While you may have much of the personal gear needed already, you might need to buy at least some new gear, including one or more of the “Four Expensive Essentials.” While good gear can be expensive, by shopping around you can outfit yourself with quality equipment at a reasonable cost.

Backpacking Boots – a good pair of lightweight backpacking boots that fit well while wearing heavy outer wool socks and light inner polypropylene socks. Although not absolutely necessary, waterproof boots are nice to have if you can afford them. Boots, three pairs of outer socks, and three pairs of inner socks come to about $150.

Sleeping Bag and Mat – a good synthetic sleeping bag rated for at least 20 degrees and weighing 3 pounds or less, with a mat. The bag should stuff into a small stuff sack. Don’t forget to line the stuff sack with a plastic trash bag for extra protection against getting wet. Sleeping bag with stuff sack comes to about $100. Excellent ground mats or pads can be purchased for about $25. This combination will provide for a comfortable sleep plus plenty of insulation from the ground.

Rain Suit with Jacket and Pants – a sturdy, lightweight rain suit, both jacket and pants, with plenty of ventilation. Good rain suits can be purchased for about $50. A poncho will not do as the weather changes degrees in only a few minutes is not uncommon. The rain suit not only keeps you dry, it provides an insulation barrier to help keep you warm and prevent hypothermia. A poncho does not provide that protection.

Backpack – a rugged backpack with plenty of capacity for carrying your personal gear as well as water and your share of crew gear and food. External frame backpacks should have a capacity of about 4000 cubic inches. 4800 cubic inches for an internal frame backpack should do it. When selecting a backpack, the weight of the backpack itself is very important and should not be overlooked. Good backpacks weighing 5 pounds or less are available for approximately $100. However, if you already own or simply prefer an internal frame pack, it will serve you equally well.

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