Packing List (2015 edition)!

This post, from our Outdoor Logistics Coordinators, is a guide to packing for your DOC First-Year Trip! Enjoy!

Hey 19s!

We’re Cedar and Caroline, the 2015 outdoor logistics coordinators for Trips! We’re writing to make some very important points about packing for your First-Year Trip. You can also watch our packing video, posted here. The items you need to pack can be divided into a few categories.


Here we address some important items on the packing list that can be confusing. This is not a complete packing list. Cardinal rules: bring non-cotton clothes (no cotton T-shirts!), and remember that less is more. When it comes to socks, go for polyester or wool, which will help you avoid blisters. Do not wear cotton socks. You need a raincoat or a poncho. You need a warm layer. Do not bring a cotton hoodie. It should be a substantial wool, fleece, synthetic, or down layer.
image011image013    image015

You’re asked to bring 2 pairs of hiking shorts/pants. Athletic shorts are fine if you want to wear shorts. Here is an example of hiking pants (don’t bring blue jeans or cotton sweatpants).


You’re asked to bring a long-sleeved shirt/tight warm layer. This should be wool or synthetic.

You’ll need a wool or fleece hat:


And gloves or mittens:



The packing list for your specific trip will indicate what kind of bag or backpack you need. You’ll either bring a frame pack or a duffel bag and a daypack/small backpack, depending on your trip. If you need to have a frame pack, read on…

There are two major types of frame packs: external (cheaper, heavier) and internal (lighter, more expensive, better functioning). You can bring either.

Internal Frame:


External frame:


In terms of finding a pack that’s the right size, you have two things to consider. The first is volume/storage capacity. This is measured in liters. The absolute minimum size any pack should be for Trips is 50 liters. Aim for a pack that is in the 65 to 75+ liter range. The second thing to consider is that you want a pack that fits you comfortably. Fitting a pack can be difficult, so make sure you try yours on. Your pack will probably be size “small,” “medium,” or “large.” It will likely correspond to your shirt size.

You can buy a cheap rain cover for your pack or bring a large garbage bag, which will work just as well.

Let’s talk about pack cost. Packs under $100 can come from your local army surplus store, eBay, Amazon, or One example of a good external frame pack that usually runs for well under $100 used is the Large US Army ALICE.

The ALICE, ready for a trek through Wonderland.

Last but not least, if you are absolutely unable to get your hands on an appropriate pack, DOC Trips has a limited number of packs (and other equipment) that you can rent. If you would like to request a pack, please do so using this form no later than August 1st. Rental priority is given to those students receiving financial assistance, and all rental equipment will be distributed upon trippees’ arrival in Hanover. More expensive frame packs are out there, and you are welcome to purchase one although a fancy pack is NOT NECESSARY. Here are some links to pages with more information on choosing a frame pack:


Depending on your trip, you’ll either have to bring hiking boots, sneakers, or water shoes.  Most packing lists also encourage a pair of “camp” shoes, which can be anything ranging from flip flops to Tevas/Crocs to sneakers.

If you’re on any trip that involves hiking, you will need hiking boots. Continue reading here. The most important things about your hiking boots (if your trip requires them) are that they fit you, they are broken in, and they provide sturdy support to your feet and ankles.  If your packing list says “hiking shoes/boots,” you need something sturdier than sneakers that also covers your ankles.  It doesn’t matter if they are waterproof or not.

image009       image007

You should have room to wiggle your toes in the front and the sides of your feet should feel snug but not compressed. Try walking around a little – your heel should not slip as you walk, nor should your toes jam against the front of the shoe.  Poorly fitting shoes translate to painful blisters on the trail.

Whatever kind of footwear you end up wearing, make sure you BREAK THEM IN before heading to Hanover for Trips.

A couple of links with more information on choosing hiking footwear:


You need a sleeping bag (with a stuff sack) and a sleeping pad.  If you don’t have either and can’t borrow, DOC First-Year Trips can lend you these items.  Please refer to our website for more information about borrowing equipment from DOC First-Year Trips. Your sleeping bag must be synthetic or down (not cotton or flannel).

Pack it in a stuff sack lined with a plastic bag.  As for a sleeping pad, you have two choices: foam (cheap, durable) or inflatable (luxurious, expensive, fragile). Example inflatable pad (left) and foam pad (right):


Small essentials:

Toiletries: toothbrush, small toothpaste (you don’t need more than this! No razors, makeup, hairdryers, etc).

You need a flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries:


Plastic bowl and utensils (you can reuse Tupperware or a disposable plastic container with a lid rather than buying a fancy setup). For utensils a spork is awesome, but a fork and spoon from home work fine. Bowl options:


2 plastic water bottles (at least one liter each, not a small disposable water bottle):


Thanks for reading! As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at!


Your Outdoor Logistics Coordinators

The DOC Trips Video Packing List!

Howdy everyone!

This update is brought to you by our lovely Outdoor Logistics Coordinators, Caroline Resor ’17 and Cedar Farwell ’17. They made this awesome video packing list just for you all – check it out! Hopefully this answers all of your Trips-packing-related questions, and if not, look out for a full-blown packing list post coming from them soon.

Packing List, Revisited

Hunter is from Philadelphia

Hi 18s! I’m Hunter van Adelsberg ’15 and I’m the second half of the 2014 Trips outdoor logistics team (you’ve already met my counterpart, the esteemed Alex Greer). We’ve received a few questions about outdoor gear and packing lists recently – hopefully this post will clear most of those up! Each section will have links to sites with more relevant info and videos, but try not to get caught up too much in all the details. As long as you remember the big ideas listed here and find gear you are personally comfortable with, you’ll be good to go.

On hiking frame packs:

Remember, trippees on these trip types need to have frame packs: Hiking 1-4, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Nature Writing, Nature Exploration, Photography, Hike and Yoga, Ropes Course, Trailwork, Community Service. 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).

First off, it’s good to know that two main types of hiking frame backpacks exist, 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!

Note that if you have an internal frame pack, you’ll want to pack larger, less often-used items – such as your sleeping bag and pad – at the bottom of your pack, whereas if you have an external frame, you’ll probably want to tie these items onto the outside of your pack.

Internal Frame
External frame

The volume/storage capacity of hiking packs is measured in liters (and, less often, cubic inches). The absolute minimum size any pack should be for Trips is 50 liters, and even that is pushing it. Keep in mind that you will be given some extra gear and food to carry upon arrival in Hanover. Best are packs in the 65 to 75+ liter range. Some pack models will even have extendable pouches that increase your carrying capacity when you need to and collapse when they don’t – this is always a convenient feature to have (packs can fill up fast!).

People come in different shapes and hiking packs come in different shapes, so make sure to find a pack that fits you. The first and most important consideration is not your overall height, but your torso length. Manufacturers usually size their packs, from extra small to large, based on this, the distance between your neck and hips. The second most important thing to be aware of is how snugly the pack’s hipbelt fits around your waste. How snug should it be? Pretty darn snug – the hips are where we humans bare weight the easiest. Most packs have adjustable hipbelts, so just make sure you can cinch the belt tightly and you’ll be distributing your pack weight like a pro.

Unfortunately, rain is not your pack’s friend. Not all packs are waterproof, though many are water-resistant, and for a few extra bucks you can buy a waterproof cover for your pack that fits over the outside and will keep your clothes and sleeping bag dry. A good-sized garbage bag also serves this purpose in a pinch.

Now a word on pack selection and pricing. Hiking frame packs come in many makes and models, and it’s easy to shell out $200+ for the latest and greatest. You can of course do this, but please know that you don’t have to for Trips! There are many ways to get frame packs on the cheap. Try searching eBay, Amazon, and for good deals, or visit your local army surplus store. Should you decide to go this route, you’ll have a great piece of vintage gear and a few more bucks for your first term in Hanover. One example of a good external frame pack that usually runs for well under $100 used is the Large US Army ALICE.

The ALICE, ready for a trek through Wonderland

Last but not least, if you are absolutely unable to get your hands on an appropriate pack, DOC Trips has a limited number of packs (and other equipment) that you can rent. If you would like to request a pack, please do so using this form no later than August 1st. Rental priority is given to those students receiving financial assistance, and all rental equipment will be distributed upon trippees’ arrival in Hanover.

Here are some links to pages with more information on choosing a frame pack: (corny but good info)

On 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. At the far end of the scale are backpacking boots, ultra-durable, high-ankle footwear that’s good for travel on or off the trails – these last are a good option for trips doing higher mileage days such as Hiking 3 and Hiking 4.

Some ankle support (good)
More ankle support (better)

When trying on some new footwear for the right pair, be aware that the best match might not be in the size you usually buy shoes. Again, fit is the most important factor. You should have room to wiggle your toes in the front and the sides of your feet should feel snug but not compressed. Try walking around a little – your heel should not slip as you walk, nor should your toes jam against the front of the shoe. Some like to say that your boot should feel “quiet” as you walk. Take the time to make sure you find a comfortable pair, because poorly fitting shoes translate to painful blisters on the trail.

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!

Waterproof” boots are not a necessity, but they are often a convenience, and fun too (nothing can quite compare to the giddy sense of freedom you get from splashing through a big puddle in the woods without a care in the world). Be aware, however, that waterproof linings often hinder a shoe’s breathability, which, ironically, can make you sweat more.

A couple of links with more information on choosing hiking footwear:

On 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.




Getting all the right gear for your trip is important, can be fun, and is a necessary means to the worthy end of having an awesome experience in the outdoors. Of course, if you have any more questions feel free to email ( or call us (603.646.3996). Keep an eye out for more blog posts and good luck with your mindful gear gathering!

Hunter van Adelsberg ‘15

Packing List

Hey 18’s!

My name’s Alex Greer ’16 and I’m the outdoor logistics coordinator for trips this year. Now that you know your trips, it’s time to start thinking about getting ready for this amazing experience! Below you’ll find a packing list with visuals of most of the items to help you with the packing process. If you have any questions please let us know. I can’t wait to see you all in the fall! We’ll happily help you out as best as we can. We know it’s not every day you have to pack for the outdoors, so feel free to call or email us: 603.646.3996, 

 I can’t wait to see you all in the fall!Packing List

We can lend you a hiking backpack (frame pack), a sleeping bag, and a foam sleeping pad if you need to borrow these items. However, we have a limited supply, and so we encourage you to first ask friends & family members to see if you can borrow these items. Please refer to our website for more information about borrowing equipment from DOC First-Year Trips.

*NOTE: this is a baselist for all trips. Check your own trip type to see a complete packing list for your trip (

** The COTTON issue: You should avoid bringing cotton clothing as your warm clothing in the woods. Think about throwing your favorite cotton sweatshirt in cold water and then putting it on to keep warm — it’s heavy and doesn’t insulate. Late summer is likely to be wet at least some of the time, and therefore you should provide for your own comfort and warmth by bringing a long-sleeved top and bottom layer that is not cotton. Any kind of synthetic material will work, as will wool. Don’t be afraid to wear an old wool shirt or thermal underwear! Better to be wet and warm than wet and cold!

Required for all trips:
• Sleeping bag (synthetic or down, not cotton or flannel lined—pack it in a stuffsack lined with a plastic bag)

• Foam sleeping pad or thermarest

• Wool sweater or fleece pullover

• Raincoat or poncho

• One pair long pants (wool or synthetic to insulate when wet—NOT blue jeans or cotton sweatpants)

• 2 pairs heavy socks (preferably wool)

• Hat with a visor

• 2 shirts (non-cotton)

• 2 underwear

• 2 pairs hiking, biking, or gym shorts

• Warm long-sleeved shirt (wool or synthetic material to insulate when wet)

• Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries

• Wool or fleece hat

• Gloves or mittens

• Bathing suit

• Small towel

• Plastic bowl, cup, and utensils

• 2 plastic water bottles (at least one liter each, not a small disposable water bottle)

• Sunscreen and insect repellant

• 2 large plastic bags (i.e. trash bags; one to cover your pack in the rain)

• Several smaller Ziploc-style bags

• Toiletries: toothbrush, small toothpaste (you don’t need more than this! No razors, makeup, hairdryers, etc.)

Frame Packs:
Trips that require frame packs:
• Hiking (1,2,3,4)

• Climbing

• Mountain Biking

• Nature Writing & Art

• Ropes Course

• Trailwork

• Community Service

Your frame pack can be internal or external but it must FIT YOU! The belt should fit snugly around your waist and the frame of the backpack should be similar to your torso size. If you have questions, any outdoor retailer would be happy to help!

Alex Greer ’16

Questions & Answers II

Questions From Our Live Q&A

On August 16, we hosted a live Q&A for DOC Trips.  Thanks so much to all who tuned in and asked questions.  While the DOC Trips website and this blog have all the information you need, check out some of the commonly asked questions from members of the Class of 2016.  As always, feel free to contact us with any questions.   

Q: What do I do when I arrive for my DOC Trip? What do I wear? Where do I go?


DOC Trips directorate members Emo, Tommy, and Jenny get set-up for the live Q&A on Thursday August 16th.

A: Please plan to check-in for your DOC Trip at Robinson Hall (“Robo) between 1:00pm and 3:00pm on the day your trip begins.  You should arrive to Robo with all of your gear/equipment/clothes for your trip.  You will check-in, hang out with our Hanover support croo, meet some of your classmates and lots of other activities – read more about day 1 here.  You do not need to dress ready to hike/kayak/climb/etc… – day 1 is all about hanging out, playing games and meeting new friends. Casual dress is totally fine!  At Robo – once you register – you can pick up any gear you need to borrow.

Q: What toiletries should I pack? Can I bring a camera or phone? Do I need money for my trip?

A: Your complete packing list for your specific trip can be found online (same place where you checked your trip assignment).  In regards to toiletries – we suggest staying away from items that have distinct smells (perfumes, scented lotion, etc..) as they will attract more bugs.  You should bring a toothbrush & toothpaste, but everything else is up to you!  During your trip, everyone does not smell too great, so no need to worry about deodorant.  You are welcome to bring a camera (especially if you are on the Nature Photography trip), but we ask that you leave your cellphones behind. Phone batteries will die and they can be a little distracting.  Your trip leaders will have a phone in case of an emergency.  Almost all trips will not require any money, but refer to your packing list if you are not sure!

Q: Do we get to find out our trip leader before DOC Trips begin?  When do we meet them?

A: Nope!  You will meet your two wonderful trip leaders after you check-in for your trip at Robinson Hall.  They are wrapping up their training and are very excited to meet you all!

Q: How does the swim test work on day 1?  Do we swim during our trip?

A: The swim test is 2 laps of the pool and is a graduation requirement.  We offer you the chance to take your swim test during day 1 of your DOC Trip; it is optional at that time, but if you are going on any water-related trip (kayaking, canoeing, etc..) – you will need to successfully complete the swim test.  Read more about the swim test here.  Most DOC Trips do not include swimming but some do have the opportunity to swim in a lake or river.  It is always optional, but check your trip’s packing list to determine if you want to bring a swimsuit.

Q: Can I leave any valuables or extra items behind during my trip?

A: You can!  During day 1 in Hanover, we will collect any valuable items (iPods, wallets, phones, etc…) you do not want to bring on your DOC Trip and keep them locked up safe on campus.  You can retrieve these items once your trip is over. If you have any clothes or non-valuable items you decide to not bring on your trip, we can easily store that too.  Your trip leaders will collect this stuff on day 1 of your trip to leave behind in Hanover.

Q: What kind of backpack do I need for my trip?

A: For almost all trips (except water-related trips), we strongly encourage you to use a hiking frame pack.  This is *different* than a regular backpack you might use for school – it has a hip belt, additional padding, and is much larger.   You can usually ask friends and family to borrow one or look at discount outdoor retailers (i.e. Army & Navy stores, CampMor website, etc…).  If you don’t have a hiking frame pack, we have some you can borrow!  Please send us an email beforehand and let us know what equipment you need to borrow & what section you are on.  When you arrive to Robinson Hall, you can check-out the gear and return it at the end of your trip!

Q: What’s the weather going to be like? How do we prepare for inclement weather?

A: DOC Trips happen rain or shine!  The weather, particularly in New England, can be a little unpredictable so please plan accordingly.  Please make sure you have a rain jacket, warm jacket for nighttime, and even a hat & gloves if you get cold easily.  New England nights can get very chilly, so even though it might be hot and humid during the day, you should be prepared for temperatures in the 40s at nighttime.  If you bring too much clothes, your trip leaders can help you sort out what you should bring and what you should leave behind in Hanover.

We are so excited for you to arrive! If there is anything we can do to make your trip a better experience, please let us know.  Please feel free to contact us via email or phone.  

Preparing for Trips: Getting Yourself Here

Preparing for Trips: Getting Yourself Here

Note: If you have any questions or concerns around travel or transportation for your DOC Trip, please feel free to contact us.  You can also check out the College’s visitors page.  

Registering for DOC Trips, getting your trip assignment, finding out which dorm you will be in, blitzing your future roommate…with all these major moments now behind you, it’s time to think practical. How are you getting here? More importantly, how is all your stuff getting here? And if you’re on a trip during sections A-D, you have to think about going home, then returning to campus a little later. Don’t worry just yet, ’16s!  We’ve put together some advice, suggestions, and resources to help you out — so you can stop stressing about how to fit your mini-fridge into your carry-on (this sounds unlikely) and focus on getting excited for Dartmouth!

Travel & Transportation 

The Dartmouth Coach runs daily bus service from New York City, Stamford, CT, and Boston.

Many of you with travel anxiety (or was that just us?) are probably flying as part of your travel to school.  You can fly into Boston’s Logan Airport or a regional airport in Manchester, NH.  If you’re coming from Boston, you can hop on the Dartmouth Coach right outside baggage claim.  The bus will stop at South Station bus terminal, where you’ll need to buy your ticket (if you didn’t already order one online).  The bus is great: free wi-fi, snacks, water, and a movie.  A LOT of Dartmouth students, faculty, & staff use it so expect to see some fellow ’16s on the bus with you. It will drop you off 3 hours later on the edge of the Green.  Check the Dartmouth Coach schedule before you book your flights to be sure you have enough time to make the last bus of the day at 8:55pm!

If you’re coming from Manchester, NH, there are several options – all of which are used less frequently. There is a Greyhound Bus that runs from the Manchester Airport to Hanover as well as a few shuttle services.  By the way, West Lebanon, NH (right next door to Dartmouth) also has a small (tiny) airport with a grand total of one airline you can use to get here. And finally, if you live within driving distance from Hanover, NH…lucky you! Having a family member drive you to campus is an easy option, just make sure not to park too long at a metered spot or the Hanover Police will track you down.  If you are moving in during the College move-in day on September 4th, there will be plenty of signs to help guide you with dropping off boxes and stuff for your room.  If you arrive on any other day to move-in, it’s pretty informal – so feel free to unload your boxes wherever seems appropriate.  Remember, first-year students can’t bring cars to school during their first term, so leave your wheels behind!

Your Residence Hall

By this point, you’ve Googled your residence hall extensively and are bursting with excitement to live there (right?).  If you are going on a trip during sections A-D, you will be *UNABLE* to access your room before or immediately after your DOC Trip.  So leave all your boxes and futons and suitcases behind, and just bring the stuff you need for your DOC Trip!  Students on sections A-D should plan to arrive and move-in on September 4th unless you have permission from the Housing Office.

If you are on a trip during sections E-J, you can access your residence hall the day your trip begins (simply go to the Housing Office in North Massachusetts Hall or, for after hours arrivals, check with Safety & Security).  Once you are in your building, you can drop off your boxes and belongings…but you should NOT “move-in” or set-up your sure-to-be beautiful rooms.  The College does maintenance and inspections of rooms between terms to make sure everything is okay, so please resist the urge to hang up your Dartmouth posters and high school photos until after you have returned from your DOC Trip.  You can fully move-in and set-up your room once you have returned from your trip.  For more move-in information, check out the Office of Residential Life website.

Advice from your Trip Leaders

“Just remember that all that stuff you’re moving in has to moved out again, probably several times before your Dartmouth career, so pack light. You need less stuff than you think. But if there is one thing that I’ve learned as a south Florida native, the two things you don’t want to skimp on are a good winter coat and a sturdy rain jacket. For larger stuff that you may not have carried with you on the plane (fridge, bike, full length mirror, hangers, etc.) definitely check out the sustainability sale, but get there early or all the good stuff will be gone! Not only is it super cheap, but you don’t have to struggle out to wal-mart if you don’t have any friends with cars yet.”   –Rochele Brown ’13, Royal Palm Beach, Florida

“This year, don’t miss the Sustainable Moving Sale! Taking place from 8 am to 1 pm on ‘Mass Row’ on move-in day (Tuesday, September 4th), the sale has everything you need for a fabulous room. Every year, graduating students donate their college goods to the sale and we resell them to incoming students for up to 75% off. By doing this we seriously cut down on our waste and the amount of money spent at Walmart. Everything sold is tested before hand and ready for its next loving owner. Over the years the sale has grown to become a tradition of its own. This year the sale will feature personal shoppers (upperclassmen who can hint and nudge at the actual college necessities), our local crepe lady, live music, sustainability at Dartmouth and more fun. Find everything you need (and many things you dont) at the Sustainable Moving Sale!” –Meegan Daigler ’14, Sustainability Intern

“Traveling to Dartmouth for the first time is always quite the adventure if you don’t live on the East Coast.  My family lives in Minnesota so in order to get to campus I took a flight into Boston and then took the Dartmouth Coach to Dartmouth.  This takes a while, but is probably the easiest way to get to campus.  Wear a Dartmouth shirt and you’ll be sure to find other incoming students waiting for the coach.  Of course it does make it difficult to get your belongings to campus, especially since you will likely be out in the woods before you have a chance to move in.  I arrived on campus right before the time Trips started, with no time to go to my residence hall, so I shipped boxes of my stuff from home to my Hinman box.  This is a great way to get your non-camping possessions to campus, just make sure to do it early enough so you don’t have to spend your first night back sleeping in a sleeping bag like I did!”      –Nathan Friendly ’13, Shorewood, Minnesota

“I crammed all of my stuff into a few suitcases and arrived in Hanover via plane with my parents. Before my trip started, I went to Target with my mom and picked up a comforter, pillows, towels and all the other basic room necessities. Even though I was forced to minimize the amount of stuff I brought to school by flying, I still think I brought a bunch of unnecessary things. Make sure you bring lots of photos, posters and things to decorate your room with, but cut back on things like plastic containers and hangers that you can always get more of in Hanover. Also, take advantage of the sustainable move-in sale!”   –Eliza Relman ’13, Washington, D.C.

Questions & Answers

Questions From Our Live Q&A

On June 7, we hosted our first live Q&A for DOC Trips.  Thanks so much to all who tuned in and asked questions.  While the DOC Trips website and registration forms have all the information you need, check out some of the commonly asked questions from members of the Class of 2016.  As always, feel free to contact us with any questions.   

Q: How does move-in day work for students going on a DOC Trip?

A: DOC Trips are staggered over 10 sections, with one section starting each day.  Generally, students who live in the Northeast are assigned to a trip on sections A-D, so they come for their DOC Trip, return home, and then move-in on the official College move-in day (September 4).  Students who live outside the Northeast are generally assigned to a trip on sections E-J.  For these students, you can access your dorm room before your DOC Trip begins, drop off all your stuff (but don’t set-up your room quite yet!) and officially move-in once your trip is over.  Please note that students on Section J will return from their DOC Trip on September 5th, so their official move-in day is one day after the College’s official opening. Visit the Orientation website for more information & explore this helpful Q&A from the Deans Office.

Q: What is the swim test all about?

A: At Dartmouth, completion of a 50-yard swim test (2 laps of the pool) is a graduation requirement.  All incoming students have the opportunity to complete the swim test on the first day of their DOC Trip.  Students going on a water-related DOC trip (kayaking, canoeing etc…), you will need to take their swim test in order to participate on their trip.  Other students can complete the test if they’d like to get it out of the way early on in their time at Dartmouth.  We suggest that students try to do the test on DOC Trips.  Check out a recent blog post by Angie Yang ’13 regarding the swim test. The P.E. department manages the swim test graduation requirement, so if you have questions about completing it, feel free to contact them.

Q: What do I need to bring on my DOC Trip? Where can I get gear and equipment for my trip?

A: We provide a packing list for each type of DOC Trip.  Most of the items are the same for every trip though.  Gear, such as sleeping bags, frame packs, sleeping pads etc… can be borrowed from the DOC.  We will ask you later this summer if you plan to borrow equipment from us so we can plan accordingly.  We also encourage you to look at discount stores, online retailers, or to reach out to friends & family to borrow equipment if needed.

Q: What do students do between their DOC Trip and move-in day on September 4?

A: Students who go on a trip during Sections E-I move-in before the College’s official orientation program begins.  There is a “Pre-Orientation” program and team of students/staff who provide activities and events for students to participate in during those few days.  It’s also a great time to explore campus, meet up with your friends from DOC Trips, and get comfortable with your new home! Check out the Pre-Orientation schedule from 2011 to get an idea of what to expect.

Q: Are parents supposed to come for DOC Trips, Pre-Orientation, and/or Orientation?

A: This is really up to you and your family, but there is not much for parents/families to do while you are on your DOC Trip.  For students who move-in right after their DOC Trip ends, parents & family members will often meet them in Hanover on the day they return to help them move-in to their dorms.  The first day of the College’s official orientation program (September 4), there is some programming for parents.  Check out the Orientation website for more details.

Q: Are varsity athletes able to participate in DOC Trips?

A: Yes! We have already been in touch with the coaches of all varsity teams regarding your participation in DOC Trips.  Almost all teams/coaches permit their athletes to participate in DOC Trips, although they might ask you to go on a specific type of trip or on a particular section.  For athletes concerned about food during Trips, we can meet your dietary needs if you let us know in advance! Contact your specific coach for more details.

Q: What are the chances of getting the trip & section you want on the registration form?

A: The short answer – it depends on what everyone else prefers on their registration form.  The long answer – Every year, certain sections and trips are many people’s first choice, so it becomes difficult to accommodate everyone’s requests.  However, we make every effort to assign you a trip and section that works well for your schedule, your interests, and your comfort level.  When registering for DOC Trips, let us know every possible section & trip you would feel comfortable going on…that way you’ll be sure to get one of your top choices.  We ask that you indicate one hiking trip or cabin camping trip as one of your preferred options as around 50% of the potential trips are hiking/cabin camping related.

We’ll be hosting another live video Q&A the week before DOC Trips begin (so in mid-August or so), so stay tuned for details!  If you have any questions, always feel free to contact us via email or phone.  

Choosing a Trip: More Thoughts from Trip Leaders

Choosing a Trip: More Thoughts from Trip Leaders

The other day, we posted some thoughts from prior trip leaders about the many different DOC First-Year Trips you can choose to go on (read all the descriptions here).  While all of the trips can be really fun and enjoyable – the people and interactions are way more important than the actual activity – here are some more thoughts from trip leaders about the many different types of trips you can choose to go on!

Nature Writing & Painting

“I led a nature writing & painting trip last year, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had at Dartmouth!  At first I was a little apprehensive; I wasn’t sure how to incorporate writing and painting into our trip.  We ended up going on really great nature walks in the area around our cabin in the 2nd College Grant, and then spent some reflection time writing and drawing after the hikes.  We also put our artistic skills to use by designing all of our own shirts just for our trip.  If you love nature but don’t necessarily want a super physically stressful trip, this could be a great experience!”         –Alex Wolf ’14, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 

Horseback Riding

“I led the horseback riding trip last year and had so much fun!  In the mornings we helped take care of the horses and then got to ride before lunch.  We usually had some down-time to talk or hike mid-day and then did something exciting like play games on the horses in the afternoon.  The trip is based at Morton Farm, which is a beautiful 200-acre farm that is usually used by the Varsity Equestrian Team and is kept in great condition!”   –Janna Wandzilak ’14, Charlotte, North Carolina


“When I went on my freshmen trip, I decided to sign-up for climbing because it seemed more exciting than walking.  But when I later read the description, I was shocked to read that climbing was “for the experienced hiker looking to try something new.”  Things I am not: An experienced hiker.  Long story short, I ended up enjoying my trip and last year was so excited when I got to lead the same trip! The hike was difficult but not impossible and there were some great lookout points along the way. The day spent climbing was incredible thanks to Climbing Croo, which teaches everyone how to climb and belay (I am also not an experienced climber).  So if you don’t think you’re “fit” enough or have enough climbing experience, don’t worry! This trip can be an awesome experience regardless.”  –James Lee ’13, Northern Virginia

Mountain Biking

“This past summer I led a DOC First-Year Mountain Biking trip. While abilities and day-to-day activities varied, we all had a great time exploring the Norwich area and getting to know each other. Prior biking experience and superhuman fitness is not necessary; the trip is designed so leaders can adapt the routes and mileage to the comfort of their trippees.  After participating in and leading a Trip, I am convinced that there is no better way to get excited and feel welcomed into the Dartmouth community.”   –-Jeff Wilson ’13, Newbury, New Hampshire

Coming up later this week…even MORE perspectives from leaders of various types of DOC Trips!  And on Thursday, we’ll be hosting a live Q&A video chat for you (and your parents) to ask us anything about Trips, registration, schedules, move-in…pretty much anything.  Remember to check out the full descriptions here and learn more about choosing a trip here.  As always, feel free to contact us with any questions!

Choosing a Trip: Thoughts from Trip Leaders

Choosing a Trip: Thoughts from Trip Leaders

There are a LOT of different DOC First-Year Trips you can choose to go on (read all the descriptions here), and all of them can be amazingly fun!  But while you probably can figure out what happens on a hiking, kayaking, or canoeing trip (hint: you hike, kayak,or canoe), some of the trip types are a little different.  Below, hear from former and current trip leaders about what kind of trips are out there…

Nature Photography

“Leading the nature photography DOC trip my sophomore year was one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done at Dartmouth.  I have such amazing memories of all of us laying out on the porch of our cabin at night, eating snacks and watching the stars. My co-leader and I also would wake up each of our tripees every morning by singing a different golden oldie to them. And while we (obviously) ended up with some great photos, no prior photo experiences is necessary!  My co-leader was the experienced photographer while my photo skills mostly include singing “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga.”   –Priya Krishna ’13, Dallas, Texas


“This past summer I led a DOC First-Year fishing trip and had an amazingly rewarding experience. Even though abilities ranged from ‘i’ve been fly fishing my entire life’ to ‘gross i’m not touching that’, the laid-back nature of the trip made for a fun time for everybody. Whether we were fishing, swimming in rivers, or just playing cards at the cabin, our days in the 2nd College Grant were unforgettable. I can’t think of a better way to make the transition from high school to Dartmouth.”  –Billy Wolff ’13, Los Angeles, California

Outdoor Education

“I led a new trip last year called Outdoor Education and it was an awesome way to get close with my trippees! Our trip was very laid back so we had a lot of time to bond with each other and be flexible to do what we wanted. Since there was no strict structure for our trip, we were able to decide as a group what most our activities were so we were constantly having a great time whether we were swimming in Storr’s Pond or playing banana grams. We all got even closer when we led a group of middle school students through the High Ropes Course.”   –Juliana Ortego ’13, Garden City, New York


“I led a trailwork trip trip last year, and even though I hadn’t done that much trailwork before, I loved every second.  We worked up by the Beaver Brook shelter on Mt. Mousilauke, building waterbars and clearing trails. The trailwork was fun, and it was great to be able to give back to the trails that I love to hike, but my strongest memory was playing Apples to Apples with my trippees.  One game went on for three hours, and at one point we even had a couple AT through-hikers join us.  The whole time we sat around under the shelter, joking and getting to know each other better; by the end we’d all gotten nicknames.  Working with my trippees the next day didn’t even feel like work, it was just hanging out with my friends Lush, Birdseed, Cap’n, Moth and Steak in the outdoors.”  –Evan Curhan ’14, Corte Madera, California

Coming up next week…more perspectives from leaders of various types of DOC Trips.  Remember to check out the full descriptions here and learn more about choosing a trip here.  As always, feel free to contact us with any questions!