Tips for Packing



You will be living outside, so having the right clothing is important for your comfort and safety.  There could be rain, hot sun, or strong winds on your course.  Our clothing list reflects the importance of the “layering” principle.  Dressing in several light layers rather than one heavy layer allows you more flexibility as the weather and workloads change. Please review this checklist carefully and make sure you have all the required items.  There is very limited space in the minibus and in your backpacks, so please bring only what is on this list.


Saving Money

You do not need to buy all gear at camping stores or specialty stores.  You can find many of these items at discount outdoor stores, or at thrift stores such as Goodwill.  If you do not have any items on the list and wish to borrow from BOLD & GOLD, please contact Will Gilmore ASAP at (803) 222-2850 or


Group Gear

BOLD & GOLD will provide all group camping gear – see pg. 3.  There is no need to pack any of this prior to your trip.


Gear Check

We will check your gear before we depart to make sure you have everything you need and nothing you do not.  We may ask you to leave something behind to be stored securely in our office if we think it will be unnecessary or inappropriate.



If you are on any medication, prescribed or over the counter, we need to know about it. Please indicate it on your medical form. Any medication must be approved before your course begins. If it is approved, make sure to bring double the amount you need in separate waterproof, non-breakable containers with dosage instructions. If you use an inhaler, please bring an extra in case one is lost or broken. Instructors will keep all medications with them.  If you need epinephrine, please bring a kit with you.



No alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes are allowed during any time of our course. If such items are found in a student’s possession, it will be grounds for expulsion and immediate evacuation from course at the family’s expense.



Cotton is not a good fabric for the outdoors because it will not keep you warm when it gets wet, and it takes a very long time to dry.  Also, avoid any blends with cotton.  PLEASE CHECK YOUR TAGS!

Wool, fleece (aka pile), capilene, and polypropylene (100% polyester) are good fabrics for the outdoors!

Note: Only t-shirts, underwear, and bandanas should be cotton.


The Packing List


BOLD & GOLD has limited quantities of most of the following gear to loan for personal use at no additional fee. If you don’t have something, contact Will Gilmore at 803.222.2850 or

Download Packing List


  • 1 Warm Hat: wool, fleece, or polypropylene
  • 1 Sun Hat: baseball cap or wide-brim hat
  • 1 Pair Sunglasses: with a neck strap if possible


Upper Body

Upper body clothing should consist of three insulating layers that will fit comfortably over each other plus a rainproof/windproof layer.

  • 1 Lightweight Long Underwear Top: polypropylene (100% polyester).
  • 1 Warm Pullover or Sweater: polyester, fleece, or wool.
  • 1 Waterproof Rain Jacket: 100% waterproof, not water resistant! Must have a hood.
  • 4 Short-Sleeve Tee-Shirts: preferably synthetic but cotton is okay- we will be providing one upon the start of the course.
  • *GOLD SPECIFIC* – 2-4 Sport Bras (if worn): jog/sport bras are generally preferred (+)


Lower Body

Lower body clothing should consist of two insulating layers plus a durable wind/rain layer.

  • 1 Pair Long Underwear Bottoms: polypropylene (100% polyester).
  • 1 Pair Synthetic Long Pants: synthetic quick dry material.
  • 1 Pair Rain Pants: 100% waterproof, not water resistant! Coated nylon or waterproof/breathable fabric.
  • 1-2 Pairs Shorts: Lined, nylon athletic or running shorts work great. No jean cutoffs or cotton.
  • 5-7 Pairs Underwear: cotton is okay, although, synthetic with cotton lining is preferred. (+)



  • 2 Pairs Lightweight Liner Socks: Polypropylene (or polyester). OPTIONAL. (+)
  • 5-6 Pairs of Socks: wool or synthetic. (+)
  • 1 Pair Light-Medium Weight Hiking Boots: Boots should be well broken in with solid ankle support and good treads. If you are just buying boots, make sure to do some hiking in the boots well before the trip. Also, feel free to bring them by the office if you want a staff member to ensure they are appropriate for this trip. These boots are critical to your being comfortable while backpacking.
  • 1 Pair of Sport Sandals: Sandals need to be securely fastened over heel (no flip flops).


Miscellaneous Clothing

  • 1 Pair Gloves: suggested if the trip is in Fall-Spring; light-weight fleece or polypropylene.
  • 2-3 Bandanas: cotton is ok.
  • 1 Swimming Suit: nylon blends are the best.



  • Synthetic Sleeping Bag (+25° or warmer): no cotton-lined, down, or feather bags.
  • Compression Stuff Sack: to compress and store sleeping bag.
  • Sleeping Pad: a three-quarter or full-length open or closed-cell foam pad.
  • Daypack/Book Backpack: to carry your personal items for any day hiking, many backpacking packs have a detachable “brain” (the top part of the pack) that can be used as a day pack.
  • 1 Large Internal-Framed Backpack: 3500-4500 cubic inches (60-75L) with adjustable straps and hip belt. YMCA Camp Cherokee has backpacks for participants to use, so don’t feel you have to go purchase this item!


Personal Items

  • 2 Water Bottles: durable plastic, wide-mouthed, at least a quart or liter each (Nalgene-type)
  • Eating utensils: one spoon, one plastic bowl or Tupperware with lid, and one plastic mug.
  • 1 Headlamp: with extra batteries
  • Whistle with neck strap: string or cord for the neck strap works fine. To be worn at all times
  • 3-4 Heavy Duty Trash Bags: to keep clothes and sleeping bag dry
  • 2-3 Large Ziploc freezer bags: to waterproof items
  • 1 Small Towel: quick-dry synthetic pack towels are ideal, but a small cotton hand towel is fine
  • Small Journal and Pen or Pencil
  • Toilet Kit: toothbrush, toothpaste, comb or brush
  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm: SPF 15 minimum
  • Insect repellent: small/personal size
  • 2 Pair Prescription eyewear: if necessary – don’t forget your case, and saline/cleaning solution
  • Prescription Medications/Inhaler: Please give to instructor
  • *GOLD SPECIFIC* – Tampons or Pads


Optional Items

  • Camera: waterproof disposables work great
  • Watch w/ alarm



  • MP3 players; iPods or other electronic devices
  • Cell phones
  • Pocket-knives or Hatchets
  • Jewelry or other valuables
  • Make-up or perfume



  • Tents
  • Safety equipment
  • All food
  • Cooking stoves and supplies
  • First aid kits
  • Reference books
  • Maps
  • Compasses
  • Water dromedaries
  • Water purification drops
  • Repair kits



If you need to borrow gear from YMCA Camp Cherokee please contact us as soon as possible. We have a very limited amount of gear to loan out, and will need to have it assigned to participants prior to their arrival.


Have a question?

Here is our BOLD & GOLD Parents’ Manual that will help answer many of your questions.

Please feel free to contact Will Gilmore at 803.222.2850 or with any additional questions or concerns.