Holderness School

5 Things to Pack for a Mountain Day Adventure

Greg Kwasnik
We recently sat down with Director of Outdoor Programs Erik Thatcher ’08 and asked: “What should we pack for Mountain Day?” Erik, an experienced outdoor guide, told us how to prepare for a day in the White Mountains – from how much water to bring to why hiking Mount Washington is like visiting the high arctic. Here’s what he told us to bring:
1.     Food
Whether you’re hiking, fly fishing, or doing yoga, you’ll need fuel to power your Mountain Day adventures. Erik recommends bringing a good variety of lunch and snack options. “When you’re exercising, you never know what’s going to be appetizing in that moment,” Erik says, “so bring a variety of snacks – and plenty of them.” Students will pack their own lunches and snacks in Weld that morning.
2.     Water
Staying hydrated is essential to enjoying a fun and safe day in the mountains. Students should bring at least two Nalgene bottles (64 oz.) of water – and drink throughout the day. To maintain a consistent level of hydration, it’s best to sip regularly and refill your bottles whenever you get the opportunity.
3.     Synthetic Baselayer
Leave that cotton t-shirt in your dorm. Instead, wear synthetic fabrics – the kind of clothes you wear while working out. Synthetics wick sweat away from your body, keeping you dry and comfortable. Cotton does the exact opposite. “Cotton soaks up the water, and it doesn’t dry. When it gets wet it sucks the heat out of you,” Erik says. “Dressing in as little cotton as possible is good. The saying in the outdoor world is ‘cotton kills.’”

4.     All-Weather Protection
The weather in the White Mountains can change in an instant, so be prepared. Pack a jacket that can repel wind and rain, plus an insulating layer, like fleece, for warmth. And don’t forget a hat and gloves – especially if you’re hiking. “The ecosystems that we’re hiking into are the same ecosystem that you see in the arctic,” Erik says. “When you’re on top of Mount Washington, it’s like you’re being transported to far northern Canada. You see that in the flora and fauna and you feel it in the weather, for sure.”
5.     Your Sense of Adventure
Mountain Day is all about discovery, so go ahead and try new things. Join the group that’s hiking above treeline - or harness up and try rock climbing in Crawford Notch. You just might discover your new favorite sport – and a lifelong love of the outdoors. “We want students to step outside of their comfort zones,” Erik says. “The more you put into this, the more you get out of it – it’s one of those kinds of experiences.”

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Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness, NH 03245
mail P.O Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
phone (603) 536-1257