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Mountaineering Trips & Instruction in California
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Backcountry Ski Gear Checklist

*Starred items are available for rent from Outback Adventures. Please contact us for reservations and pricing.


Mountaineering Boots*- Must be very stiff, crampon compatible, and preferably insulated. Plastic mountaineering boots are recommended.

Snowshoes*- Snowshoes must be sized large enough to carry your weight plus a full backpack pack in soft snow.

Crampons*- General mountaineering crampons work best, preferable step-in.

Ice Axe*- Should be sized for general mountaineering, usually between 65-80cm depending on your height.

Helmet (included)*- Adjustable so you can wear a warm hat / beanie underneath.

Backpack*- Must be appropriate for backpacking, i.e. 4,500 cubic inches or larger. It must have an internal frame design.

Pack Cover*- Either a store bought one to protect your pack from rain or just a sturdy garbage bag large enough to cover your fully loaded pack. Large yard waste bags work great, as do ponchos.

Hiking Poles or Ski Poles (optional)*- These are helpful for balance and stability and for when climbing and descending. Make sure they have powder baskets on them.

Winter Sleeping Bag*- Must be a mummy bag style sleeping bag, with a hood, and rated to at least 0 degrees F. Must be made of down or a synthetic material. No cotton or rectangular bags.

Sleeping Pad*- Must be a closed-cell insulating pad or Therm-a-Rest air mattress brand equivalent. Please, no open cell egg crate/sponge style pads.

Headlamp*- Light, bright, and small. Bring extra batteries and bulbs.


Note: Use a layering approach. This will increasing versatility and make it easier to regulate your temperature. All warm clothing must be made of synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene or fleece. Due to the bad insulating properties of cotton, no cotton clothing will be allowed for warm layers.

Snow Boots*- These must be waterproof or treated leather, and sized to be able to wear two pair of mid-weight socks. They shouldn't fit too tight- this restricts circulation.

Gaiters*- Essential to keep your feet and boots dry while protecting your pants from crampons, ski edges, and snowshoes.

Warm Hat / Beanie- Synthetic or wool.

Sun Hat- Baseball caps work, but wide brimmed floppy sun hats provide better coverage and protection. If you choose a wide brimmed hat try it on with your pack and make sure it fits well and doesn't bother you by hitting the back of the pack.

Sunglasses- Preferably quality sunglasses that are darker and that fit snugly around your face in order to reduce sun's reflection getting behind the glasses.

Goggles- These are essential during a storm, protect your eyes, and keep your face warmer.

Warm Mittens or Gloves- Mittens are warmer, but reduce your dexterity.

Liner Gloves- These should be synthetic material and add to versatility.

Long Underwear- Lightweight or mid-weight tops and bottoms made of synthetic materials such as Capilene or polypropylene.

2 Warm Insulating Upper Body Layers- Fleece or wool sweaters will work well for this. If you bring a lightweight down jacket or synthetic jacket, you only need one other warm insulating layer.

1 Warm Insulating Lower Body Layer- Wool or fleece pants work well. Stretch pants are more like long underwear than a warm lower layer, so if they are used it needs to be in conjunction with a second warm layer. Two lightweight long underwear bottoms may be substituted for one fleece or wool bottom.

Waterproof Shell Clothing*- These should be a waterproof/breathable fabrics such as Gore-Tex. One jacket and one bib or pant.

Socks- 3 pair of wool or synthetic socks. 1 pair to hike in, 1 pair to change into for camp, and 1 pair in reserve. These should be made with mid to heavy weight synthetic or wool materials. No cotton socks allowed.

Polypropylene Liner Socks (optional)- Thin synthetic socks that wick moisture away from the feet and can help reduce the possibility of blisters.

Balaclava (optional)- This is a synthetic full-head covering with an opening for your eyes and mouth. Great for bad weather and for just staying extra warm.


Lunch Food and Snacks- Outback Adventures provides breakfasts and dinners, but you need to provide your own lunch and snack food. Lunches should be hearty and healthy. Peanut butter and jelly on bagels, cheese and crackers, apples, and pita bread are just a few ideas. Energy bars, granola bars, fruit, chocolate bars, and trail mix make good snacks. Chex mix and other types of pretzel snack mixes are good too. Don’t skip the fruit because of the weight. There is nothing better than an orange or apple in the backcountry. Be creative, think healthy, non-perishable, and durable (beware of soft fruits, soft bread, etc.).

Water Bottles- 2-3 sturdy 1 quart water bottles.

Cup, Bowl, and Spoon- Tupperware makes a great bowl and you can store leftovers in it. Insulated mugs with lids are ideal.

Extra Plastic Bags- For keeping gear dry and for carrying garbage.


Sunscreen- Small light bottles. Apply often.

Lip Balm- Ones that have sunscreen incorporated are best.

Tooth Brush and Tooth Paste- Small travel ones work great.

Hair Ties- If you need them

Contact Supplies- If you are using contacts bring a back up pair of glasses just in case.

Personal Hygiene Items

Any Personal Medications You Need- If you are ringing medications please check in with your guides and let them know what the medications are and what they are used for in case of an emergency.

Optional Items

Camera- Try to keep it small and light.

Journal and Pen- Small and light.

Book- Small and light.

Soap- 100% biodegradable only

Hairbrush- If you need one, bring a small one.

Compass-Outback Adventures will bring a few compasses if your course covers this material.

Pocket Knife- Comes is handy

Camp Chair*-These really make camp time comfortable.

Personal Tarp- Small multi-use tarp to sleep on, organize gear on, make shelters with, etc. 5' x 7' or smaller.

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