Expedition LandSea Participation Packing List

All items are REQUIRED unless otherwise noted.

Two of the major components of Expedition consist of backpacking and canoeing. In addition, each group will have the opportunity to participate in a climb & rappel day, a service & reflection component and finish with a day of rafting. Below are details of the required and recommended supplies for the Expedition component of LandSea.

At the bottom of this page there is a downloadable Word Document which is reader accessible for viewing our shortened bulleted list. You are welcome to print this out as a shopping aid!but please do read through the extended version prior to printing it out for specific information about what to pack.

Packing List


Boots: 1

  • Over-the-ankle, sturdy

Socks: 2 – 4 pairs

  • Wool or synthetic only

Closed-toe, sturdy camp or water shoes (or both!): 1 pair

  • LandSea policy requires closed-toe shoes. You must wear protection on your feet at all times when not in your sleeping bag.
  • Not appropriate: thin water shoe/socks, gelly sandals  Camp shoes (needs a thick sole!): Keens®, closed toe Chacos®, Crocs®
  • Water shoes: Keens®, closed toe Chacos® or other equivalent brands. 
    • Not appropriate: Crocs® are not an appropriate water shoe and won’t be allowed rafting. Thin water shoes/socks, gelly sandals.

Check out even more detailed information about footwear!


Underwear: 3-6 pairs 

  • Synthetic fabrics wick moisture away from the skin and dry quickly
  • Cotton works too, but will take longer to dry

Sports bras: 1-2

 T-shirts/tank tops: 2

  • No cotton
  • Look for shirts made of Capilene® or other synthetic materials

Athletic short: 1 pair

  • No cotton
  • Synthetic
  • Some prefer shorts with liners to save underwear use

Long underwear top: 1

Long underwear bottom: 1

Insulating shirt/jacket: 1

  • Medium weight
  • Wool, fleece, down, synthetic materials
  • Should be large enough to fit over your other layers and still allow freedom of movement
  • Here’s some more information on fabric types/weights and proper layering
  • If you get cold easily, consider bringing another warm layer

Insulating Hat (beanie): 1

  • Wool or synthetic material
  • Long enough to cover your ears

Gloves/Mittens: 1 pair

  • Lightweight, wool or synthetic
  • Waterproof

Rain Jacket: 1

Rain Pants: 1

  • Waterproof, lightweight, breathable
  • Must fit over all layers
  • Zippered legs are useful for putting on over hiking boots
  • Tips for choosing rain gear
Additional Items

Water bottle: 1

  • At least 1 liter capacity
  • Nalgenes work well
  • Write your name on the cap or put some stickers on to make it identifiable
  • Hydration systems are acceptable, but at least 1 liter of your water storage must be in a hard-sided bottle

Bowl: 1

  • Recommended Tupperware with lid
  • Many past participants recommend bowls that are shallow and easily lick-able

Spoon/fork: 1

  • Plastic, lexan, or steel

Hand sanitizer: 1-2

  • Compact/travel size

Headlamp with two sets of extra batteries and an extra bulb: 1

  • LED lights do not require an extra bulb, but do require extra batteries.
  • You may elect to bring a flashlight instead (with extra batteries and bulb), however a headlamp is strongly recommended over a flashlight.

Lighter: 1

  • Small, pocket size

Nylon “parachute” cord: 20 feet

  • Small diameter (4 mm or less)

Insect repellant: 1

  • A small container of insect repellant containing DEET or more recently discovered picaridin and PMD (lemon eucalyptus extract) is recommended

Brimmed hat: 1

  • Sun or baseball hat will protect your face, ears, and neck from too much exposure to the sun

Sunglasses (and a sturdy case): 1

  • Glasses should block both ultraviolet and infrared light

Sunscreen: 1

  • SPF 25 or higher

Lip Balm/Chapstick: 1-2

  • SPF 15 or higher is recommended

Journal and writing utensils: 1

  • Small, durable

LandSea Participant Handbook: 1

Heavy-duty large plastic trash bags: 4

  • Used to line the pack to keep your gear dry
  • You can bring a pack rain cover as well if you already have one, but do not go out and buy one if you do not

Ziploc bags: 5+

  • Gallon size
  • Dry bags are acceptable alternatives,  but are unnecessary to purchase if you do not already have them

Extra set of clean clothes: 1

  • Used for the bus ride back to Kalamazoo
Personal Hygiene/Medication

Toothbrush/toothpaste: 1

  • Travel size

Glasses and/or contacts: 1

Backup pair of glasses and/or contacts:

It is wise to bring an extra pair of glasses. Contacts are okay for LandSea as long as they don’t require extensive care. However, we recommend bringing an extra pair of glasses in addition to extra contacts in case of eye irritation that makes wearing contacts uncomfortable. In addition, consider bringing sunglasses that will clamp onto, or fit over, your prescription glasses.

Menstrual products:
 enough for 2 cycles

The stress of outdoor living can radically alter your menstrual cycle. Bring enough sanitary napkins or tampons for two complete cycles. If you are planning to bring/use a menstrual cup (ex: Diva Cup, Moon Cup, Keeper Cup), we recommend practicing using it for 2-4 cycles prior to using it in the backcountry. If you are bringing a menstrual cup, please bring an unscented soap to clean with and extra tampons or sanitary napkins as a back up.

Items to Keep with You on Bus

Money: Enough for approximately 2 light meals/snacks on the bus

The bus will stop for a meal and snack breaks on the way up and on the way back. LandSea does not provide food for the ride to and from the park.

Official photo ID: 

E.g., driver’s license, passport, or state-issued identification card

Prescription medications:

All prescription medication must be listed on your medical form and be in the original container.

If taking any medication regularly, including birth control, check with your doctor about possible side effects from spending two and a half weeks in a wilderness environment.

Check with your physician, but if possible do not increase or decrease medication for depression, anxiety, etc. (Prozac, Zoloft, etc.) immediately before or during LandSea. The program is stressful physically and emotionally, and the effects of significant changes in these medications could be amplified.

If you experience any reoccurring infections (ear, yeast, urinary, etc.) note it on your medical form and bring the appropriate medication.


Sleeping bag & stuff sack*: 1

  • Mummy-style
  • Minimum 15-20 degree rating
  • compressible
  • Can be checked-out from the LandSea program and are covered by your LandSea tuition.

Sleeping pad*: 1

  • Closed-cell foam or inflatable
  • Can be checked-out from the LandSea program and are covered by your LandSea tuition.

Backpack*: 1

  • 60L/3,500 cu. in. minimum
  • Internal frame packs are highly preferred.
  • External frame packs in good condition will also be acceptable
  • Can be checked-out from the LandSea program and are covered by your LandSea tuition.

For more in-depth information and tips on selecting backpacks, sleeping pads, and ground pads see Bringing Your Own Equipment?

Recommended Items

Nylon hiking pant, or synthetic (no cotton!) leggings: 1 pair

Insulated pant: 1 pair

If you get cold easily, insulated pants are for you. 

  • Medium to heavy-weight
  • Fleece or wool
  • Large enough to wear over long underwear

Bandana: 1+

Sock liners: 2 pairs

Polypropylene sock liners can be worn under hiking socks to prevent blisters. Some individuals find  lightweight sock liners to be very useful while others do not see any need for them.  That’s why we have listed them under the optional section on our gear list. To explore the pros and cons of sock liners, check out this avid backpacker’s journey with (and without) sock liners.

  • Brands to look for: Thorlo®, Smartwool®, WigWam®, or other equivalent brands

Bug net: 1

We sleep under tarps and are exposed to bugs. If you have difficulty sleeping or have severe reactions to bug bites, you might want to invest in a personal bug net– a protective netting that covers either just your head or the top half of your body. There is no need to have the top-of-the-line bug net; one purchased from Meijer/Target/similar stores will be sufficient.

Swim suit: 1

Many individuals prefer not to bring a suit and instead swim in their trail clothes. However, feel free to bring a swim suit if you are more comfortable doing so.

  • Lightweight, fast drying fabric

Towel: 1

  • Small, fast drying
  • Pack Towels or swimming chamois work well

Watch: 1

Carabiners: 1+

  • For attaching items to pack
  • NOT for climbing/rappelling purposes

Knife: 1

  • Must be folding pocket knife
  • Sheath knives not permitted

Camera: 1

Playing cards: 1 pack

Nail clippers: 1 pair

Lotion: 1

  • Travel size

Personal first-aid supplies:

  • Band-Aids
  • Moleskin
    • Moleskin is a thin adhesive cotton flannel that protects feet from friction and pressure and prevents blisters from forming. It is provided in the LandSea first aid kits, but feel free to bring your own supply if you’d prefer. Many participants bring 1-2 sheets of moleskin or a small blister kit.
  • Over-the-counter painkillers
    • LandSea provides first aid kits stocked with some over-the-counter medications to help manage symptoms such as headaches, congestion, allergies, etc. that may arise over the course of the program. However, if you are prone to allergies, etc., and prefer a specific brand of medication, we recommend that you bring it.
Prohibited Items
  • Illegal drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco or Nicotine products
  • Rx Meds without a prescription
  • Sheath knives
  • Electronic items (watch & camera OK)

*Items available for checkout are marked with an * and are covered by your LandSea tuition. If you would like to utilize one of the check-out items please indicate so on your LandSea Participation Application or contact the office to ensure that these are reserved for you on Check-in Day.

Printable List