Gear Information

Finding and purchasing the right gear for your COR Expedition is critical. The following are explanations of specific gear items that are essential for a good expedition.


Boots are the most important gear item that you will purchase for your course. They will be your mode of transportation over meadows, creeks, brush, boulders, and alpine territory for three weeks. Therefore, you must choose a pair that fits you properly and will withstand three weeks (and more over the course of your four years here) of intense use. In the packing list below, we have included a list of boots that are appropriate for the COR Expedition. Do not purchase any boot that is not included on the list. When you go to purchase your boots, wear mid-weight or heavyweight hiking socks to ensure that you find the proper fit.

It is critical that your boots are broken in before you arrive for your course to prevent blisters and sore feet; broken in means that you have hiked in them regularly with a weighted pack. If you should happen to have a pair of boots that are already broken in, please contact the WCC Outdoor Leadership office to discuss the condition of your boots. Please note: if you do not have the proper footwear, you will be required to purchase boots from a local outdoor store, which is likely to be expensive, and you will not have had the opportunity to break them in beforehand.


It is not necessary for you to purchase a backpack; WCC will have backpacks available for rent if you do not wish to purchase your own. However, should you desire to use your own personal backpack for the next four years, purchase one according to the following specifications.

Backpacks should be approximately 5000-7000 cubic inches. Fit is of crucial importance. Internal frame packs are required. If you are purchasing your pack, seek professional assistance. Make sure that you put weights into the pack while at the store. Manufacturers such as Dana Design, Gregory, Osprey, Deuter, and REI® provide high quality packs.

Rain Gear

The Adidas rain jackets that are available to purchase through WCC are pretty tough to beat when it comes to a balance between cost and quality of product.

Rain gear is an important piece of equipment in mountain climates. It not only keeps you dry when it counts, but it also acts as a protective outer shell against wind and cold. Rain pants and rain jackets must be rated waterproof by the manufacturer and be of minimal design for backpacking. Ski jackets are not acceptable. Single layer waterproof fabrics such as Gore-Tex® or Conduit® are examples of good rain material. Jackets should only have two or three pockets and pants should have an ankle or knee-length zip on the side for putting them on over boots. Light weight (maximum of 16 oz. each) and tight compression are recommended.


Clothing should be of minimal design for backpacking and cannot be made of cotton. All clothing must be made of polypropylene, capilene, wool, or fleece. While wool is more expensive, it does not retain body odor like clothing made from synthetic materials. Your nylon pants should have ankle zippers or Velcro so that you can easily pull them over your boots. It is recommended that they also are convertible. i.e., that they zip at the knee to convert into shorts.


Gaiters are required.


Gear Saving Tips

High performance outdoor gear is typically very expensive. However, the following websites sell such gear at deep discount prices. Note, too, that high performance outdoor gear also can be purchased from thrift stores and second hand stores for much less than buying new. Once again, keep in mind that you will not need to buy everything on the gear list, as some things will be available for rent (see Gear List).

Discount Outdoor Gear Websites:

Backcountry Outlet
Climb High Outlet
GearX (Outdoor Gear Exchange)
REI Outlet
Sierra Trading Post
Steep and Cheap


While we want you to save money on your purchases, the following three items are things that you should not purchase from a mass-market retailer (e.g., Walmart, Target) but rather from reputable outdoor companies and with professional assistance:

  1. Boots
  2. Backpack (should you wish to purchase)
  3. Rain gear