The following list has been refined from years of experience. All items are REQUIRED, aside from those on the optional list at the bottom of the page. It will also be helpful to keep a few of these tips in mind as you shop and pack to ensure an enjoyable experience: 

Quest Participant Gear List



  • Underestimating the range of weather conditions. There will be hot, sunny days (70’s to 90’s) and cold (30’s to 40’s) nights. It will rain!

  • Bringing too much gear. All personal gear, group gear and food must fit in one medium sized pack. Additional personal items are permitted, but extra ounces add up quickly!



  • Polyester, fleece, Capilene®, Synchilla®, Polartec®, and other equivalent fabrics are all light weight, quick-drying synthetics. These are ideal for the outdoors, as they insulate even when wet.

  • Wool can also keep you warm while wet, although it is slow to dry.

  • Cotton will NOT insulate while wet, and is extremely slow to dry. Consequently, cotton is not permitted for many layers, as designated below.

  • The WEIGHTS of fabrics for some layers are specified. "Light" layers should NOT be substituted for "medium" or "heavy" articles of clothing.



  • You must have all of the required QUEST gear prior to arriving on campus for the beginning of the program.

  • The key to staying warm in the wilderness is layering. You will need at least 3 insulating layers plus a wind/rain layer, which must fit comfortably over each other so they can be worn at the same time if necessary.

  • For women: The stress of outdoor living can dramatically alter menstrual cycles. Bring enough tampons/pads for two cycles.

  • For eyeglass wearers: participants must bring an extra pair of glasses. Contacts are ok for QUEST as long as they don’t require extensive care. Bring an extra pair of glasses in addition to extra contacts in case of eye irritation that makes wearing contacts uncomfortable. Consider bringing sunglasses that will clamp on, or fit over, your prescription glasses.



Each Quest group will carry a fully stocked first aid kit with over-the-counter medications to help manage symptoms such as headaches, congestions, allergies, etc. that may arise over the course of the program. However, if you are prone to allergies, etc., and prefer a specific brand of medication, we recommend that you bring it. Note: medication for menstrual cramps is not provided.

All prescription medication must be listed on your medical form. 

If taking any medication regularly, including birth control, check with your doctor about possible side effects from spending five or eleven days in a wilderness environment.

Check with your physician, but if possible do not increase or decrease medication for depression, anxiety, etc. (Prozac, Zoloft, etc.) immediately before or during QUEST. The program is stressful physically and emotionally, and the effects of significant changes in these medications could be amplified.

If you experience any reoccurring infections (ear, yeast, urinary, etc.) note it on your medical form and bring the appropriate medication.

"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self preservation."
-Audre Lorde