Camping on the ML expedition.
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What to Pack for Mountain Leader Training – Essential Gear

I love planning for trips away and the Mountain Leader Training week was no exception. Making a list of things I needed to bring ensured that everything I had with me was essential and functional. It also made sure I wasn’t one of those people desperately trying to find an open outdoor gear shop before heading out for the second day. If you are interested to read more about my experiences of doing the training, check out this article on My Mountain Leader Training Week in Snowdonia. For more information about the Mountain Leader Scheme check out the Mountain Training website. Or read on for my essential ML kit list!

What to Pack for ML Training (or Assessment)?

Mountain Leader Training lasts for 6 days. And it is important to pack enough clothes as they are guaranteed to get sweaty, muddy and very possibly soaked over the week. This is especially important if you, like me, have no possibility to wash or dry your clothes during this time. The weather will also factor into this – if it’s going to be hot bring extra t-shirts or if it’s going to be raining all week, bring more dry socks. For a week with a cold forecast I would bring both a mid-layer jacket and an insulating down or synthetic jacket to throw over everything for when you are stopped to navigate – which happens a lot on the ML. Of course, for a warm week, I would bring less layers.

If you’d like to use this list to pack for your assessment, remember that it is a little shorter at 5 days – and that most providers require you to bring the group safety equipment too in order to check that you are suitably prepared to begin working as an ML! There are also things you need to back for your assessment that are not required for the training – like your completed home paper and possibly things for giving a little talk on your chosen topic – so don’t forget to pack these.

Regarding clothing, as a rule of thumb I would bring a pair of clean socks and underpants for each day, a couple of t-shirts or thermal tops (depending on the temperatures) to swap between and an extra to sleep in. And depending on your preferences either 2 pairs of trousers/shorts or 3-4 pairs of leggings (extras as they tend to get smellier than trousers for being so close to you skin).

ML Kit List:

Clothing

  • Underwear
  • Sports bra(s)
  • Walking socks
  • Trousers/shorts (2) or leggings (4)
  • T-shirts/tops or thermal tops
  • Thermal leggings (double up as pyjamas)
  • Fleece
  • Mid-layer jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Gaiters (if you use them)
  • Insulating jacket
  • Walking boots
  • Trainers or similar for river crossings
  • Shoes to wear during evenings (sandals/trainers)
  • Hat
  • Gloves (multiple pairs)
  • Buff

Technical

  • Day backpack, 25-30l
  • Expedition backpack, 50-60l (mine is Osprey Ariel AG 55)
  • Multi tool/penknife (especially if your cooking requires chopping/opening tins)
  • Water bottle and/or hydration bladder (I had both)
  • Water filter or purification tablets
  • Waterproof maps or paper maps & a map case
  • Compass (Silva Expedition 4 is ideal)
  • Walking poles
  • Headtorch + spare + extra batteries
  • Dry bags (for keeping your kit dry when walking)
  • Personal 1st Aid Kit

Personal

  • Sunglasses (if you use them)
  • Toothbrush & paste
  • Toiletries (including sun cream and a bit of toilet paper is a good idea)
  • Zip lock bag for rubbish (and used toilet paper)
  • Trowel (for expedition toilet needs)
  • Notebook & pens (for taking notes)
  • Fine line markers (for writing on waterproof maps)
  • Book (for the evenings)
  • Phone + charger + power bank
  • Money
  • Keys

Camping

  • Tent, 1 or 2 man (mine is MSR Elixir 2)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat

Food & Cooking

  • Stove + gas + lighter/matches
  • Cup, bowl & spoon
  • A lot of food and especially snacks you can eat on the go.
  • Bag/box/wax wrap to pack your lunch in

Group Kit

  • Rope (30m, 8mm)
  • Helmet
  • Group shelter
  • Group 1st Aid Kit

There are a few items on this list, which you might be able to do without depending on the area – like water purification systems. But bringing them anyway shows that you are well prepared for different scenarios – and especially purification tablets take no space at all in your rucksack. The ML scheme is very conscious about our impact on the environment, and therefore bringing a trowel or a poop scoop for those expedition toilet needs shows that you are aware of wild camping etiquette – but in reality it is not the end of the world if you don’t have one as you will most likely be able to borrow one from someone else as at least the instructor should have brought one!

If you found this post on my ML kit list helpful and would like to follow more of my adventures, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest! Subscribe to the Newsletter to hear more about my journey of preparing for assessment next Spring. (Ps. none of the links on this page are affiliate, I just happen to love the gear!)

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