Clothing is as important as your boots and ice axe. Being properly dressed is essential to enjoying your outdoor adventures. Cotton has no place in your winter layering system: it keeps you cold if you sweat and it takes a long time to dry out. Synthetic fabrics or wool keep you warmer when they become wet with sweat and certain synthetic base layers are designed to wick the sweat away from your skin to keep you drier and warmer. In order to make your experience more enjoyable, please do not wear any cotton as layering pieces. Also, remember, you have to carry all your clothing with you, so packing efficiently is important. If you can’t wear it all at once, you don’t need to bring it. We expect that you will be dressed and ready to go upon arrival to the School.

The items below are REQUIRED unless otherwise specified. If you have questions about what to bring please call the School at 845-668-2030.


Base Layer (top & bottom)
Great examples of winter base layers include EMS® Techwick® T1 and T2 polyester which wicks, packs, wears, and washes like nothing else. Top and Bottom. Light to mid-weight synthetics, snug fit and close to skin.

Over-Base Layer (top only)
Examples of over base layers are EMS® Techwick® T2 or T3 or any lightweight wool shirt. Top only. Light-weight fleece or heavy-weight EMS® Techwick®. Power-Stretch and micro-fleece are ideal materials for this layer. No heavy, 300 weight fleece trousers—you will be over-dressed.

Insulation Layer (top only)
Examples of insulating mid-layers include a fleece jacket or a synthetic jacket made of Prima Loft® or Thermore®. Jacket only. 200 to 300 weight fleece, heavy weight soft shell or light weight Prima-Loft sweater.

Uninsulated Waterproof/ Windproof Shell (jacket & pants)
Jacket and pants. EMS System III, Gortex®, or similar waterproof/breathable material.

Gloves or Mittens, and Glove Liners
A pair of gloves or mittens and glove liners.

Fleece Hat
Remember to fit the hat so you can wear it under a helmet.

Wool or Synthetic Socks
Make sure you fit footwear with heavier socks for more warmth. No matter how thick your socks are, if your footwear constricts your toes, your blood flow will slow down and cause your feet to be cold–fit your shoes accordingly.


Insulated Hiking Boots
All participants should arrive with proper footwear for snowshoe hikes. Waterproof and insulated mid to high height winter hiking boots. No sneakers, loose fitting footwear, pull over boots (Like “Uggs”) or shoes that will get wet and freeze.


20 liter or so day pack to carry food, water and extra layers.

EMS Schools Provides

Snowshoes or micro-spikes, and hiking poles.