Equipment FAQ

1. I didn’t request to rent a backpack and/or sleeping bag earlier on the application form. Can I do so now?

Yes! Contact the FOOT summer coordinators.
*Students who already qualify for financial aid can rent a backpack and/or sleeping bag without charge.

2. FOOT is too expensive! Do I have to buy ALL that equipment on the list?

No! While on FOOT, you will be sweaty and dirty; it is not the time to look cool with all new equipment and all new clothes. As a matter of fact, the most experienced of backpackers know that ragged, comfortable, and functional items are the most useful. Don’t buy a new wool sweater! Bring hand-me-downs or the one that your dad got for his birthday but never wears. No need to buy nylon straps! Bring rope that is lying around your garage. No need to buy Nalgene bottles! Empty Gatorade bottles will do. The equipment list serves as a comprehensive guideline for what to bring, but it is possible to substitute items and still have a successful trip. In addition, feel free to contact us regarding any equipment you do not have—we may be able to help brainstorm substitutes or find some extra equipment in New Haven!

Suggestions for the most expensive equipment:

  • Rent or borrow a backpack and sleeping bag.
  • Buy an inexpensive sleeping pad at Wal-Mart or Target. Anything that will keep you insulated from the ground while sleeping will do.
  • Buy inexpensive, but comfortable, boots. Find boots on clearance, on sale, or at the army-navy store.
    • If you don’t have hiking boots, good work boots or strong running sneakers will also work! Hiking boots are preferred because they tend to be more supportive and waterproof, but either of these options will make do. Make sure they are solid enough for climbing rocks, supportive for your ankles, and comfortable for your feet. Most importantly, break them in! Students who buy new boots without breaking them in are guaranteed to have the most painful blisters they’ve ever had.

3. Can I bring my own backpack?

Yes, but make sure it has a frame, either external or internal. Also, make sure the waist belt fits comfortably around your entire waist. Capacity should be at least 55L (65L preferred). And above all else, make sure it is comfortable while completely filled; you will be carrying your backpack with all your clothes and extra group gear, so make sure you’re comfortable!

  • I rented a backpack. When do I transfer my belongings?

Your FOOT leaders will help you transfer the belongings when you arrive on campus in August, so just bring all your equipment with you in a duffle bag. If you are missing any important items, your FOOT leader will take you shopping (on your expense). Packing backpacks is an art, so please let your FOOT leaders help you out!

4. How heavy is a backpack?

It depends on how much you bring, how much group gear you are carrying, and how much water you are carrying, but on average, a full backpack can weigh anywhere from 30 to 40 pounds.

That might seem heavy, but we will help you fit the backpack so the weight is distributed evenly. Also, we will show you how to put on something that heavy without hurting your back!

5. What sizes of backpacks do you have for rent?

The backpacks are fully adjustable, so they can fit a wide range of body sizes, but the general sizing is described below:
Small = 5’5” and below, Medium = 5’6” to 5’10”, Medium-Large = 5’10” and 5’11”, and Large = 6’ and up
Your FOOT leaders will spend time helping you choose and adjust your backpack to make sure it fits correctly.

6. Does the rental sleeping bag come with a stuff sack?

Yes, but it doesn’t hurt to bring another stuff sack to keep your sleeping bag extra dry and to have another bag available for hanging our food up in bear bags.