Outdoor Clothing & Equipment Recommendations
The following recommendations will help you to enjoy the Central Oregon outdoors safely and comfortably. If you have questions, please call the Outdoor Programs Coordinator at (541) 706-6116 and we'll be glad to help.
Dress in Layers: Layers of synthetic and/or wool fabrics, rather than a single heavy layer, are far more effective at regulating your body temperature. You can add or remove layers to stay comfortable in changing conditions or activity levels. For fall, winter and early spring, have a base layer next to the skin, a thick fuzzy middle layer, and an outer waterproof/windproof (breathable) coat or shell (and even over-pants). Your outer shell is important protection against wind, rain, snow and cold.
On a warm summer day, one layer is probably enough, but conditions can change rapidly in Central Oregon, so always carry an extra fleece and a waterproof shell, ‘just in case.’
Avoid Cotton: Cotton becomes heavy and cold when wet. Wool and synthetics retain little water, wick moisture (sweat) away from your body and trap warm air next to your skin. Cotton may be fine in the summer, but dress in wool or synthetics for playing in the snow or hiking in the spring and fall.
Footwear: Select your footwear based on function and fit, not style. Most of the year and in most conditions, lightweight hiking boots or even sturdy walking shoes are fine. For rugged terrain or extra ankle support, wear over-the-ankle boots. Gortex boots are great for wet or winter hiking. Use a leather treatment on your boots to defend against Central Oregon dust and adverse conditions.
Pack an extra pair of dry socks, ‘just in case.’
Protect Your Hands: Use gloves or mittens in cold or wet weather. Gloves allow for more dexterity, mittens can be warmer. You can layer a waterproof/windproof mitten over a warm glove. Toss a pair of gloves in your pack even for a summer hike, ‘just in case.’
Cover Your Head: Keep your head and ears warm and retain body heat with a fuzzy warm hat. In summer, a hat with a visor or a brim helps keep the sun off your face.
Sun Protection: Sunlight is intense in Central Oregon’s higher altitudes. Even on cloudy days and in winter when the sun’s intensity is magnified by snow, unprotected eyes and skin can be burned. Wear both sunscreen and sunglasses whenever you are out for extended periods of time. If you are particularly sensitive, cover up in summer-weight fabrics with built-in UV protection.
Water and Food: Carry at least one quart of water, more in the summer, and drink often, regardless of whether you feel thirsty. Bring a hearty sack lunch and carry a couple of energy bars, fruit or some other snack that mixes complex carbohydrates and simple sugars.
Day Pack: You’ll need a pack that is large enough to hold water, food, extra clothing, and other equipment. If you are buying a new pack, try different styles to see what fits best.
Trekking Poles: They can help you maintain balance, negotiate steep sections of trail or cross small streams, but some hikers find them cumbersome. Try renting a pair before purchasing.
Whistle: A loud emergency whistle is a good thing to have, ‘just in case’.
You should carry the following items any time you are out on the trails or in the woods, especially if you are not with an organized group:
Personal First Aid Kit: Our leaders carry first aid kits, compasses, and cell phones to ensure that our hiking programs are as safe as possible. When you are not with an organized group, carry a good first aid kit specifically designed for outdoor activities. At a minimum, carry band-aids and blister-care. Consider registering for a Wilderness First Aid course offered each year through the Bend Park & Recreation District to gain more outdoor first aid training.
Map and Compass: Even if you have a GPS, bring a map & compass. Stick to established, well-traveled summer and winter trails until you build your map and compass skills. Batteries for GPS units can quickly go dead in the cold, so bring extra.
Flashlight or Headlamp: Carry fresh batteries and extra bulb.
Fire Starter: Carry matches in a waterproof container, along with a candle, lump of presto-log, or other fire starter.
Equipment Repair Kit: Put together a small repair kit including such things as a strip of duct tape, some cordage or soft wire, a large safety pin, a tube of glue and a pocket knife or multi-tool.
Emergency Shelter: Carry a “space blanket”, small tarp or bivouac sack ‘just in case’. In winter, a compact folding snow shovel is a good idea.