Packing for Backcountry Travel
Backcountry travel means you can and, for your comfort, should carry a lot less than you do in the regular world; most experienced backcountry travelers will tell you that they bring about the same amount of gear on a three-day trip as they would on a three-week trip.
Your COBS Packing List:
What to Wear While Travelling:
We recommend you wear course clothing and boots while travelling and bring all essentials (prescription meds, insurance card copy, cash) in a carry-on. This will minimize the inconvenience in the unlikely event your luggage is delayed in transport. Being dressed for course will also further the efficiency on your first day, especially since front country bathrooms and private changing areas are rarely available.
Gear that Outward Bound Provides
Please note Outward Bound provides all other equipment including but not limited to sleeping bags & pads, backpacks, camp gear. There are no additional fees for the use of our equipment. If you have your own equipment and it meets the below criteria, you are welcome to bring it with you. Please be aware that your instructors will assess it for appropriateness and may ask you to use Outward Bound gear in lieu of your own if they do not find your gear adequate for your particular course.
If you DO wish to bring some of your own gear, here are our minimum standards for what MAY be acceptable for few common items
If you DO wish to bring some of your own gear:
Here are our minimum standards for what MAY be acceptable for a few common items.
If you bring your own equipment, it will be inspected by your instructor at the beginning of your course. If it does not meet our standards you can store it in a secure location during your course.
Outer Layers: must fit over all other layers
Head and Hands
Travel to and From Course
These are NOT required and you will be fine without them. Please only buy them if you plan to use the items again after your course or you think they will be of great assistance to you while on course (you may be asked to leave these behind depending on weather and space available in your backpack or dry bag).
|1||Travel Insurance||COBS strongly recommends purchasing travel insurance to protect you in the event of an emergency cancellation or early medical departure. There are many companies that offer it, but we’ve seen success with Travelex Insurance. Cost varies by plan. (www.travelexinsurance.com).|
|1||Baby Wipes||Unscented. Keep in mind that you will have to pack out any used baby wipes.|
|1||Water Filter||COBS disinfects all wilderness water with iodine, bleach, or by boiling. Not all of these methods are effective against cryptosporidium. Immunocompromised people may wish to obtain an appropriate water filter for their course. ($40-$100)|
|1||Crazy Creek Chair||Crazy Creek and REI are popular brands. No chairs with legs can be brought! Must be lightweight and packable/rollable. ($20+)|
|1||Camera||Disposables are great & don’t get filled with sand. Bring multiple cameras if disposable. Digital cameras are fine, but you will have to take some extra precautions like putting it in a waterproof bag to keep out dirt, sand and water. Olympus, Canon, and Fuji all make digital waterproof/dustproof cameras.|
|1||Platypus or Camelbak (Hydration bladder)||This is not a supplement for your water bottles. Backpack hydration systems sometimes break. For that reason, please bring your water bottles as well. Hydration Systems can make hydrating while hiking in the mountains easier so you don’t have to stop to reach your water bottle. It helps to buy just the bladder, not the backpack since you will already have a backpack. These can only be used on land since they are difficult and hazardous to rig on the rafts for rapids. 3-4 Liter size is recommended. (20+)|
|1||Straw Sun Hat||Great for sun protection on the river. ($10+)|
|1||Synthetic Insulated Jacket (Puffy) or heavy Fleece||Synthetics are water-resistant and will dry quicker than down and retain warmth even when damp. 13oz.-17oz. should work well for this time of year. ($70-$200)|
Items not Allowed on Course:
Weather During Your Course:
Expect summer daytime temperatures in the mountains ranging from 60-85 degrees with nighttime temperatures ranging from 35-50 degrees. On the river, daytime highs will generally range from 80-100 degrees (pro-tip: avoid dark colors since they absorb more heat) with nighttime lows ranging from 50-60 degrees. Despite these recommendations of what is “normal weather,” our course environments are characterized by unpredictable weather—snow and freezing weather as well as 105 degree heat are all within the realm of possible weather during the summer, although rare. Please bring everything on this list since weather patterns can change quickly, especially over the course of 50 days through varying elevations. Once you arrive at course start, your instructors will update you on current weather patterns and what clothing will be appropriate.