Outdoor Education » Essential Gear and FAQ

Essential Gear and FAQ

Essential Outdoor and Sport-Specific Gear

The apparel and gear listed below are required for participation on Orientation Trips, Field Courses, and some athletic and co-curricular activities. These items are commonly available online and at local shops and national outdoor retailers, such as Eastern Mountain Sports, L.L.Bean, REI, and more. Sport-specific equipment is required only for those sports or activities.

Note: Items denoted by an asterisk (*) may be borrowed from The White Mountain School. Please email Sean Wieboldt at sean.wieboldt@whitemountain.org for more information or to make a request.

  • Waterproof jacket with hood.

  • Waterproof full-length pants.

  • Mid-weight jacket, pullover, or sweater (softshell, fleece, microfleece, or wool).

  • Base layer short-sleeve top (synthetic or wool).

  • Base layer long-sleeve top (synthetic or wool).

  • Base layer full-length pants (synthetic or wool).

  • Underwear and/or undergarments (one pair, synthetic).

  • Underwear and/or undergarments (one pair, cotton).

  • Cotton t-shirt.

  • Athletic and/or hiking shorts (synthetic).

  • Hat (baseball or sun hat).

  • Beanie or other cold-weather hats (synthetic or wool).

  • Gloves (synthetic or wool).

  • Swimsuit and/or nylon board shorts (1-2 pairs).

  • Hiking socks (synthetic or wool; two pairs).

  • Lightweight activewear/performance socks (two pairs).

  • Cross-training shoes or trail-running shoes (closed-toe).

  • Daypack or standard-size bookbag (18-35 liters).

  • Sleeping bag with stuff sack.*

  • Sleeping pad (closed-cell foam or self-inflating; full-length size).*

  • Bowl or travel mug with cover (minimum 16 ounces).

  • Spork, or individual fork and spoon.

  • Headlamp.

  • 1-liter water bottles (Nalgene, Kleen Kanteen, CamelBak, or similar; 2-3 bottles).

  • Lip balm.

  • Sunscreen.

  • Insect repellent.

  • A small notebook or waterproof journal.

  • Pens or mechanical pencils.

  • Climbing and/or hiking pants (synthetic).

  • Bandana or buff.

  • Gaiters.

  • Liner socks (synthetic or wool; two pairs).

  • Watch.

  • Camera.

  • Camp chair.

  • Book.

  • Backpacking pack with a hip belt (60-75 liters).*

  • Day hiking pack, ideally with a hip belt (20-35 liters).

  • Hiking boots (leather or synthetic) OR hiking shoes.

  • Optional: If interested in winter hiking or will be in a winter hiking-based Field Course, then insulated winter hiking boots are very strongly recommended.
  • Sunglasses.

  • Towel.

  • Water-specific shoes or sandals with a heel strap (Keen, Teva, or similar).

  • Mountain bike (must be functioning, safe and well-maintained).

  • Bike helmet.

  • Cycling jersey or short-sleeve nylon shirt.

  • Padded bike shorts (optional, but highly recommended).

  • Bike shoes.

Note: Mountain bikes and helmets may be rented from local shops for about $100. Please email Sean Wieboldt at sean.wieboldt@whitemountain.org to make arrangements.

  • Rock climbing helmet.*

  • Rock climbing harness.*

  • Rock climbing belay device and carabiner.*

  • Rock climbing shoes.*

Note: All personal climbing gear must be inspected by a White Mountain climbing instructor prior to use.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Hardshell layers are water- and wind-proof and keep the body dry in inclement weather. They also help regulate your core body temperature.

Insulating layers are worn over base layers and under hardshell layers and are designed to stop the cooling effects of rain and wind. Insulation materials such as fleece, down, and synthetic-down are designed to trap warm air close to the body. Cotton apparel should be avoided because cotton loses its insulation qualities when it becomes wet, either because of perspiration or precipitation.

Base layers, also commonly referred to as long underwear, are the clothing items responsible for wicking perspiration from the skin's surface, allowing it to evaporate. Staying dry is critical to maintaining your core body temperature. Unlike cotton, synthetic and wool fabrics retain their ability to keep you warm when wet.

Hiking boots/shoes are required for day hiking and backpacking trips. While it isn't necessary to spend a lot of money on high-end hiking footwear, it is important to purchase a pair of quality hiking boots/shoes. Our Outdoor Education Department recommends checking out hiking boots/shoes from the following brands: Asolo, LaSportiva, Keen, Salomon, Merrell, Oboz, The North Face, or Vasque. Regardless of brand or price, all new hiking footwear should be sufficiently broken in before wearing them to hike. Hiking shoes break in pretty quick, synthetic hiking boots take a little time to break in, and leather hiking boots can take more time to break in. To reduce the chance of getting blisters, follow these tips from REI.

The following items are a selection of merchandise available for purchase throughout the school year from the school store: rain jackets, rain pants, mid-weight microfleece tops, synthetic t-shirts, long underwear, hiking socks, winter hats and gloves, Nalgene bottles, bowls, sporks, headlamps, and more.

Lahout's
99 Main Street, Littleton, NH 03561
p: 603.444.0915