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Rocky Mountain Ramblers Association

General Discussion

This information is to provide guidance to people new to our club and to serve as a reminder to club members. Ideally, you want to carry a light pack but still feel comfortable after asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I prepared for cold and /or wet weather (in all seasons)?
  2. Am I prepared for an unplanned night outdoors?
  3. Do I have adequate equipment for this trip?
  4. Am I prepared for equipment failures?
  5. Am I prepared for first aid to myself and others?

With careful thought to selecting the right clothing and other basics, you can be prepared and still have a reasonably light pack.

Clothing Discussion

How do you prepare for a day trip that starts out in the cool shade of a valley forest and ends up on a hot sunny ridge? How do you keep cool while climbing a steep trail, yet keep warm for a rest stop? The answer is to wear layers of clothing rather than that one favourite warm city garment.

Wicking Layer (to keep your skin dry)

Light garments (socks, undershirt, long johns in winter) next to your skin should wick perspiration away to the insulating layer above. This helps alleviate that clammy feeling from damp underwear and keeps you warmer during rest stops. Synthetics (such as polypropylene ("polypro"), Lifa, capilene, etc.) are light, wick well, and dry quickly. Fine woven wool keeps you warm even when wet. Cotton does not wick and does not keep you warm when wet; however on hot days, it does provide good ventilation.

Insulating Layer (to keep you warm)

This is the layer (or layers) that provides the warmth. "Fuzzy" pile garments (fleece) are light and dry out quickly. Wool is also good at staying warm when wet. Down garments provide excellent insulation, but must be kept dry.

Shell Layer (to repel the elements)

This is a thin tough layer to keep out the elements. Nylon is tough but not very water resistant. Coated nylon resists water, but does not breathe as well as new materials, such as GoreTex or Microft. A shell without insulation will be lighter to carry and more versatile for warm or cold weather. Use your insulating layer to keep you warm.

Choose garments that can easily adapt to changing conditions:

Footwear Discussion

Be kind to your feet and they will be kind to you! What you wear on your feet will be the most important article you bring. You want footwear to keep your feet dry, warm and well supported. Running shoes or other casual footwear will not keep your feet dry when going through mud, will not keep them warm when going over snow (in summer too!) and do not offer sufficient support on steep trails or off-trail scrambles. New lightweight trekking boots are great for trails and some intermediate off-trail scrambles. Heavier leather boots may be necessary for more advanced trips that encounter a variety of conditions.

Other points to remember are:

Summer Day Trip

Clothing to Wear

  • light wicking undershirt (polypro)
  • long sleeve shirt (pile, wool)
  • windproof shell jacket (with hood)
  • long pants (wool, light shell)
  • thin and thick socks
  • proper boots

Clothing to Pack

  • windproof / water resistant pants, jacket
  • warm sweater (pile, wool)
  • extra socks
  • toque, warm mitts
  • tough gloves for bushwhacking
  • sun hat

Necessities

  • pack (packcloth, cordura) with hip belt
  • lunch / snacks
  • water (at least 1 litre)
  • sunglasses (UVA, UVB)
  • sunscreen (SPF 15, UVA, UVB)
  • emergency food (power bars, granola bars)
  • pocket knife (with accessory blades)
  • matches (waterproof, windproof)
  • flashlight / head lamp (with spare batteries)
  • first aid kit (see below)
  • repair kit (see below)

Accessories (optional)

  • lip balm
  • shoes / clothing to wear in the car
  • camera, binoculars
  • toilet paper
  • whistle
  • note book with pencil (also a fire starter)
  • piece of foam to sit on
  • headband
  • umbrella (for trails on wet days)
  • light runners / sandals (for crossing streams)
  • walking stick (collapsible)
  • insect repellent
  • gaiters (to keep nasties out of boots)

Winter Day Trip

Clothing to Wear

  • light wicking undershirt (polypro)
  • insulating layer, layers (pile, wool)
  • long underwear
  • shell layer (windproof suit or jacket / pants)
  • thin and thick socks
  • proper boots (with gaiters)
  • toque / balaclava
  • liner gloves, mittens, overmitts

Clothing to Pack

  • extra insulating layer / layers
  • extra socks
  • extra toque, mitts

Necessities

all summer day trip necessities, plus:
  • skis or snowshoes
  • ski poles
  • waxes / cork / scraper
  • ski goggles
  • candle
  • trip-dependent items:
    • runaway straps
    • avalanche transceiver (dual or 457 kHz)
    • shovel
    • climbing skins
  • space blanket (coordinator)

Accessories (optional)

  • lip balm
  • shoes / clothing to wear in the car
  • camera binoculars
  • toilet paper
  • whistle
  • note book with pencil (also a fire starter)
  • piece of foam to sit on
  • headband
  • thermos
  • hand warmer

All Trips

First Aid Kit - Participant

  • bandaids, 2-3 pressure bandages
  • moleskin
  • gauze
  • 2" or 3" adhesive tape
  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • strong pain killer (ask doctor)
  • personal medication

First Aid Kit - Coordinator

  • triangular bandages (2 of 40")
  • tensor bandages
  • field dressings
  • antiseptic
  • safety pins
  • first aid book

Repair Kit - Participant

  • needle and thread
  • strong tape (fiberglass, duct, hockey)
plus in winter:
  • ski pole basket
  • ski binding parts (cable, bale)

Repair Kit - Coordinator / Group

  • pliers / vice grips
  • wire
  • cord
plus in winter:
  • ski tip
  • screwdriver (multi-head)

Overnight Trip - Participant

all day trip items plus:
  • sleeping bag (0°C summer, -20°C winter)
  • insulating pad (ensolite / Thermarest)
  • cutlery, bowl, mug
  • toiletries
  • camp booties
  • extra sweater, socks, underwear
  • food (with summer cache cord)

Overnight Trip - Group

  • cooking pot set
  • stove
  • fuel (150 ml/person/day summer, 250 ml/person/day in winter)
  • tent, fly, poles, pegs
  • extra fly (in summer)
  • saw

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