you can likely borrow it — free!
About Gear for your Wilderness Adventure
*Specific gear lists for each trip can be found at the bottom of this page. We encourage you to read the following information before looking over your specific gear list and deciding on what gear to purchase and/or request to borrow from us.
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.
There's a lot of options for where to acquire the clothing and equipment you'll need for your WA. Some items are pretty expensive, so we recommend borrowing from family and friends, or renting from us, for as much as you can. For anything you intend to buy, there are lots of high quality options, such as:
- Local sporting goods stores
- Thrift stores
- Army/navy surplus stores
When backpacking, it is important that your pack fits your body. When you request gear (a request form will be emailed to you along with your trip assignment), we will ask you for some measurements to ensure you've got the right backpack.
How to measure your torso and hip size
The trip specific lists below include some items and/or terminology that might be new to you. Before you look over your specific list, have a look at these explainers to get a sense of what we mean by by “synthetic" or “camp shoes”?
Cotton is not breathable when wet, so cotton is not good to bring on camping trips! Instead, bring clothing made of synthetic fabrics, like:
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.
We wear synthetic "base layers" against our skin because they help to manage moisture and keep us warm when wet. Your gear list probably recommends both a baselayer top and bottom.
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.
Rain pants should be lightweight (you'll hopefully be carrying them a lot more than wearing them), waterproof, and ideally breathable. Goretex is a common waterproof/breathable fabric but there are many other cheaper options out there.
Rain jackets should be lightweight (you'll hopefully be carrying them a lot more than wearing them), waterproof, and ideally breathable. Goretex is a common waterproof/breathable fabric but there are many other cheaper options out there.
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.
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.
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.