Backpack Equipment List
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Please follow this equipment list and do not bring extra gear. Less weight in your pack, equals more fun on the trip. Having lots of items only makes packing and unpacking an ordeal. By carefully following this list, you can keep your personal gear, including the weight of the backpack itself, to 35 pounds. Depending on the party size and duration of a trip, we’ll give you from 15-25 pounds of food, fuel, and community gear to carry. Expect to start an 8-day trip with no less than a 50 pound backpack; a 10-day trip with no less than a 55 pound backpack.

This checklist has been developed from years and years of Brooks Range experience. These are proven items. That said, personal clothing is indeed personal. Bring what you know to be comfortable and practical. All garments should be synthetic (polypropylene or Capilene) or wool because they are light, fast-drying, and warmer when wet. Please leave your cotton clothes at home.

This is the arctic, and it snows every month of the year! You should have 5 layers for your top and 4 for the bottom. For example, on top: a short sleeve thermal shirt, one heavier long sleeve thermal shirt, one fleece jacket, one down vest or parka and a Gortex shell over everything. On the bottom: two pairs long johns, one pair hiking pants and Gortex rain pants on top. With a warm hat and a neck gaiter you’re cozy even when the north wind howls.

About backpacking: Previous backpacking experience is required for most of our routes. Though the mileages we travel daily might seem meager, hiking in the arctic is an off-trail experience. Six miles can be as tough as ten elsewhere. We frequently use streams as our highways (as the animals do), crossing back and forth, utilizing the best hiking terrain. Expect to have wet boots much of the time while backpacking–- the scenery alone is worth it!

Conditioning for backpack trips: The better shape you’re in, the more you will enjoy backpacking. Even if you are very athletic, we recommend walking as often as possible with 25- 30 pounds in your backpack, wearing the boots you plan to hike in. A couple weeks before your trip, add weight until your pack weighs 40-45 pounds. You can alternate this with other cardiovascular & strength routines. Balance is critical on rough ground. Whatever you can do to improve your balance will pay big dividends.

If you would like to rent any equipment from us please make note on your Rental Request Form. Items for “Rent” are indicated on the checklist below.

We suggest that you use this as a literal checklist. When all the boxes are checked, you are done. Anything not on the list doesn’t belong.

Having trouble keeping your personal gear within limits? Please contact us.

Backpack: Your backpack needs to be large enough to carry all of your personal gear, plus the food, fuel, and community gear we will give you at trip’s start. Packs should be around 5,000 cubic inches (80 liters).

Rent

Tent: A 3- or 4-season tent, able to withstand strong winds and medium snow-load. Make sure your tent is seam sealed either by you or at the factory. Bring a ground cloth (“footprint”). The stakes you bring must hold in gravel. We highly recommend yellow, plastic 9” “Power Pegs.” There are lots of great tents on the market. We favor Hilleberg or MSR for backpacking trips.

Rent

Sleeping bag with stuff sack: Your sleeping bag should keep you comfortable to 15 to 20F. The stuff sack should be lined with a plastic bag.

Rent

Sleeping pad: Thermarests are the warmest.

Hiking boots: There are no constructed trails in the Brooks Range. We hike cross- country, on soft, wet tundra and across streams. Your feet may be wet much of the time. Wear Goretex boots or leather ones that have been treated with Sno-Seal or a similar leather treatment. Make sure your boots fit well and are broken-in.

Camp shoes: Your hiking boots can fill this need if you are a minimalist. If you want something to change into at day’s end, sneakers, sandals, or Crocs are fine.

Stuff sacks: For organizing gear and clothes.

Day pack: For layover days. Bring a light one or use the top pocket or your main pack.

Trash compactor bags: Line your sleeping bag and clothing stuff sack with a heavy duty plastic bag to ensure the contents stay dry.

Pack cover: Make sure it is large enough to fit over your loaded pack.

Socks: 4 pairs, heavy polypro or wool. Don’t skimp on this.

T-shirt and shorts: Sometimes it is hot. Really!

Light weight long johns: 1 – 2 pair tops.

Light weight long johns: 1 – 2 pair bottoms.

Heavyweight long johns: 1 set of bottoms. Fleece pants are good too.

Rain Suit: Good quality, truly waterproof rain jacket and rain pants. Don’t skimp on these. Multi-layer Goretex or similar is good. Newer the better.

Warm Jacket: Fleece jacket or 2 thick wool shirts. You need to have 5 layers including long johns on your upper body. They should be sized so they can be worn together.  A cozy configuration could be 2 long-john shirts, one wool shirt, one fleece jacket and a down vest.Your rain gear should be able to fit on top of everything.

Hiking pants: Synthetic, lightweight, and fast drying. Make sure these fit over long johns or fleece pants and under your rain gear.

Warm hat: A nice warm comfortable winter hat. Many guides prefer 2 hats. One thick one for the day and a thinner one for sleeping.

Neck gaiter: a.k.a. Dickie, cowl, or neck-warmer. A fleece tube to wear around your neck or to augment your hat. A scarf works too. Buff makes some stylish ones.

Brimmed hat: Whether a ball cap or a wrap-around brim, you’ll need something for the intense, ‘round the clock arctic sunlight.

Gloves: 1 pair pile or wool gloves.

Quart water bottle: Or 2 if you want.

Personal toiletries: Scale down… e.g. you won’t need a 6-oz. tube of toothpaste.

Toilet paper: Place the roll in a quart-size Ziploc bag.

Flashlight/headlamp: August and September trips only. Really!

Mosquito head net: You hope you won’t need it, but you’ll be so glad you have it.

Mosquito repellent: 35% DEET – put in a plastic bag.

Emergency Kit: Band-Aids, aspirin, Moleskin, sewing kit. We carry a full medical kit, but a few personal things come in handy.

Medications: Inform the guide of your medications and bring a backup supply of essential medications for the guide to carry.

Glasses or contacts: Bring an extra pair.

Sunscreen: 24 hour sun!

Optional

Lip balm, and hand cream: High quality cream will help prevent splits and cracks in your hands.

Sunglasses

Trekking poles: While theoretically optional, they can be essential on stream crossings and on tussocks (rough ground).

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