Climbing Gear

updated early 2023

I draw from this list depending on the climb. I have honed it from almost 25 years of climbing and it works for me. A means it is always in my pack from a 14er to Everest, K2. Thumbs Up yes! means it is one of my favorites pieces that works unusually well, I have taken it it on multiple climbs and is highly recommended. The prices are US list. Check out on-line retailers like Backcountry, Sierra Trading Post or eBay for better prices. Use Goggle Shopping to find lowest prices. My favorite brands include Himali, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear and Black Diamond. The links provided are for your convenience and I do not earn any money when you click on them.

Summit Coach clients receive the latest gear list based on Alan's 30 years of mountaineering.

I tend to get cold easily. The key for me staying warm is layers. However over the years, I have changed my approach to layering since I tended to have too many layers at times. Today, it is rare for me to have more than 3 layers even in the most extreme conditions. First, I always wear a knit cap and at least liner gloves when I get the least bit cool - regardless of the outside temp. Then I use a 3 layer system of Merino wool base layer (top and bottom), heavier fleece as in the Mountain Hardware Power Stretch and/or just my Patagonia Dual Point Alpine Pants depending on how cold it is that day. On my top are wind or warmth layers usually a Himali jacket. When the temps near 0F or the wind chill is below 0F, I replace the shell with my Himali plus my BD Mercury mitts. I regulate my body temperature with my top layers plus use the Buff neck gator to manage airflow from my jacket

A popular feature on the site are gear reviews. I only update when I have something new to say. They represent my experience as a regular climber - not a professional - who is not sponsored and has always paid for all my gear except in a few cases that are noted with *.

NOTE: I buy high-quality gear, take care of it and use it for years. This list represent the current versions of what I used and may not be the exact item I used on my climbs.

I'm pleased with all my current gear. For most winter outings, I am wearing merino wool base layers, Himali, pants and jackets. If very cold and windy, I add Patagonia hard-shell Gortex shell pants. I've switched alomst exclusively to Colorado based, Himali, for my jackets. They are well designed, high quality and priced fairly. I've wore them for several years now and they hold up. On my feet are the La Sportiva Nepal Evo Cube. I am mostly pleased with them but had to play with lacing and sock combo to keep my toes warm. Finally, I have settled on socks from Darn Tough - outstanding quality and value, and merino wool of course!

Alan's Gear Rules (under continuous development)

1. Use 3 layers max, unless extreme weather then add "last resort" shell
2. Layer next to skin must be merino wool - breathes, wicks and doesn't stink plus feels good.
3. Tops must have deep zips and collars - manage core temperature via venting or pull up to protect neck from sun and/or cold
4. Jacket must have hood - integral part of core warmth system also serves as a stuff bag
5. Shell leg layer must have full length zips - must to get over boots and/or crampons in a hurry in bad weather
6. Keep Neutrogena's Spectrum Plus Sunblock and Lip baum in outside pockets for easy access and frequent use
7. Always have snack in pocket for easy access. If it is a hassle to reach, you will not use it.
Same goes for camera.
8. Use stuff sacks for small items and hoods for jackets or just stuff them into the open space in your pack.
9. Always keep a 'biner or two on the outside of your pack, handy for securing loose items and emergencies.
10. Sunglasses have keeper cord and go around my neck as I leave camp, even if dark to enable quick access as sun hits.

Summit Coach clients receive the latest gear list based on Alan's 30 years of mountaineering.

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Current or Alternative Brands COMMENTS 4000m Climbs
CO & CA 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc, Elbrus
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Manaslu, Shishapangma
Base Layer - moisture wicking      
Use only Merino wool on this layer because it does not stink, wicks well and one pair of tops and bottoms can last literally weeks on a long expedition.
Long underwear Merino wool tops and bottoms

$70 - $95

Mountain Hardwear Mountain Stretch Zip Tee $80

Ibex Woolies Tech $135

Can easily be top layer. Switched from Capiline to Merino wool since it wicks and maintains warmth better. Many good brands out there - as long as it is Merino wool. Read my review X X X

Smartwool $50

Ibex Boxer $60

Icebreaker's merino wool feel great, doesn't stink and keeps me dry. Wear in summer also. Also suggest Baby Powder for added comfort.


Smartwool $20

Wigwam $25

Thorlo $14

Costco $2.50

I have settled on socks from Darn Tough - outstanding quality and value and merino wool! I wear one medium weight pair with no liner. Take your favorite socks when buying new boots. Always have a spare pair in my pack. X X X
Mid Layer - warmth through trapped air 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Shishapangma
I mostly use this layer for the coldest days or extreme altitude summit days
Fleece Bibs

Power Stretch yes!yes! $180

Black Diamond Coefficient LT One Piece $200

Used a Mountain Hardwear version but was discontinued. This version from Rab and Black Diamond are the same, except the BD has slaeves and a hood.

This layer is a must have on 6000m+ summit days. The MH Power Stretch Suit has been my secret warmth weapon and for added sleeping warmth for over 10 years. Read my review.
winter X X
Hoody Patagonia R1 Hoddy
R1 Technical Fleece yes!

Black Diamond Coefficient Quarter Zip Hoody $160

First Ascent Technical Fleece $100

Excellent warm mid layer that stays warm when wet from sweat vs lightweight down jacket. Great hood design. X X
Jacket nano air

Nano-Air Hoody yes! $300
  An great jacket from Patagonia that I sometimes use as a mid layer. It wicks, breaths and stays warm when a bit wet. Not waterproof or wind resistant in high winds adn a little bulky. x x x
Outer Layer - sun and brush protection 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Manaslu, Shishapangma
Most of the time this is my 2nd layer and I live in the same bottom for weeks but switch out tops to sleep or for a change of pace.
Full Zip Shirt

Mammut $100

Patagonia Cycling Shirt $140

One for trek in and a clean one for trek out, another dedicated for sleeping. Cycling tops work well also. I only use long selves and collars for sun protection plus zips for venting. X X

North Face: Paramount Pro Convertable $120

Mountain Hardwear: $95

Buy for comfort. Lite colors don't show dirt as bad. I have brands with zip-off legs but never use. Mostly nylon so dries quickly. Warm when used with wool base layer. X
Top Layer - wind and rain 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Shishapangma
A critical layer for protection. This is your primary layer exposed to the elements 80% of the time so buy the best you can afford and it will last for decades. Remember, you will add or subtract from this layer so think about where you climb or hike and buy for those primary conditions (snow, rain, sun, hot, cold, etc.) Forget hardshell vs softshell terms, focus on wind, rain, and snow protection plus required warmth layers.
Gortex Bibs

Alpha SV yes! $650
  Never use given latest pants from Himali and Patagonia. Use as top leg layer when winds are brutal. Full zips for easy on/off. Love Arc'Teryx gear but a bit pricey. Was a lifesaver on Aconcagua one year.   X X
Climbing Pants

Himali Guide Flex Pant
yes!yes! $138

  Incredibly comfortable design with cuff zips to accommodate boots. Material does nice job of stopping wind. Very comfortable. X X X
Climbing Pants

Altiva Alpine Pants

Mountain Hardwear Chockstone $130

Outdoor Research Ferossi Pant $89

Mid weight soft-shell pant that transition from low to high altitudes providing wind, moisture and cold protection. My only winter and expedition pants. winter X X
Rain Gear

Patagonia Rain Shadow JacketPatagonia Rain Shadow Pant
Torrent Shell Jacket $180
Torrent Shell Pant $120

Marmot PreCip $120 Jacket, $80 - Pants

Lightweight 100% waterproof shells for torrential downpours in the PNW, Kilimanjaro or Carstensz. Pants have full length zips. Can also work as a wind shell unless it's extremely cold. X X


approach only

Wind Shirt

Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell $140

Weighs nothing but gives great protection in medium wind. Love the hood. Always in my pack. Not a rain shell but surprisingly effective in a stiff breeze. Also love thre Black Diamond X X X
"Hard Shell" or Technical Shell Jacket

Patagonia:Piolet $299


Marmot Oracle $165

Mountain Hardwear: Axial $475

Arc'Teryx: Beta AR $449

Outdoor Research: Mentor $400

This serves as my primary wet weather or strongest/coldest wind shell top. Replaced heavier Gore Tex hardshell. Very warm with Himali Down jacket. Great hood. Worth the price. Works in heavy rain and wind.


below 8000M

"Soft Shell" or Technical Shell Jacket


Himali $250

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Jacket $260

The North Face Alloy $350

A solid addition to my shell collection this one has a soft feel inside and out yet sheds water and snow like a duck. Warm enough to eliminate the need for at least one layer. However, still need stronger layer in extreme winter winds. X X X
below 8000m
"Softshell" or light warmth layer

Ultralight Down Hoody $350

Marmot: Baffin $150

Outdoor Research: Mithril $200

Unbelievably lightweight yet protects from snow, wind and extreme cold. Probably the single most useful jacket I own. Great "always in your pack" jacket, good for cold and breezy conditions. Probably use 10% of the time on a climb, but 100% at lower elevations.

below 8000M
Down Layer - extreme wind and cold 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Shishapangma
This is the "your life depends on it" layer. If you are spending tens of thousands on an 8,00m climb; this layer is not the time to skimp. Buy smart but don't overpay since the gear companies know this as well. No need for huge down jackets or heavy Gore Tex if you have the proper layers underneath - even on Everest, K2, or in Antarctica.
Down Jacket

Mountain Hardwear: Absolute Zero Parka $650

Feather Friends

Volant Jacket + Hood $340

Patagonia: Das Parka $300

Lightweight, extremely warm - with hood. Four ounces of 850 down fill. Perfect all-around jacket for moderate cold and wind conditions. Probably use 70% of the time on a climb. Nice pillow when stuffed in a small pillow case from home. X X X
below 8000M
Down Jacket

Mountain Hardwear: Absolute Zero Parka $650

Feather Friends

Volant Jacket + Hood $340

Patagonia: Das Parka $300

Extremely warm - with hood. 8 ounces of 850 down fill. Perfect jacket for extreme cold and wind conditions. Probably use 20% of the time on a climb. X X X
below 8000M
Down Suit

Himali $2000

North Face Himalayas $1000

Feather Friends $1150

Used on Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Manaslu. I prefer a one piece suit - warmer since it leaves no gaps at the waistline. Used my TNF suit for 15 years, 10 expeditions.

The Mountain Hardwear suit uses waterproof down which is good for sweat control, outstanding hood system and logical, well-sized pockets. Used on K2, very pleased.


Insulated Pants

Mountain Hardware
Chugach 3D Pant yes! $130

Integral Designs: Denali Pants $240

Great for BC or colder weather.
Lightweight Polarguard pant. Could be summit gear on 7000m climbs with Gortex outer and Powerstretch base. I use for base camp pants all the time.
  X X
camp life
Head, Eyes, Feet and Hands 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Shishapangma
Glove system is critical here. I like gloves down low or when finger use is paramount and then mittens on summit day. Rig keepers and use hand warmers. Make a Buff a mandatory part of your cold weather system and use it religiously to minimize upper respiratory infections. It is a myth that 50% of your body heat escapes from the scalp so wearing a hat will keep your toes warm but I still wear and sleep with my beanie most of the time.
Wool Beanie Mountain Hardwear: Micro Dome $30

Marmot: Power Stretch beanie $25

Key to my layering system. Almost always have it on. Also works well under helmet. X X X
Wool Balaclavas and knit caps Marmot: Super Hero $55 good for head and face protection against cold and wind but rarely use unless extreme conditions. Buff or Patagonia Hoody does the job. X X X
Neck & Ear Warmer plus skull cap

Buff yes!yes! $30
  Absolutely my most frequently used piece of clothing due to it's flexibility and quality. Cover my mouth to warm cold air before breathing. Always in my pack. Read my review. X X X
Long Bill Cap

Patagonia $5 -$25
Dorfman Pacific $15 sun protection during trekking.
Long bill is good for face and eye protection.

Glacier Sun Glasses

Nose Guard

Julbo Explorer
Explorer 2.0 yes!yes! $150
Beko yes! $9

Julbo: Dolgan, Nomad $45+

Use Julbo Explorer for across all conditions and goggles as backup. Must have the side eye protection. Best with nose guard in bright snow conditions (Denali). Used on K2 with success

Ski Goggles

Smith Turbofan $160

Julbo:Excel $90

Needs to be polarized, easy on/off with 100% UV A and B.For 8000m peaks need clear and dark lens. Magnetic is best   X X
Liners, Outer and Windstopper gloves

Black Diamond: Tour $95

The North Face Kelvin $160

Designed for good dexterity when working with jumar or carabineers .Leather makes it more durable than fleece on rock.

Many good fleece windstopper gloves on the market.
Climbing Gloves rambla
Black Diamond Super Rambla Glove yes!yes! $160

Outdoor Research: Alti Gloves $150

Hestra Alpine Pro $160


Leather glove with primaloft lining that is warm, rugged and lasts forever with care. Love the durability and dexterity. Losing interest in the expensive Hestra - not warm for me. Read my review winter X X
Alpine Climbing gloves
BD Mercury Mitt
Black Diamond

Mercury Mitt yes!yes! $100
Outdoor Research: Alti Mitt $200 Great value. Must for high altitude summits to prevent frostbite but during long stretches or stops. Always in my winter pack or above 7000m+. Used on Everest, Manaslu to summit.
winter X X
Hand warmers
Hand Warmers
Little Hotties $1 Perfect to keep hands warm but count on half the time advertised for real warmth. Use adhesive one to keep camera warm X X X
Boots and Shoes 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Shishapangma
Boots are very personal and you cannot go wrong with most name brands today. But fit is unique so try them on with your favorite pair of socks, don't be afraid to return them for another size even when buying online. There is almost no break-in period with modern boots; you just break your feet into your boot! Also shop for best prices online and don't overpay unless you buy them from your local retailer who provides exquisite personal service. Don't overlook Used Overboots as a warmth option - it works well and saves money over buying multiple boots.
Sandals for base camp

Tevas and Crocs
$20 - $80
SwimOutlet relief from boots in mild weather and stream crossings in warmer weather      
base camp Boots Ugg Boots

Bloke $130

North Face: McMurdo $120


Sheepskin lined boots that are warm and comfortable. These are my only shoes at 8000m BC where gear is hauled in.   X X
ice climbing and alpine mountaineering boots

Lowa: Civetta

Asolo: AFS 8000 $465

Finally switched to modern mountaineering boots with La Sportiva Nepal Evo Cube. This is the latest version of the popular Nepal Evo. They are lighter, warmer and have a solid footing. A bit stiff so slightly cumbersome on rock. Good crampon fit.
X X  

Amazing warmth when worn over double plastic boots.
Used on Denali with Koflachs and Kaylands. Only use with crampons or snowshoes since soles are fabric and not Vibram.

Great solution to heavy 7000/8000m boots that are overkill down low but need warmth up high.

  X X
High Altitude Alpine climbing

Millet: Everest, K2, GTX yes!

Lowa:Expedition 8000 RD GTyes! $1000

Scarpa: Phantom 8000 $940

Integrated boot and gaiter high altitude and extreme cold. Carefully consider sizing since feet swell at altitude. The latest 2016 versions are far superior with improved zippers, filling and soles. Much lighter as well. Used on K2, Lhotse very pleased.  



Lightweight trekking shoes
Kayland, Sorrel, La Sportiva, Montrail

Asolo: Flame GTX

Vasque: Breeze $110

Patagonia Nomad $185

Never use the heavy leather boots anymore but still like high ankle support. Lots of good boots, select based on fit. Don't like velcro laces however.

MSR: Evo Ascent $210

Like the larger shoes for more"float" when carrying heavy loads. But the MSRs are a bit lighter and easier to use and has heel lifter for hills. X Denali  


Feathered Friends: Down Booties $90

relief from boots in the tent and to stay warm in sleeping bag.The Forty Below are excellent and worth the price. Add their sheepskin insoles for added warmth and comfort. LIke to wear them inside 8000m boots without liners around camp. A must have for all expeditions or even weekend camping or Sunday football games at home!
  X X
Foot Warmers

Power Plus m4e $200

ThermaCELL Proflex Heavy Duty. $85 - $200 Battery powered footbed warmers designed for skiing but used by many climbers. Used on Everest, K2, and Manaslu but battery ran out. Good warm socks may be easier solution!     X
Collapsible ski poles

REI: Traverse Powerlock $90


trekking, helps wear on knees.
Look for snap locks, not twist like on Leki. Use only one these days. Read my review.
Sleeping Gear 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Shishapangma
I prefer down over synthetic and have never had an issue with it getting wet but I don't live in a rainy area. Don't waste your money on a -40F/C sleeping bag, get -20F if needed and adjust your clothing inside the bag. Splurge on an excellent pad - the weight tradeoff is not worth a good night's sleep.
0F/-18C Down bag

Mountain Hardwear
Phantom 0 yes!yes! $620


Marmot: Snow Bunting $600


use at lower camps or higher with other clothing.
Very light at under 3 lbs. A down filled bag. I actually use this for High Camps and the -20 for BC. Used on Aconcagua, Everest, K2, Manaslu and Elbrus successfully



-20F/-28C Down bag
Mountain Hardwear Wraith
Mountain Hardwear
Phantom -40Fyes!yes! $900

Western Mountaineering: Puma MF $970

Feather Friends: Ptarmigan $760


very cold nights, used at High Camps or BC.Very expensive but has 800 fill waterproof Down, excellent features like hood, collar, foot box and baffle design. 4lb 8oz - good weight for -20 bag
Used -20F version on Vinson, Everest, K2, Manaslu and Denali successfully.



Foam mat
Z-Lite pad
Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite yes!yes! $35
  protection from snow, cold and rocks.
Z-lite seems to pack smaller than roll versions. Carry 2 - BC and High Camps.
insulated pad

yes! $40 - $200
ExPed Down Mat
yes! $180

Big Agnes Dual Core $150

Thermarest Neoair $130

Thermarest NeoAir X-Therm ($200) is amazingly comfy and light and packable. Use on all camps above basecamp. Worth the money

Thermarest is solid. Love the ExPed for basecamp as it is more comfy but weighs more. Worth the money

Full length, don't cheat with 2/3's length to save weight. Take 2- BC and High Camps. Used these on K2, Everest very pleased.

Pee bottle
Nalgene Canteen
Naglene Canteen for men $7
Freshette for women
  Pee inside your bag or tent.
Pick different shape for easy grab in the dark. Large capacity 2L is best. A must!
  X X
Climbing Equipment 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Manaslu, Shishapangma
Buy the best and never cheat. Your life literally depends on this gear.
BD Tracer
Black Diamond

Tracer $90

Petzl: Elios $70

Petzl Ecrin Roc $80

rock climbing or dangerous or crowded areas.
Use on almost all climbs today mainly due to climbers above me. Tracer got crushed in duffle by airlines. Ecrin roc heavier but dependable!


Black Diamond Choas
Black Diamond

Chaos $75

Petzel: Pandion $65

Black Diamond: Alpine Bod $40

Black Diamond: Ozone $100

attaching to ropes and pro
Comfortable climbing harness with gear loops. Chaos is overkill for alpine climbs but I like the leg strap construction and assembly.
Short Ice Axe for ice climbing
Black Diamond Cobra
Black Diamond
Petzl: Quark $490 pair ice climbing
Cobras are lightweight, well balanced and incredibly effective. Read my review
depends on route
depends on route
depends on route
Long 75 cm Ice Axe for alpine climbs  

Grivel: G12/14

Petzel: Snowalker $90


steep ice and snow on alpine routes.
lighter shaft and clean picks. I am 5'11" so 70 cm was right length for me. Tape the top with duck tape and foam to prevent cold transfer to hands.
Climbing rope and slings

Blue Water

monitor for wear and ultraviolet light problems ... your life depends on it. X X X

Black Diamond
Sabertooth Pro, Cyborg
yes!yes! $170, $200

Grivel: G12/14

Petzel: Vasak Leverlock $165

steep ice and snow.
Like the stainless steel - doesn't rust. Sabertooth Pro for alpine climbing. Cyborg best choice for steep ice or mixed rock/ice.

MICROspikes $50
Yaktrax $60 traction for any footwear. Very convenient when crampons are too much but you still need some extra purchase. Warning - they seem to break easily have gone through multiple pairs. See my review X    
Locking carabineers
Snap-link carabineers

Omega Pacific


attaching to ropes. locking, twisting, snap. Get BD Nitron use keylock nose for easy fixed line use, no snags. X X X
Figure of 8 descender & ATC Mammut rappelling fixed ropes. Nice to have Super 8 for iced ropes and knots. X X X
Ascender jumar with leashes

Petzel $60
Black Diamond: Nforce $70 climbing fixed ropes and protection. Can use with BD Mercury mitts. X X X
Headlamp with lithium batteries

Black Diamond: Ion $20

Quad BL $35

Petzel: Tikka $34

Mammut: Lucido TX1

BD Storm offers twice the brightness at 100 lumens and has very useful dim feature. A torch is always in my pack. Used on Everest, K2, etc.
Carrying and Shelter 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Manaslu, Shishapangma
I have used several brands of packs over the years and have reached the conclusion that there are many solid models out there from the major companies at great prices: Mountain Hardwear, Gregory, Arc'Teryx, Lowe and others. Don't ever waste your money on a custom pack, ever. Be careful of weight but a light weight pack will not carry heavy loads and tire you out faster. So for Denali, get a beefy one, for Everest, K2, , go light. There are so many tent options these days it is confUsed. Be careful about how you will use it, number of people, since size does matter as does weight. Double vs single wall - depends on the amount of rain you camp in.
Day or Summit Pack

Flash 18 Pack $30
  This is a small, lightweight pack that is ideal for short summit climbs or day trips. It holds a hydration bladder plus the 10 essentials. Note: not good in heavy rain so use trash bag as liner. Read my review X    
Trekking Pack

Black Diamond
30L Speed yes! $149

Dueter: Guide Lite 32 $116

Crux: ak37 $260

The Black Diamond Speed is a great summit pack, daypack for ice climbing, an overnight climb or just a walk-up.

Climbing Pack
Aether 85 yes!
5200 cu in/85l $279
MH SouthCol Pack
Mountain Hardwear South Col yes!yes!
70L $213



Gregory: Denali Pro $500

Black Diamond Mission 75 $230

Lowe Alpine: TFX Expedition $295

Alpine Luddites for custom packs

These two packs are flexible and comfortable, better than most including expensive custom packs. Unless you have a really specific need such as unusual dimensions or want to shave every, tiny ounce off the pack or need some extremely special configuration, then off the shelf packs are a better value. Consider Alpine Luddites Have used both on the 7 Summits with the Osprey my goto for huge loads e.g. Denali. Read my review and South Col for Everest, etc. X X X
Duffle for air and yak transport

Mountain Hardwear: Expedition$130

Patagonia: Black Hole $150

The North Face Base Camp Duffel $180

Get the heaviest fabric to avoid tearing by luggage handlers and the largest size available. Put axes sharp ends in water bottle. Double bag powders. Put itinerary and gear list inside bag for TSA and use TSA approved locks. Used on all climbs successfully. X X X

Mountain Hardwear: Trango $625

Hilleberg: Nallo GT $720

recently switched to Black Diamond HiLight Tent - light weight (3 pounds), roomy for 1, bomber design for all kinds of weather. Used on Rainier in 2015

TNF VE-25 is still the best expedition BC tent ever but a little heavy at 12lbs. Lots of imitations from China these days including Kailas - decent but not same build quality.

The Big Agnes Seedhouse Series is very nice 3 Season - inexpensive and lightweight. Read my review

Mountain Hardwear tents also very good, especially the Trango series - heavy but bomber. Don't like EV series - heavy and poor venting in experience on Shishapangma

Hilleberg expensive and rock solid.



Accessories & Misc. 4000m Climbs
Colorado, California 14ers, Rainier, Mont Blanc
6000-7000m Climbs
Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua
8000m Climbs
Everest, K2, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Manaslu, Shishapangma

Optimus Crux
MSR Dragon Fly or XGK-EX ~$145


MSR Reactor
yes!yes! $160

Canisters are easier but not as efficient at extreme altitude plus the waste and leakage issues.

White gas burns hotter and is easier to manage at altitude like Denali.

Used MSR Reactor on K2 - excellent

Count on 1 liter fuel per person per week








Water bottles and bladders



MSR Dromedary Bag

Love the 1.5L CamelBak Chute bottle for getting a lot of water in without leaks or spills. Get different shape and color for pee bottle!Have had recent problems with Nalgene cracking and leaking.

Double insulated Camelback Stoaway. Great for putting in pack for long cold days and not freezing, and hot ones! Holds almost 3 liters. Use with CamelBak Elixir TAblets for constant hydration and electrolyte replacement
Water Purification
SteriPEN $100
Sawyer Squeeze Filter
Simple and sometimes effective water purification Used ultraviolet light. Steripen failed on Aconcagua so don't use anymore on critical climbs. X X X
Bottle Parka 40Below
Must have for the Nalgene when at altitude or in deep freeze environments X X X

Thermos $35
  must use at altitude to prevent frozen water bottles . Hot tea is wonderful during breaks high up!   X X
Stuff Sacks stuff sacks

Granite Gear $20-$50

Sea to Summit

Keep gear organized but use jacket hood as it's sack.   X X


An absolute must in 3rd world countries. Bring several pocket size bottles and always keep with you. keep hands clean without water. teeth, hair, nails, etc. Don't forget Toilet Paper! I use the moist wipes instead of TP. Eye shades needed for Denali, ear plugs (with cord)for noisy tent mates X X X
See a qualified physician!
  Make sure you consult with a qualified physician who has experience with altitude. Your regular family physician may not be qualified for a discussion on high altitude issues. Also, taking information from the internet is dangerous. It may take some work but seek a qualified physician. X X X
First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits
band-aids, gauze, moleskin, tape, iodine


always have small version with me X X X
Sun and lip protection   must have and must use liberally on lips, face, nose, ears, hands. Sunblock must protect against UVA and UVB. Neutrogena's UVA/UVB Sunblock Lotion is excellent. Always in my pack. X X X
Pocket knife / leatherman Spyderco: Ambitious G-10 $45
Buck Redpoint $38
Trango Piranha $20
Petzel Spatha $27 Leatherman $50
Must have for emergencies or food prep. attach to harness for quick access Leatherman nice to have for repairs. Get newest lightweight model. X X X
Drywipes Wet Ones $0.10 workaround when no shower
must have on any trip longer then 2 weeks. I use the Wet Ones as TP at camp and the tougher Action Wipes for general clean-up.
  X X
Paperback books       X X X
Altitude watch

Suunto Vector
$200 - $500
  Time, alarm and altitude
fairly accurate plus I can replace the battery. Love the log feature. Need to reset altitude daily. Alarm is weak and not useful.
Shortwave Radio

P 2000 $80
  for staying current in remote places.
Excellent for BBC and VOA. External wire for antenna improves reception. Take transistor to Denali for NPR for Anchorage
  X X
Digital Camera Capturing those great memories
use big zoom DSLR 200mm optical during approach and smaller point and shoot while climbing. Use several 4GB cards for safety, not one. Use video on point and shoot. See my Photography page.
Emergency Tracker Inreach
Garmin InReachyes! $400+


SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger

Have replaced SPOT with InReach as it allows for custom messages plus current GPS location. X X X
GPS   easy, full featured navigation tool.
X X  
Compass     Liquid filled with mirror. when all else fails, set for return to camp X X X
Small Towel     I always forget!   X X
Music & Videos   gota have. iPods of all types are must popular for music, Podcasts and videos. Load it up before you leave and enjoy at night and rest days. X X X
Etymotic Earbuds
Etymotic Research HF5 yes!
  Excellent sound quality(and bass) but also doubles as outstanding ear plugs for noisy nights. Perfect for long plane rides as well. X X X
Energizer Lithium $2 yes!
  no tunes or lights without power. Lithium are best for cold. Take a lot. Buy in bulk online X X X
Bag for storage at hotel on expeditions     include a lock and white medical tape and felt pen for labeling   X X
Energy Bars and Gels
Honey Stinger
Honey Stinger
Bars, Gels and Chews yes!yes!
  The only 'energy' product I have used where I can feel a boost. All natural honey digest easily and does not spike. Everyone is different but these work for me. X X X
Electrolyte Replacement Camelbak Elixir

Camelbak yes!
Nuun ~$1 per L


Electrolyte replacement.
Adds a little taste to plain water but keeps your system in balance. Always use on every hike or climb. A bit pricey but worth it
Cup and Bowl
Stanley CupRubbermaid Bowlspoon
Stanley Cup $15
Bowl $10
Spoon $1


I like the Stanley nested cups with lid, the simple Rubbermaid tupperware bowl to eat with Lexan big spoon. Unbreakable and holds big potions. All easy to clean with snow or grit! X X X
The 10+ Essentials     Extra clothing, Map, Water, Food, Compass, Headlamp with extra batteries/bulbs, First-aid kit, Sunglasses, Pocket knife, Sunscreen, Matches in waterproof container and firestarter PLUS Cell/Sat Phone, pencil/paper, whistle, space blanket X X X
Technology - Hardware to Communicate Email, Dispatches
Hand held Radio   Excellent hand held radio that is lightweight, reliable and battery stingy.
Satellite Phone

Thuraya yes!yes! $600 - $1000
Iridium $1200+
  Coverage only in Asia, Middle East, Western Europe not Northern but more reliable then Iridium and Globalstar in my experience. Sign up with Fone Recharge for easy purchase of minutes from the phone. Per minute rates vary but are less than 1US$/minute. They have ISP service so you simply dial 1722 and your surfing at 9600 baud! Bgan is great at BC for fast data only transfers. Iridium is true global solution but very spotty in high mountains - use Thuraya if you have a choice.
Warning: Thuraya SIMs must be renewed annually so verify your subscription before leaving home.
Solar Panel



Goal Zero


Amazingly simple and effective. Make sure you calculate all the amperage needed for all devices laptops, camera, iPods, etc. Usually you use panel to charge a battery then recharge devices from the battery . I used the Feather 20 to keep my Sat phone charged - carried it with me in my day pack and to High Camps - very lightweight. Can recharge anything with a 12V car adaptor. Look at Anker, for best value in solar. Click here for an excellent tutorial on solar panels
12V 7ma Battery

gel cell
, approved for air transport
  Must for cloudy days when panel will not work. Motorcycle size for limited charging. Full size for heavy use. Again, understand your amp load or you will be short. and Power-Sonic are good source for most of the power items listed on this page.
DC-AC Converter   recharge laptop from battery. make sure the converter provides enough amps. Most Laptops need 3ma or more. Highly recommend testing extensively before you leave home Used the solar panel and battery combos!

Various $5 - $25
  You will need all sorts of male and female 12V cigarette lighter style and alligator clip cables to connect everything. Powerportstore is a good source.
Mini, Netbooks and Notebook Computer

Apple MacBook Air

Apple MacBookAir yes!yes! $1500


Various HP, Dell, etc.


Perfect for traveling and base camp. At 3lbs, thin and light, I used the solid state MacBook Air for 7 Summits successfully. Some people like Google ChromeBook. Use Parallels software to run Windows programs if needed on the Mac - excellent. Never take moving disc (HDD) since it will fail at altitude.
Multi-Meter   must have for trouble shooting. Bring at least three extra fuses for every fuse type you have. Also wire nuts, electrical tape and a variety of small screwdrivers
Technology - Software
Blogging Server


Free software that runs on your server and enables automatic posting from PDA or PC. Be careful for bandwidth usage.
Audio Dispatch   low cost service that links to your website or Blog allowing you to call a US number, leave a message and in less than a minute the world hears your voice on your site.
Always in my pack or on me from a 14er to Everest, K2,
Clothing Eating and Food   Misc WInter
Socks Water   pencil/paper Ice Axe
Rain Pants Energy Bars , Hydration Tablets   Cell/Sat Phone Crampons
Soft Shell & Wind Shirt TP   Map Shovel
(depending on terrain)
Hoody Survival   Compass
Warm Gloves space blanket or Bivy Sack   First Aid Kit
Neck Buff, skull hat and cap Matches, Lighter, Fire Starter   iPod :-) and earbuds
Sunglasses Whistle   Digital Camera
Sunscreen, lip balm Pocket Knife    
shoelace, 10' line Headlamp + batteries    

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