IMG's Recommended Mountaineering Gear  

Mountaineering Gear We Use

Choosing the right gear for your climb or trek is essential, but understanding the difference between the different layers and the purpose of each one can be confusing.

Check out IMG's recommendations below, explore the Gear Q&A in the IMG Blog, and as always, reach out to or 360-569-2609 with your questions!

Upper Body Layers
Equipment Description/ Comments Recommendation
Wicking T-shirt Light in color for hot days. Nothing fancy here. Your non-cotton workout shirts are great for this. Outdoor Research Sequence T-shirt
Long Sleeve Base layers Light synthetic long-sleeved shirt. "I love a shirt with a zip-neck for ventilation," says IMG Partner Phil Ershler Outdoor Research: Sequence Long Sleeve T
Thin insulating layer "Something with a hood is great. Make sure it fits well underneath your jacket layers as well as over your base layers," says IMG Guide Justin Merle Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Hoody
Soft-shell jacket. The softshell jacket is one of the more versatile pieces of gear. You will spend a lot of time wearing this jacket during any expedition. Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hoody
Insulated parka w/ attached hood In the mountains a puffy jacket is one of the most valuable items in your pack. Whether you're on Mt. Bona, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro or Cho Oyu you'll need an insulated down or synthetic jacket. The Perch Belay Parka is great for Mt. Rainier and similar mountains in the lower 48. A heavier jacket is needed for bigger mountains like Denali, Ama Dablam or Vinson. Outdoor Research: Perch Belay Parka
Waterproof/breathable storm shell jacket with hood This should be a simple shell, not a heavy ski jacket. If the weather is good, this layer probably won't even leave your pack, so make it LIGHT!" says IMG Partner George Dunn. Outdoor Research Foray Jacket
Lower Body Layers
Equipment Description/ Comments Recommendation
Soft-shell Climbing Pants You will wear these everyday of your climb or trek. If there's one thing you purchase for your trip this should be it. Non-insulated Schoeller-type fabric is best. Outdoor Research: Cirque Pants
Waterproof/ breathable storm shell pants Gore-Tex or equivalent material. These pants need side-zips to allow you to put them without taking off your crampons and boots. Outdoor Research Furio Pants (full-zip)
Hats and Gloves
Equipment Description/ Comments Recommendation
Wool or fleece hat. Hat should cover your ears. Outdoor Research: Storm Beanie
Neck gaiter or balaclava Synthetic/ fleece. This will protect your neck and face in stormy weather. A lightweight balaclava fits best under a helmet. Outdoor Research: Ninjaclava
Sun hat and bandanna Baseball hat or other wide brimmed hat to protect your face and neck. A bandana will help cover your ears and neck Outdoor Research Sun Runner Hat
Buff A buff is a multi-functional "must-have" for all climbers! Our guides don't go on any climb without one. The soft, synthetic, thin fabric dries quickly and weights just a few ounces. Not required for a climb, but pretty darn close!
Light liner gloves Light-weight pair of synthetic gloves. Not a fingerless glove. These will be used a lot for traveling on glaciers at lower elevations. Outdoor Research: PL 150 Gloves
Mid-weight Glove "I wear these gloves until I absolutely have to put on my warm gloves on the upper mountain. They're perfect around camp and give great dexterity when you need it. And they dry quickly," —IMG Guide Outdoor Research: Extrovert Gloves »
Heavy insulated gloves The Alti-Glove is the best on the market. It's been used all the way to the top of Everest by many of our guides. When it comes to warmth the Alti-Glove is perfect! See Phil Ershler explain How to Choose Gloves » Outdoor Research Alti-Gloves »
Sleeping Systems
Equipment Description/ Comments Recommendation
Sleeping bag Make sure to check your trip gear list as there are many different degrees of warmth and weights of sleeping bags. Good brands include: Feathered Friends, Marmot and Western Mountaineering
Sleeping pad We recommend an inflatable, full length pad; however closed cell foam pads work too. Cascade Designs: Prolite Plus »
Boots, Socks & Gaiters
Equipment Description/ Comments Recommendation
Plastic double-boots There are lots of boots on the market these days which can be a touch overwhelming, so before you buy anything, make sure the boots you're looking at are appropriate for the mountain you're climbing and the time of year you're going to climb. It's a big decision, so you'll want to try on several options before committing to one pair of boots. For more details, check out our boot info on the FAQ page for our Rainier climbers. Koflach: Degre
Climbing socks Thick wool or wool-synthetic blends work best. No cotton! Thorlo, SmartWool, or Darn Tough
Gaiters See IMG's Phil Ershler and Erica Engle demonstrate how to put on gaiters correctly » The industry standard. Period. Outdoor Research: Crocodiles »
Equipment Description/ Comments Recommendation
Large backpack Check out the 75-liter JanSport Tahoma; we issue these to our guides and rent them on to our Mt. Rainier climbers — it's one heck of a pack! As always, feel free to consult us for tips or advice. JanSport Tahoma
Ice Axe To size your glacier travel ice axe: while holding it down at you side, the bottom of the axe should reach to about your ankle bone. 70 cm is the climber's standard length. Petzl Snowalker
Crampons 10 or 12 point. Make sure they are adjusted to your boots and appropriate crampons for your climb... Check your trip gear list for details. Petzl and Black Diamond make a great line
Helmet Must meet industry standards We like the Petzl Meteor III for ultra light weight or the Ecrin Roc for solid durability
Equipment Description/ Comments Recommendation
Harness Must meet industry standards. A "mountaineering" or "alpine" harness with adjustable leg loops is recommended.
Glacier glasses or sunglasses Glacier glasses are specifically designed to protect your eyes from the intense UV radiation that reflects off snowfields and glaciers. They have dark lenses and side shields to keep UV rays out of your eyes. Julbo: Explorer
Goggles (optional) Goggles can make the difference between reaching the summit or turning around in windy and snowy conditions. Julbo: Around Excel
Water bottles Wide mouth, Lexan 1-liter water bottles(bpa free). Nalgene: Wide Mouth 1 Liter
LED Headlamp w/ extra batteries Make sure your headlamp has a full elastic strap so that you can put it on your helmet. Use a fresh set of batteries. Bring at least one extra set of batteries. Lithium batteries do better in the cold. Petzl Tikka XP
First-Aid kit Our guides carry full Adventure® Medical Kits first aid kits, so make yours light. Include basic items for your personal use in a Ziploc bag such as blister prevention pads (Glacier Gel, Band-Aid or Spenco blister strips, Moleskin), small roll of duct tape, Band-Aids, non-prescription NSAIDs (Ibuprofin), any necessary prescription medications, etc. Adventure® Medical Kits
Dining Bowl Fozzils Bowls fold flat and pack away nicely. Ultralight and a great fit for any climb on Rainier. Fozzils Bowlz

Camera Photographer and IMG guide Adam Angel gives his recommendations for capturing the hero shots and sunsets on your next expedition. See our page on the best cameras for mountaineering and trekking »
Best Cameras for the climbing and trekking