BackcountryGirls Suggested Packing List


Please wear synthetic (polyester, polypropylene, nylon, or acrylic) clothing. NO COTTON! Cotton clothing is not appropriate for backpacking around 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. 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 the Loowit Trail.
  • Camp Shoes: Lightweight running shoes, sandals with a back strap, or crocs. We may use them for creek crossings as well.
  • 2-3 Pairs Socks: Polyester or wool hiking socks. Optional liner socks help with insulation, as well as reduce the risk of blisters.
  • 1-2 Short Sleeve Shirt: Synthetic or wool
  • 1 Long Sleeve Base Layer Shirt: Synthetic or wool
  • 1 Upper Body Warm Layer: Polyester fleece jacket, synthetic jacket, or down jacket
  • Rain Jacket: e.g. Waterproof Gore Tex Jacket
  • Rain Pants: e.g. Waterproof Gore Tex Rain Pants
  • 1 pair Synthetic Shorts: Hiking or Athletic shorts, can be part of zip-off hiking pants
  • 1 pair Synthetic Pants: e.g. Synthetic zip-off pants or hiking pants
  • 1 Bottom Base Layer: Polyester or wool long underwear
  • 1 Pair Gloves: Warm, e.g. thin liner gloves or fleece gloves
  • Warm Hat: Beanie
  • Sun Hat: e.g. baseball hat or full brim hat
  • Sunglasses: Close fitting to keep out windblown ash, preferably with string retainer (i.e. croakies) and case
  • 2-3 Pairs Underwear (Cotton OK)


Backpack: (Approx. 45-55 liter backpack)

  • 2 Lt Water Vessels: At least 1 hard-sided water bottle, can combine with water bladders as well
  • Sunscreen and spf lip balm (SPF 30 and above)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Wet wipes (optional: not a huge pack, just as few as you need in a ziploc)
  • Headlamp, with extra set of batteries
  • 1-2 Bandanas: Cotton OK
  • 1-2 Trash Bags: For water-proofing clothes on the inside
  • 3-4 Small Plastic Bags: To pack out trash. For those who menstruate, line an empty coffee bag or opaque paper sack to pack out tampons/pads
  • Whistle: One that is detachable from your backpack
  • Adjustable trekking poles (optional: MSHI has some to lend out, please email with request.)
  • Camera (optional)



  • Sleeping Bag: At least 35 degree Mummy bag style, liner bag optional.
  • Sleeping Pad: Foam roll or inflatable, a ¾ length pad is sufficient and can help cut down on weight. 
  • Small Insulated Mug: For hot drinks in the morning and evening
  • Bowl: Plastic, rubber, collapsible, or a Tupperware works great
  • Spoon or Spork
  • Pocket Knife or Multi-tool, (optional: must be approved by Instructor)
  • Book: (optional: small paperback or kindle in protective case)
  • Notebook: Small notebook and writing utensil for sketching and writing


**Remember you will still need room in your backpack to carry 5-10lbs of group gear, or about the size of a basketball**


Group Gear Provided by MSHI: This gear will be divided equitably among the group along with group food the first day of our trip.

  • Tents
  • 2 Stoves and Fuel
  • 2 Dromedary Water Bags for camp
  • Pots and Utensils for cooking
  • Water Filtration and Purification
  • Toilet Paper and Soap
  • Maps, Compass, and GPS
  • Emergency Radio
  • Emergency First Aid Kit