Expedition Gear and Clothing

The following is a gear list for MCC Expedition members. Some items are available for rent or to borrow from MCC, but in limited numbers. If you have your own, or know someone who would not mind lending you an item, it is the more helpful and safer choice. Another note: We do not expect you to break the bank on this experience. Most of the required items are available to borrow, and the optional or highly suggested items are readily found at thrift stores and perhaps attics.

MCC will provide the following items:

  • Short-sleeved T-shirt
  • Hard hat
  • Safety glasses
  • Group camping gear (stoves, water filters, tarps, etc)

Please provide the following items for yourself:

Work Gear

Work Pants: Ben Davis work pants function the best, but jeans are also acceptable. You will need 2 pair with no holes, ready to get them torn and dirty.

Leather Work Boots: Your feet are one of the most important tools out there. Take the time to find boots that fit well and will continue to protect you feet throughout the season. Our boot requirements follow: sturdy work boot with thick soles; MCC recommends boots principally made of leather; good for working and hiking. Here are some examples of boots people have used in the past: Montrail Torre, Logger boots, La Sportiva Glacier. Regardless of brand; find boots that fit and are durable. These boots will take a beating during the season.

Rain Gear: Jacket and Pants: They need to be durable and effective- make sure it says waterproof, windbreakers do not cut it. You will not be a happy camper if you’re wet for days on end. Work does not stop because of rain (Ponchos do not work). It is nice if they have pit zips.

Day Pack: You will use this almost every day so find something that is comfortable to hike and wear for long hours and is about 1200 cubic inches so it can hold your lunch, water bottles, rain gear, and extra layers- this could be one of the most important pieces of gear you have – some are available for rent. Pretty much: your school backpack.

Backpacking and Camping Gear

Backpack: You will need to carry your backpack with supplies for the whole month so it is important that it is comfortable to wear and it holds what you need. If you are planning on getting your own, try a variety of packs on at gear shops; fill them up with gear or sand bags to get an idea of how it will feel. Gear you will need to carry includes: a tent, sleeping bag, group gear, personal gear, food and extra items. It should hold between 50 to 70 lbs. Size wise, it should be somewhere in the range of 3800 and 5200 cu. in. to carry what you need. It is helpful for it to have straps on the outside of the bag to carry tools. There are a limited number for rent.

Sleeping Bag: Getting a good night’s rest is an important part of enjoying your time in the woods. The main thing to think about with sleeping bags is warmth and fit. If you tend to sleep warm, a 20 degree bag with the option of a liner should work for you. If you tend to sleep cold, go with a zero degree bag. Make sure you find a bag the fits your height, too much room at the bottom leaves space for cold air and not enough room leaves you cramped. Down is very warm when it is dry but not when it gets wet. Synthetic materials will hold warmth even if they get wet, although they do not pack down as well as down.

Sleeping Pad: A pad that acts as a mattress for comfort and warmth. (Closed cell foam type or backpacking air mattress). Air mattresses (Thermarests) can be heavy and may puncture during the season. Foam sleeping pads are light and very durable but there is not quite as much cushion. You will not be warm at night without one.

Water bottles: To be effective and safe you must stay hydrated. You should plan on carrying at least 3 liters of water for a day, more in the heat of the summer. You can carry some of that in a hydration bladder (Camelback/Platypus) but you should bring at least one bottle with you in case the bladder is punctured. Cheap, sturdy bottles are available most stores these days, so please do not bring an aquafina.

Multitool/Knife: You always seem to need one when you didn’t bring one. (Suggested)

Headlamp: Finding the latrine in the middle of the night can be difficult without one. Example: Black Diamond. Search the stores for one you like, they start as low as $10. Flashlights also work. Headlamps have become popular because they free your hands for other tasks. Extra batteries are also recommended.

Tupperware/eating utensils: something large enough to carry more than a sandwich. Throw a spork in there too.

Mug: hot drinks in the morning/at night can make a world of difference in your day. The plastic variety is a fair bit lighter. Coffee press mugs are also popular if you need your caffeine in the morning. (Suggested, especially if you are a fiend of the caffeine)

Journal and a couple pens: your grandkids will thank you. It is nice to record the work and your way of life in the woods. We will provide you with one for slotted journal time each week, but many people prefer to have their personal one with them as well.

Compass: (Optional) Useful to have if you know how to use it. If you don’t know how to use it upon arrival, it will be a great way to learn how.

Clothing

Base Layers: This layer pulls moisture away from the skin. Light base layers can be used in summer or winter. The mid and heavy base layers are good to have in spring, fall and winter. You should have a couple of pairs, ideally of varying weights. The most important factor is that they should not be death COTTON! Cotton holds moisture against your skin, which pulls heat away from your body. In the heat that can be nice, in the rain and snow it can be deadly. NOTE: underarmour is great for this (Or the knockoffs), sports jerseys are usually polypropylene which is what we are hoping for.

Mid-Layers: This provides you some insulation. Fleece, wool and synthetics are materials that will continue to provide warmth even when they are wet. You can have a couple of items for this layer. Some fairly light for minimal insulation and some thicker/ warmer for maximum insulation. They should fit under your rain gear.

Other layers: Bring one more layer to go over the other two and under the rain jacket. This can be a fleece/down/wool vest, jacket or hoodie.

Warm hat and gloves: Getting the stove going at 5:45am can be a chilly experience in Montana in June. Bring some pair of gloves besides your work gloves.

Belt/Suspenders: These are helpful for comfort you’d be surprised how loosely your pants fit after a week of work- WE DO NOT SUPPORT BUSTIN’ A SAG

Plenty of warm socks: your feet are one of your greatest tools, take care of them – Look for synthetic or wool socks. NO COTTON! Cotton holds moisture against your skin and can be the cause of blisters and rubs on your feet. In cold weather cotton will not keep your feet warm once they are damp.

Underwear: at least a week’s worth

Other

Toiletries: Brushing and flossing are important parts of feeling clean in the back country. Try to avoid bringing too much soap or lotion. Look for bio-degradable soap.

Packable musical instruments are great.

Sandals/Camp shoes: MCC requires sandals to have a heel strap if they are to be worn on MCC time. Flip-flops are not acceptable. It is nice to have something to change into at the end of the day.

Sunscreen and Bug spray

Camera

Whatever other personal belongings that might help you enjoy five months in one of the most amazing places on earth

Spending money for incidentals

Phone Card: You will have an opportunity to make phone calls in the middle of the hitch.