Into The Crater Hike & Base Camp Packing List

This is a suggested equipment list, utilized by MSHI guides, staff, volunteers, and participants. 


  • Sleeping bag:  Down or Synthetic fill, rated to 30° or below
  • Sleeping pad: Foam or inflatable.
  • Camp shoes: e.g. Gym shoes, crocs
  • Sleep clothes, change of clothes
  • Tent, Sleeper Vehicle, or Small Camper: Please, no generators.
  • Anything and everything to make yourself feel comfortable

Hiking Attire:

Wear synthetic (polyester, polypropylene, nylon, or acrylic) clothing. NO COTTON! Cotton clothing is not appropriate for climbing Mount St. Helens. When cotton becomes wet from precipitation and/or sweat, it will not dry out and will not keep you warm. Wet cotton is not only uncomfortable but also hazardous (Polyester/Cotton blend OK.) Dress in layers in order to be able to control your temperature while hiking as well as resting.

  • Boots: Sturdy waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support (mid-high top) are imperative. Running shoes are not appropriate for climbing Mount St. Helens. 
  • Socks: Polyester or wool hiking socks. Optional liner socks help with insulation, as well as reduce the risk of blisters.
  • Gaiters: Helps keep ash and snow out of your boots
  • Long Sleeve Base Layer: Synthetic or wool
  • Upper Body Mid Layer: Polyester fleece jacket or down jacket
  • Rain Jacket: e.g. Waterproof Gore Tex Jackets
  • Rain Pants: e.g. Waterproof Gore Tex
  • Synthetic Pants: e.g. Polyester zip-off pants, hiking pants
  • Bottom Base Layer: Polyester or wool
  • Gloves: Warm and waterproof, e.g. thin liner gloves and waterproof shell
  • Warm Hat
  • Sun Hat: e.g. baseball hat
  • Sunglasses: Close fitting to keep out windblown ash and snow reflection


(Approx. 30 liter backpack)

  • 3-4 liters of water: Filled bottles or hydration bladder. Optional electrolyte drinks
  • Lunch and Snacks: All meals are provided on this trip
  • Toiletries
    • Sunscreen and spf lip balm (SPF 30 and above)
    • Small First Aid Kit (this includes your own personal prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and blister care. Bring extra prescription meds in case of unexpected delays)
  • Headlamp or flashlight, with extra set of batteries
  • Bandana: Cotton OK
  • Extra Clothing Layers and Socks: Pack them in a dry-bag or garbage bag if weather shows wet conditions
  • Pocket Knife or Multi-tool
  • Adjustable trekking poles (optional)
  • Camera (optional)