Following is the list of HOP camping/hiking essentials. Broken in hiking boots are an absolute necessity. If you do not already have a pair, please buy some immediately. It is important that the boots are broken in when you arrive in late August, as hiking-in new boots will lead inevitably to painful blisters. We suggest that you put at least 10 miles on your boots prior to the trip. This does not mean go take a 10 mile hike, but wear them around and let your feet get used to them. Hightop sneakers do not fit the bill! Trust us.
It is also essential that you are hiking with an appropriate backpack. You will be carrying 20-30 lbs of food, gear, and clothing throughout each day, and you need a pack that can support such weight. Appropriate backpacks are “internal frame” or “external frame” (search Google Images for “internal frame backpack” or “external frame backpack” to see some examples). COÖP has a supply of tried-and-true Kelty external frame packs available for $15 rental. If you choose to bring your own backpack and it is not appropriate for backpacking, you will be REQUIRED to rent one from COÖP. Creativity can be a money saver when getting your equipment. Friends, relatives and bargain stores can be inexpensive sources of equipment. Whatever the means, it is essential that you bring these items and that they are in satisfactory condition.
Prohibited: firearms (the “H” is for hiking, not hunting), non-prescribed and non-over-the-counter drugs, alcohol, knives larger than an index finger, iPods, hairdryers, or any electronic gizmo. Do not bring them on our four-day mountain journey.
If you have any questions about the equipment list, please don’t hesitate to e-mail or call us. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Do not bring cotton materials. Cotton soaks up moisture (rain, sweat) and won’t retain your body heat when wet. You lose body heat faster wearing a cotton shirt than if you were wearing no shirt at all! Wet wool will retain 70% of its insulating ability. If you have Gore-Tex or some other new fangled, high-tech foul weather wear, by all means bring it. Wool, polyester, and acrylic are less expensive, more readily available, and equally effective. In case of wet or cold weather, we cannot afford to be hiking without warm clothing, and the rangers will not let you hike if you are not prepared.
- Hiking boots | See above for specifications. (1 pair)
- Long underwear | Top and bottom (not cotton). These act as your base clothing layer. (1 set)
- Warm upper layer(s) | Wool, acrylic polyester blend, or synthetic sweater or fleece. It can get mighty cold at night in the Catskills. (1-2)
- Warm hat | Wool, acrylic/polyester blend or synthetic material. Wool beanies, in particular, are fantastic. (1)
- Quick drying pants | Wool, acrylic/polyester blend or synthetic material (1 pair)
- Quick drying shorts | Wool, acrylic/polyester blend or synthetic material (1 pair)
- Cool hiking shirt | While it is cold at night in the mountains, we get quite hot and sweaty during the day. You’ll want a good acrylic/polyester blend or synthetic t-shirt that breathes well and dries quickly. (1-2)
- Warm hiking socks | Wool or heavy synthetic material. Smartwool and Thorlo brands are good solutions. (3-4 pair)
- Rain coat and rain pants | As much as we try to control the weather, rain still makes its way into the Catskills. A waterproof rain coat and rain pants will keep you much dryer, warmer, and happier during a downpour. Consider looking for a “shell” type raincoat that also protects from the wind, and make sure both coat and pants are sturdy – thin plastic can rip easily (1 coat and 1 pair of pants)
Common synthetic materials are Fleece and Capoline. Look for clothing made of polypropylene (long underwear, sock liners, etc.) Polypropylene is inexpensive and excellent in the wilderness.
- 1-liter, sturdy, wide-mouth water bottles (total of 4 liters carrying capacity). Nalgene brand bottles are best because they will never break and they are very easy to fill up in streams, but something as simple as a large Gatorade bottle will work. COÖP Nalgenes are $15 and are yours to keep.
- Sleeping bag (unless you are renting one)
- Frame pack (unless you are renting one)
- Cup or mug (a good sturdy plastic or metal one)
- Small knife, fork and spoon (you will forget these!)
- Small bowl or plate
- Glasses and strap (if you wear glasses)
- Headlamp (and batteries!)
- Insulite or foam sleeping pad (not required, but highly recommended)
- Small knife (Swiss army type)
- Sneakers or comfy, light shoes to wear at campsite
- Sunscreen lotion and bug spray (both of these are highly recommended)
- Toothpaste & toothbrush
- Camera (bring it in a small plastic bag to keep it dry)
Glasses and contacts are fine on the trail, but if you choose to wear contacts, make sure that you also bring glasses.