Packing For Your Trip

Section A is one week away! Here is a reminder email about the packing list. Don’t wait until the last minute!

Hiking frame packs: Hiking 1-4, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Nature Writing, Nature Exploration, Photography, Hike and Yoga, Ropes Course, Community Service.

External packs and internal packs. External packs are a little more “old school” – they’re the ones with the visible metal bars on the back of the pack. Their advantage: a high center of gravity means better weight distribution to the hips and makes these packs a good choice for clear, well-maintained trails. They also offer good ventilation, helping to keep your back dry. Internal packs are more streamlined – they fit more snugly against your back and the rigid supports are on the inside. Their advantage: a narrower and closer fitting structure allows for better balance and maneuverability on rougher trails. Either type of pack will work for Trips, so it’s a matter of personal preference and comfort. Keep your trip type and description in mind when you pick!

All other trippees (including those on Canoeing/Kayaking trips) should bring a single bag large enough to carry all their clothing and gear, plus a little extra room (duffle bags work well).

Hiking boots and shoes: There are a lot of different kinds of shoes out there made for moving around in the out-of-doors, and if you’ve never been in the market before it can be hard to know what you need. At a high level, the main differences between the types of shoes are stiffness, weight and ankle height. At one end of the spectrum lie light hiking shoes, which are often similar or identical to running shoes. These are flexible, low-weight shoes that are good for single-day hikes but don’t offer enough support for multi-day treks. For Trips, we prefer that you have hiking boots that are a little stiffer, more durable and that have at least a little ankle support (mid-cut or high-cut). More ankle support means less twisting and bending on bumpy terrain.

Speaking of blisters, one of the best ways to avoid them is to wear the right kind of socks. Go for anything synthetic (polyester, for example) or merino wool, both of which will prevent unwanted moisture and chafing. Thicker is better; you’ll be happy for the padding and they won’t heat up as much as you might think. Cotton athletic socks, by contrast, are never a good choice. I repeat, DO NOT WEAR COTTON SOCKS. There’s nothing worse on a trip than wet socks, and very little holds on to moisture quite as well as cotton.

Whatever kind of footwear you end up wearing, make sure you BREAK THEM IN before heading to Hanover for Trips. Many a blister can be avoided by making sure your shoes are well-molded to your feet before you start hiking, and the way to do that is simply to wear them. Around the house, into town to show them off, it doesn’t matter, just do your best to make sure Trips is not the first time your boots meet your feet!

Outerwear and jackets: Again, as with socks, shorts and shirts, no cotton here! Most hooded sweatshirts, for example, are a no go. Fleece pullovers are good, as are pullovers made of other synthetic wicking materials. The only full-on jacket you should need is a rain jacket or poncho – anything else will just end up occupying valuable pack space.

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