The ORL Program supplies all of the necessary safety equipment such as ropes, harnesses, and helmets. We also supply general camping gear such as tents and cooking gear. You are responsible for supplying the gear you wear, pack things in, and sleep in. Following is the gear list we give to our students:
COLORADO MOUNTAIN COLLEGE
Personal Equipment/Clothing List
equipment/clothing list is divided into three categories: The first category
of mandatory items is essential to your safety and comfort. It is your only
defense against whatever nature may throw at you. Be prepared for any
weather condition. Do not rely on
cotton to keep you warm. It absorbs much moisture, takes very long to
dry and does not insulate when wet. Synthetic materials such as polypropylene
and pile or some natural fibers such as silk and wool are the only suitable
inner layer since they do not absorb water and wick moisture away from the
skin keeping you dryer and therefore warmer.
The second category is a list of strongly recommended items, things you
may find will make your outings more pleasant but are not absolutely
mandatory. The third category is a list of optional items, things you might
enjoy having with you but are not necessary and do add some additional weight
to your pack.
You are expected to make
arrangements for your own equipment and clothing for participation in the
Outdoor Recreation Leadership Program at Colorado Mountain College. This checklist will be used before each trip for group
equipment "shakedown," and you will be required to have every item
in the mandatory category in order to participate on any trip.
Group equipment such as tents, cook stoves, stove fuel, group
cookware, etc. and the necessary technical safety gear such as ropes, helmets,
harnesses, rock shoes, ice climbing tools, etc. are provided by the ORL
Program and are included in the course fees.
When selecting gear or
clothing, find a knowledgeable salesperson (one that has had extensive
experience in the outdoors) at your local outdoor or mountaineering store.
They should be able to answer most of your questions.
Try on several different boots, backpacks, sleeping bags, etc., so you
feel comfortable with the equipment as well as your investment.
If you take care of your investment, it should last you for many years.
Synthetic Sleeping Bag
(Rated to at least -10 to -20 degrees F (below zero) for the winter
trips--Since Fall nights can also get cold, this bag can be used in the Fall
and Spring trips also, thus saving you having to purchase two sleeping bags.
Down bags are unacceptable for all but winter trips because they lose
most of their insulating qualities when damp. REI,
Wilderness Experience, Moonstone, Marmot, Kelty, and North Face are some of
the recommended brands. A
"compressor" stuff sack is recommended to compress this bag small
enough to fit into your pack and still have room for other things--however,
always store your bag in a large king size pillow case when not in use)
Sleeping pad (i.e.. Therma-rest,
Ensolite, or Ridge Rest are some of the popular brands--just make sure it is a
full length closed cell foam unless it is covered by a waterproof layer)
Large "Internal Frame"
Backpack and Waterproof Pack Cover (min.
5000 cu. in. Lowe Alpine Systems, Madden, Mountainsmith and Gregory are
all good brand names. For more selection and fitting details, see the attached
Equipment Notes section.)
Water bottles (Two 1 qt.
Wide-mouth water bottles are ideal)
Flashlight or Head Lamp (headlamp
being the best choice either way, they should have extra batteries and bulbs)
Spoon and maybe a Fork
Unbreakable Bowl, Plate, and Cup
(Lightweight Lexan is good)
Knife (Swiss Army type
preferred - no fixed-blade sheath knives)
Sun Block (minimum SPF 25)
Chap Stick (minimum SPF 25)
toothpaste, comb, tampons, etc. soap should be biodegradable)
Personal First Aid Kit (Moleskin,
mole foam, small scissors, tweezers, band aids, aspirin, personal
prescriptions, and other common first aid needs)
Large Garbage Bags, and Small
Plastic Bags (Used for waterproofing and for storage)
Clothing - Wicking Layer
Synthetic or Silk Long Underwear
Top (Polypropylene or Capilene because it wicks away moisture and dries
quickly keeping you more comfortable and safe ) No
Synthetic or Silk Long Underwear
Bottoms (Polypropylene or Capilene because it wicks away moisture and
dries quickly keeping you more comfortable.) No
Regular underwear (1 to 2
pair depending on the length of the trip)
Lightweight Wool or Synthetic
Long Sleeved Shirt
Heavy Wool or Pile or Fleece
Sweater/Jacket (Pile is a thick coarsely napped fabric and fleece is much
more finely napped both fabrics have great insulating value and especially
work well when layering your clothing)
Heavyweight Parka or Winter Coat
(To wear around camp in the winter--a down coat compresses very small and
is light weight, however, it is important to keep down dry or it will lose its
Lightweight Wool or Pile Pants
(For Fall and Spring trips, jeans will not work)
Heavyweight Wool or Pile Pants
(For Winter trips)
Wool or Pile Hat with Face Mask
Wool Mittens or Gloves
(Heavy-duty--large enough to fit around hiking boots)
Parka/Shell Jacket (With
attached hood--Rain gear may double as a wind breaker. Coated nylon is
suitable if trying to avoid the high cost of waterproof/breathable fabrics
such as Gore-Tex — avoid cheap plastic ponchos or old, no longer waterproof
Waterproof Pants (same
criteria as parka)
Wind Pants (Rain pants can
double as wind pants)
Foot Protection and
Hiking Boots Good
hiking boots are perhaps one of the most important purchases you'll make. You need medium to heavy weight "over the ankle"
boots designed for hiking--you'll need the support of a "full
leather" boot. It is also
extremely important that your boots fit properly, allowing for two thick
layers of wool socks, and are broken in. For more selection and fitting
details, see the attached Equipment Notes section.
Liner Socks (At least 2 pair—polypropylene,
silk or wool)
Wool or Synthetic Socks (At
least 4 pair--wearing two pair of socks can help prevent blisters)
Tennis Shoes (For around the
Bathing Suit or Shorts, or Both
Sun Hat (baseball or brim
hats are best)
Candles (1-2 will do--these
serve many purposes such as to help get a fire started)
Sunglasses (With close to
100% UVA and UVB protection)
Compass (One priced in the
$8.00 to $10.00 range will do. Be sure to get one of the clear plastic plate models instead
of the lensatic sighting engineering variety.)
Day Pack (To pack lunch,
water, jacket and rain gear on day hikes--book bags work fine)
Nylon Straps (To tie things
down or strap things to packs--At least 4)
Stuff Sacks (A variety of
sizes to help keep gear organized inside and outside of your pack.)
Ground Cloth (A 3' x 6'
piece of coated nylon or thicker plastic sheeting)
Personal Repair Kit (A small
bag containing such things as extra buckles for your pack, small sewing kit,
tape, "Leatherman Tool" or pliers, wire, string, and anything else
you feel might come in handy when making repairs out in the field)
Notebook and pen (For taking
notes, journals, thoughts, sketches, etc.)
Watch with alarm (this is
college after all and you have to be in class on time even in the field)
Bandannas (2-3 to use as
towels since they are compact and dry quickly)
Insect Repellent (No
Parachute Cord (50' - 100'
– 1/8th inch diameter)
Rugged non-cotton pants (To
wear around camp)
insulated--to wear around camp in the winter)
Large Duffel Bag (To store
extra things in that are not needed or left in van)
Double Plastic Mountaineering
Boots (If you plan to take our advanced mountaineering or ice
climbing courses these would be a good idea.
They are quite expensive at around $250.
You can get by with some good leather ¾-shank mountaineering boots)
Book for personal reading (don’t
go big here since there is rarely time for it)
Back Country/Telemark Skis,
Boots, Avalanche Probe Poles, Climbing Skins if you would like to take a
telemark or backcountry ski course (This will perhaps be your most
expensive purchase in outdoor gear. However, as an outdoor leader wishing to do winter ski
courses, it is recommended that you own a ski package.
ORL does rent snowshoes through the student outing club (SOAR) or if
you would like to try some skis first before you purchase them, ORL has
arranged with the local ski area (Ski Cooper) to rent them for a reasonable
(Great for getting around on terrain too steep or rugged for skis or if you
plan to snowboard down.)
The following items are
not allowed on trips — Alcoholic beverages, un-prescribed drugs,
jewelry, blow dryers, cosmetics, “walkmans” or pets.
The use of tobacco in any form is discouraged out of respect for other
campers and the wilderness environment.
want you to spend as little as possible on your clothes and equipment.
We encourage you to search attics, thrift shops, army surplus stores,
garage sales, etc. for old wool, synthetic, or pile clothes and other types of
the right Hiking Boots: Boots
are a big deal to the Outdoor Leader. They
can be considered, along with your feet, to be your only form of
transportation on CMC’s land-based field courses and should therefore be
given a great deal of consideration. General
hiking boots should be of good construction (full-grain smooth-out leather
uppers with a minimum number of seams - one up the back and protected with a
leather cover being the best), ¾-shank (a shank is a piece of metal or
fiberglass inside the sole that makes the boot stiff except for the area where
your foot is supposed to bend on the ball of your foot), they should cover
your ankle but no higher, they should have either an injected or a sewn-in
sole with good non-slip lugs. In
general, hunting boots are not adequate since they tend not to have the ¾
shank and they are usually higher topped than hiking boots.
Hiking boots with fabric uppers even if they are reinforced with
leather and waterproofed with Gore-Tex are not adequate since they also
usually lack the shank and they do not give enough support to your feet for
the heavy loads we carry in the field. Specialized
plastic double boots are generally best for mountaineering and for ice
climbing but they are rarely good for hiking to the climbing area.
Most mountaineers use an “approach shoe” to get up the trail and
then put on their plastic boots to do the climbing.
If you plan to take CMC’s mountaineering and/or ice climbing series,
plastic boots would be a good idea but they are not required for
The fit of your boots is of utmost importance to your outdoor
experience and safety. Bad blisters can result from ill-fitting boots every time you
wear them (which will be quite often in the ORL program).
These boot fitting instructions come from Paul Petzoldt (Founder of the
National Outdoor Leadership School and The Wilderness Education Association)
who used to guarantee that boots would fit.
First, place your bare foot in
boot. Without lacing the boot,
slide your foot as far forward as possible and stand up putting all or your
weight on your feet and bend your knees slightly forward. In this position there should be enough room between the back
of the boot and your heal to insert two fingers (three for boot sizes of 12 or
higher) without forcing them. If
you cannot, then the boot is too short and you should move to a larger size.
If the boot is too short for your feet, when descending a slope your
toes will hit the front of the boot causing great discomfort and occasionally
the loss of toenails.
Second, try on the boots with
two pair of heavy wool socks (or any combination of socks in which you plan to
hike - usually it is a wicking layer of light synthetic and an absorbing layer
or two of wool/synthetic blend - I prefer just two layers of wool).
Stand in unlaced boots with full weight on feet.
The sides of your toes or the sides of your feet may slightly touch the
insides of the boots but it should be only a slight pressure.
If your feet tend to push against the sides of the boots so as to push
the sides of the boots outward, the boots are too narrow and your should try
another wider boot.
Third, if the above two tests
are passed then lace the boot comfortably and tap the toe of the boot against
a solid object. You should feel a
dull thud throughout the boot. If
your toes hit the front of the boot, you need to lace the boot tighter across
the instep. If that does not fix
the problem, you should try on a longer size.
If the last test is passed, you are ready for the ultimate test of fit
- walking around the store for at least one hour and preferably two.
With all of your socks on and the boots comfortably laced, walk around
the store and feel for any discomfort, especially on the sides of the boot.
If there is any discomfort in the store it will in most cases just
become magnified on a hiking trip. Some
will tell you that the boots will eventually stretch out and feel better.
Do not listen to them. Modern
boots stretch very little and if they are too narrow in the store, chances are
they will be too narrow in the field. If
your feet are comfortable after an hour or two in the store, they are probably
a good fit. Remember that your
feet swell throughout the day, especially while hiking so you might want to
wear them at home for longer than two hours for the final test.
Most stores will allow you to return the boots after a couple of days
if you do not wear them outside.
Lastly, all boots must be
fully broken in BEFORE they are worn for an ORL trip.
To break them in, all you have to do is to wear them - a lot.
It is better to treat them with a good boot seam sealer or stitch
welder and then treat them with the manufacturer’s suggested waterproofing
material. Then you have to wear
them all the time to work, on short hikes, watching TV, or whatever just wear
them. Some have suggested that
after the boots are seam sealed and waterproofed, the best way to break them
in is to fill them with bath-temperature water, let stand for a few minutes
and then pour the water out and wear them with your regular socks as outlined
above. Never use a hair
dryer or put your boots next to a fire or put your boots in the oven for any
reason. They may delaminate
because the glue used in their manufacturing process is heat-sensitive.
A few last words of wisdom: Boots that are too tight have caused more
blisters than have boots that are too loose.
the Right Backpack: Your
pack can make or break a trip. ORL
students typically carry between one third and one half of their body weight
on some trips so having a good quality and comfortable pack is essential.
An internal frame pack is the best option for ORL trips since they vary
from skiing to canyoneering to backpacking to mountaineering and an external
frame pack would not allow the arm movement needed.
The pack you choose should have a capacity that ranges between 5000 and
7000 cubic inches - the larger you are the larger your pack should be because
your clothes and equipment tend to be larger as well.
It should have a floating top compartment and a storm or extension
sleeve on the top of the main compartment to allow for maximum versatility.
An internal frame pack is difficult to fit well and it takes some time.
It should be fit in the store by a trained pack fitter and should be
done WITH THE FULL EXPECTED WEIGHT YOU PLAN TO BE CARRYING.
This is very important since packs fit differently with different
weights. The frame should be
taken out of the pack and fit to your back once you establish where the pack
will sit when it is fully loaded. ORL
instructors will help with the strap adjustment and the final pack fitting in
Equipment deals on the Internet
Here is a list of good places for find deals on outdoor equipment on the internet:
(Outdoor equipment for women)
(Outdoor equipment/Free shipping)
(Outdoor equipment/Free shipping/No sales tax)
(Closeouts on outdoor equipment)
(Outdoor gear swap)
(Outdoor equipment closeouts)
(Closeouts on outdoor gear)
(Online retail equipment)
(Online retail equipment)
Last modified: May 04, 2007