TOP

  • Heavy-weight merino wool or synthetic baselayer (1 if you run hot, 2 if you run cold). Baselayers are the tops closest to your skin.
  • Midlayer, such as a sweater or puffy jacket. Down puffy if you run hot, synthetic puffy if you run cold (or if you're a vegan.
  • Outer layer, a shell like a rain jacket if you run cold and/or insulated, water proof/resistant jacket. 
  • No big, heavy coats, because they're not easy to pack in your bag and too heavy to lug around.

BOTTOM

  • Merino wool or synthetic baselayer (such as long johns)
  • Insulated pants, waxed pants, or cords as your outer layer
  • Denim s not recommended.

FOOTWEAR

  • Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots.
  • Gaiters to prevent ice and water from getting into your shoes.

ACCESSORIES

  • Wool socks. Always pack an extra pair of wool socks, because your feet always get wet and cold no matter what kind of boots you wear.
  • Headwear. Something you feel comfortable in for prolonged periods. You should expect to wear your headwear the entire trip and certain fabrics may cause allergies or rashes.
  • Gloves. Optional hand warmers.
  • Flashlight (because it gets dark earlier, this is recommended as standard).

TOP

  • Mid-weight merino wool or synthetic baselayer (1 if you run hot, 2 if you run cold). Baselayers are the tops closest to your skin.
  • Midlayer, such as a sweater or puffy jacket. Down puffy if you run hot, synthetic puffy if you run cold (or if you're a vegan.
  • Outer layer, a shell like a rain jacket if you run cold and/or insulated, water proof/resistant jacket. It does rain in the spring.
  • No big, heavy coats, because they're not easy to pack in your bag and too heavy to lug around.

BOTTOM

  • You can start wearing shorts now.
  • Cotton pants are OK. Cords or denim not recommended.

FOOTWEAR

  • Sturdy sneakers or hiking boots.

ACCESSORIES

  • Wool socks.
  • Headwear.
  • Thin gloves.
  • Flashlight (because it gets dark earlier, this is recommended as standard).
  • Bug repellent (like DEET).

TOP

  • Lightweight merino wool or cotton baselayer. Baselayers are the tops closest to your skin.
  • Midlayer or rain shell (sweater or puffy jacket packed).

BOTTOM

  • Shorts. Cotton pants are OK. Cords or denim not recommended.

FOOTWEAR

  • Sturdy, traditional sneakers or hiking boots.
  • Minimalist and max cushioned also OK. 

ACCESSORIES

  • Light cotton socks. (I do not wear socks.)
  • Bandana (it's multi-purpose and always useful).
  • Bug repellent (like DEET).

TOP

  • Mid-weight merino wool or synthetic baselayer (1 if you run hot, 2 if you run cold). Baselayers are the tops closest to your skin.
  • Midlayer, such as a sweater or puffy jacket. Down puffy if you run hot, synthetic puffy if you run cold (or if you're a vegan.
  • Outer layer, a shell like a rain jacket if you run cold and/or insulated, water proof/resistant jacket. It does rain in the spring.
  • No big, heavy coats, because they're not easy to pack in your bag and too heavy to lug around.

BOTTOM

  • Although you can still wear shorts, it's tick season and long pants are recommended.
  • Cotton or cord pants are OK. Denim not recommended.

FOOTWEAR

  • Sturdy sneakers or hiking boots.

ACCESSORIES

  • Wool socks.
  • Headwear.
  • Thin gloves.
  • Flashlight (because it gets dark earlier, this is recommended as standard).
  • Bug repellent (like DEET).

And for everything in between...

WARNING: Unless you've done any of these activities at least once with a professional guide or outfitter, you should expect to be lead by experienced guides who will provide you with information, training, gear, first aid, and overall good vibes. DO NOT TRY ANY OF THIS SHIT BY YOURSELF YOUR FIRST TIME.

OVERVIEW
Caving or spelunking is dangerous. Unless you visit a cave that has been staged for site-seeing, you should respect the cave you visit. Raw caves are typically on private property and if anything happens to you, you will require a very expensive cave rescue because caves are not tourist attractions and you will require knowledge and skill to get through them. You'll be underground for hours so if you're claustrophobic, caving is not be a good idea.

FOOTWEAR
Caves are muddy and regardless of the traction on your sole, you'll never have enough traction. Additionally, that mud never seems to get out, so any sturdy pair of boots, shoes, or sneakers that you were going to throw out anyway is fine.

ACCESSORIES

  • Elbow pads
  • Knees pads
  • Helmet
  • 2 flashlights/headlights with replacement batteries
  • Light cotton socks
  • Bug repellent (like DEET).
  • Extra change of clothes (including underwear)
  • 2 large garbage bags
  • Dry bag and/or ziplocks for your phone, camera, valuables
  • Please note that you will have to thoroughly rinse everything off after you're done

OVERVIEW
There are different kinds of Obstacle Course Races (OCRs). They range between 3 (5k) to 60 miles, contain 15 or more obstacles, and take 30 minutes to 10 hours to complete, depending on your physical conditions. If you race, you know your body will use up everything, leaving you prone to cramping and other assorted race-related issues.

FOOTWEAR
OCRs are wet and muddy and regardless of the traction on your sole, you'll never have enough traction. Additionally, that mud never seems to get out, so any sturdy pair of boots, shoes, or sneakers that you were going to throw out anyway is fine.

ACCESSORIES

  • Camelbak-like backpacks to carry light snacks,  something packed with protein and/or energy. (There is always water to drink at intervals throughout the race)
  • Something to help with chaffing (for example, vaseline)
  • Any and all braces you need
  • Extra change of clothes (including underwear)
  • 2 large garbage bags
  • Dry bag and/or ziplocks for your phone, camera, valuables
  • Please note that you will have to thoroughly rinse everything off after you're done

OVERVIEW
You can surf anytime of the year. Pacific water is always cold. Atlantic water is warm in August and September. Depending on the time of year and coast you're surfing in, you may require a wetsuit. Wetsuits come in different thicknesses and for different uses. Make sure you get a surf-specific wetsuit. In the warmest water, all you need is swim trunks/board shorts.

FOOTWEAR
None. Unless you're surfing in colder water, in which case, water shoes.

ACCESSORIES

  • Surf board. You can always rent on surf beaches. If you want to buy, here's what to look for: hard top vs. soft top. Soft top is for beginners and extremely stable, so you will catch more waves. However, they're heavier. Hard tops are made from different materials and the best materials are epoxies. Length and width. Beginners should start at 8 feet long. The shorter and narrower, the more mobility. Wax gives you traction, so when you rent, make sure it's waxed.
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Change of clothes
  • Anything you use on a beach

OVERVIEW
You're gliding down a snow-covered mountain at up to 70 mph on a snowboard or up to 100 mph on skis. Wax makes that possible. So, make sure your board or skis are waxed. All mountains rent gear. But if you're going to buy, here's what to look for: Length and width. Snowboards are measured in centimeters, 155, 160, 165, etc. The longer, the faster. The shorter, the more mobility. Figuring out your ideal length takes time. Boards are also bent inwards in the center (camber) or bent outwards (convex). Camber allows for smoother movement. Convex allows for sharper turns. And of course, there are blends of both. These designs are important depending on the type of snow you're riding on. East coast snow is hard and crunchy. Midwest and Westcoast snow is soft and fluffy. All of this stuff is extremely important if you intend to ride a lot. Skis are essentially the same, except for each foot.

FOOTWEAR

  • You can wear your regular sneaks to get you to the lodge and your transpo. You're not going to keep them on long anyway since you'll be switching to your snowboard/ski boots.
  • All mountains rent the appropriate boots. But if you're going to buy, here's what to look for: Snowboard boots are soft and can feel like extra rigid sneakers. Good fit means secure, but not too tight. And that depends on the way you secure them (there are different mechanisms to secure a snowboard boot fit. It's a matter of what you prefer, so try them all out). To secure your boot to a snowboard, you need binders. Binders are as varied as the boots and you wouldn't worry about these unless you're a professional snowboarder.

ACCESSORIES

  • Over the knee wool socks. They will always get wet, regardless of how new or waterproof your boots are
  • Face protection (i.e. baklava)
  • Eye protection (i.e over the eye visor)
  • Headwear
  • Warm (and waterproof) gloves or mittens
  • Hand warmers recommended
  • Helmet
  • And, although you'd look ridiculous, if you're just starting out, knee pads are lifesavers. Anyone staring awkwardly at you is just upset they didn't think of it

OVERVIEW
Ice climbing is not as dangerous as it looks. All your gear can be rented from your guide, but here's a pro-tip: schedule your trips during "ice climbing festivals" where you can try all kinds of new gear. There are, of course, different types of ice climbing, (like alpining, mixed, etc) but you shouldn't worry about that unless you plan to go pro.

FOOTWEAR

  • Sturdy sneakers or hiking boots.
  • You would also be outfitted with specialized ice climbing boots by our guide if you don't already have your own.
  • Additionally, you will also be outfitted with specialized crampons that go over your boot.

ACCESSORIES

  • Winter accessories (see above)
  • You will also be outfitted with harness, helmet, and ice tools (like ice picks, but awesomer) by your guide, unless you already have your own.

OVERVIEW
There are three types of climbing: top rope (where your rope is already secured at the top of your climb), lead (where you place protection and rope as you climb), and bouldering (no rope because you're climbing between 10 to 40 feet). And if you get really specific, there are different types of climbing within each of these (free climbing, trad, sport, etc). Climbing is rated by different scales. Although all are different, the higher the rating, the more challenging the climb. And challenging climbs get easier with perfected techniques. And techniques can only be perfected with practice. This is why climbing can get addictive. Invest in the right gear as you advance.

BOTTOM

  • Something comfortable, ideally stretchy and/or durable, that can withstand abrasive rock. Keep in mind you will be in a harness the entire time, so comfort is emphasized.

FOOTWEAR

  • Two pairs: one is called your approach shoe. It can be as simple as flip flops or as fancy as grippy-soled hikers. It depends on where you're going.
  • Your second pair are your climbing shoes. Climbing shoes are very specific to the type of climbing you'll be doing, but anyone who is not advanced will do fine with all-purpose climbers. You can often rent these from your guide.

ACCESSORIES

  • Climbing accessories can be expensive and unless you're advanced enough to go climbing in the dark, it's better to rely on your guide to provide you everything you need.  Recommend bringing items you typically use based on the season you're climbing in (see above). However, accessories like harnesses, chalk and chalk bag, and of course, rope are typically provided by your guide.

OVERVIEW
Mountain biking is rated similarly to snowboarding, where there are green, blue, and black trails depending on the level of difficulty or challenge. Beginner trails tend to go up and down. Advanced trails tend to run you off of ramps and cliffs.

FOOTWEAR

  • Anything comfortable. In road cycling, your feet are critical inputs for the pedals. But in mountain biking, your feet can play critical role in helping you stop, turn, and brace. So, the more stable your footwear, the better.

ACCESSORIES

  • Bike. Although it is tricky to find a rental shop near a trail, it's possible. Rentals can go from $40 to $100 and not all rentals are beaters. Sometimes they're samples of high-end bikes. But if you're going to invest in a bike, here's what to keep in mind: Everything is separate, from frame, to brakes, to tires, to suspension to saddle. And you get what you pay for. Expect to spend no less than $2,000 for a good ride. And it goes up from there. When it comes to mountain bikes, wheel diameter, height, and weight are important. Then, brakes and suspension. Invest wisely.
  • Knee and elbow pads
  • Butt pads (optional)
Butt

OVERVIEW
We're not talking "glamping" where you have structures with beds, running water, and electrical outlets. This is sleeping outdoors in raw land, starting fires from scratch, and setting up tents. When you go with a group, there are assigned responsibilities and everyone looks out for each other. We will often have to hike miles and miles just to get to the camp site and once there, there isn't a sign that says, "Camp here". This is camping and it's awesome!

ACCESSORIES

  • Tent (you can rent or share with others who bring)
  • Sleeping pad. There are different varieties, but they all make a huge difference between a good night's sleep or a bad one.
  • Sleeping bag. Don't be cheap. The comfier and lighter, the better. But you won't always need it.
  • Optional: fleece blanket. It's extra weight, but if you don't have a fancy sleeping bag and/or pad, I find this is a good substitute.
  • Trekking poles or walking sticks you pick up in the woods. They really help with underpronated walkers. (If you don't know what you are, I can tell you if you come out on a trip.)
  • Flashlights, headlights, lanterns, with extra batteries.
  • 13-gallon (or greater) trash bag (it's multi-purpose and can be used in a variety of ways).
  • Optional: camp stove and kitchen set. Although this ads weight and complexity to your packing, it's worth having as a stand-by.
  • BPA-free, 1-leter water bottles (such as Nalgene). They can hold more than just water and are virtually indestructible.

OVERVIEW
There are different types of kayaking, including touring in long boats (the kayaks are 12, 13, or 14 feet long), white water, which itself is broken down into play-boating and/or creeking (boats are 5, 6, or 7 feet long). The longer the boat, the more stable. The shorter, the more mobile. This makes a difference depending on the body of water you're kayaking in, from lakes to running water. And water volume and flow will also impact the boat you select. Across these boats, there are a variety of differences that impact your experience, from the channels on your hull to the way you're positioned (sit on tops vs. fishing boats).

FOOTWEAR
None. But, also, water shoes.

ACCESSORIES

  • Towel
  • Change of clothes
  • Boat and Paddle. Most lakes and rivers where boating is permitted will have a rental shop for boats and paddles. nearby. However, if you're going to buy, here's what to consider: length of boat. Weight of boat (there's this thing called ferrying where you carry your kayak to the next put-in and that really sucks with a heavy boat). And cockpit size relative to your own weight and height. You're going to be sitting in this cockpit for hours and hours, so the more comfortable, the better. And don't forget your car rack.