The Academy at SOAR understands the enormity of preparing you and your student for the school year. With that in mind we have created this guide to assist you in the outfitting of your students, so they have the proper clothing and equipment that they need to be successful and safe during their time here at school and on their expeditions. The clothing and gear list have been meticulously curated to accommodate everything that they will need over the course of the next school year including the type and degree of quality to which the items need to be. Included on the list are suggestions and recommendations for tried and tested brands that meet our minimum standards. We have specifically researched these items to provide our families with a resource for the best clothing and equipment at the most moderate prices.

If questions arise, please feel free to contact us here at the Academy for assistance.

Campus Clothing

The Academy at SOAR dress code takes into consideration the need for self-expression, while also eliminating distractions that might undermine our schools’ culture and our student’s experiences. Clothing that depicts violence, drugs, alcohol, sexualized references, offensive symbols or words is unacceptable. Students and employees are not permitted to wear: clothing with rips, tears or stains, military uniforms, or camouflage. Students and employees are expected to dress appropriately for school and off-campus activities based on the categories listed in the Academy at SOAR Dress Code. (Please refer to the full Dress Code listed in section three of this handbook and the Academy Dress Code Chart.)

Any solid-colored or patterned casual dress, denim, or hiking-style pants are acceptable for a school day dress. Skirts and dresses that are fingertip length are also acceptable. (Sweatpants and athletic pants are not permitted during the school day outside of P.E.)
Any solid colored or patterned casual dress-short that is a minimum of fingertip length is acceptable for a school day dress. (Cutoff shorts, athletic shorts, or running shorts are not appropriate attire for school hours.)
Only SOAR or Academy at SOAR logoed t-shirts are acceptable during school hours.
Collared Shirts
Tops that have a collar and are designed to be worn buttoned such as a casual oxford style, flannel, or polo style in either short or long sleeves are acceptable school attire.
Footwear should be appropriate for environmental situations, having no more than a one-inch heel.
Swimsuits must be of an athletic style and are only for water activities. Bikini-style swimsuits are not permitted.
Expedition Clothing
Please do not substitute cotton clothing for synthetic clothing items indicated on the Expedition Clothing Lists.
Long Underwear Sets
These function as the base layer for defense against the cold weather and allow for the comfort of your student on an expedition. Polyester is the most common type and is generally made in three weights; lightweight, mid-weight, and expedition weight. These sets help regulate core body temperature and provide comfort during movement. There are many brands available but the most important thing is that they are of a breathable fabric. These sets range from $25 to $75 per set.
Quality socks are important in preventing blisters. Cotton socks will increase foot moisture and discomfort. Please purchase wool or synthetic wool socks, such as Smartwool or Thorlo Backpacking socks. Although these are more expensive, they are more durable and worth the cost. These socks average around $8 to $12 a pair and can generally be found on sale at places like Campmortm and
Fleece Tops and Bottoms
The fleece layer serves as a second layer in extremely cold weather for your student. There will be several expeditions where the students will be subjected at times to temperatures below thirty degrees and these thick pile layers will enable them to stay warm and perform. These layers should be at least a 200 weight polyester and either be a full zip or three-quarter pullover top and full leg bottoms. These sets average around $25 to $125 for a top and $20 to
$100 for bottoms. They can generally be found on sale at places like Campmortm and
Quick-Dry Pants and Shorts

Synthetic, polyester, or quick-dry clothing is an important component of a successful outdoor experience. Synthetic clothing will keep you warm under the most unfavorable conditions, even when the clothing is wet. Cotton will not!

Quick-Dry Shirts

Polyester or a moisture-wicking type of fabric is most common. T-shirt style crew neck is the most common and allows for comfort in wearing multiple layers in inclement weather. These shirts will see a lot of wear and tear so we recommend not purchasing expensive name brands. Most stores now carry these types of shirts ranging from $10 to $20 each.

Insulating (Puffy) Jacket

These jackets function as a base layer to insulate when paired with a rain jacket shell. We recommend that they have synthetic insulation and a water repellent coating for the best protection for your student. This will be the main jacket your student will tend to wear while at school. The most durable brands we suggest are The North Facetm, Marmottm, Mountain Hardweartm, and These jackets range from $100 to $150.

Rain Jacket and Pants
Effective rain gear consists of a separate top and bottom. There are two types of materials that are adequate: waterproof-non-breathable (Plastic or rubber) and waterproof-breathable (GoreTextm or similar synthetic). We strongly recommend breathable fabrics to ensure protection and comfort. The most affordable brands we suggest are The North Facetm, Marmottm, Mountain Hardweartm, and These jackets and pants range from $50 to $150 each.)

Gear and Equipment

Expedition Backpack
Backpacks should be comfortable, fitted, and approximately 75 – 95 liters with a sturdy hip pad and a good suspension system. Prices range from $200 – $375. Fit is the most important factor in purchasing a backpack for use, we strongly recommend that you have your student professionally fitted before you purchase a pack. It is also important to purchase a Rain Cover for your backpack that is compatible with the size and shape of your backpack. This will help prevent gear from getting wet when out in the elements. The most reputable brands for extended trekking packs are Gregorytm, Ospreytm, Deutertm, and
Sleeping Bag

What to look for in a sleeping bag:

  • The comfort rating is measured in degrees ˚F. Remember the temperature rating is relative. If you are cold or warm-natured, remember to compensate accordingly.
  • Weight is important; look for a bag that is as light as possible. A 0 ̊F bag should weigh no more than 5 to 7 lbs.
  • Compressibility refers to the size of the stuff sack the sleeping bag can be stuffed into. The smaller, the better. Be careful, manufacturers know you will be evaluating compressibility so they sell very small stuff sacks with their bags. Make sure your child can get the bag back into the sack without difficulty.
  • The most efficient sleeping bag design is the mummy bag with a hood or drawstring.
  • The fill or insulation in a bag will determine the warmth to weight ratio. We require full synthetic fill such as Dacron II, because it will maintain some insulation value even when wet and will dry much faster.
  • We recommend brands such as Sierra Designtm, The North Facetm, Marmottm, and These models range from $150 to $250 on average.
Sleeping Pad

A sleeping pad is an important part of camping equipment. In addition to comfort, the pad is an essential item providing insulation from the cold ground.
Important information about sleeping pads include:

  • There are two different styles: closed foam and self-inflating open foam
  • We recommend 1-inch thick self-inflating sleeping pads for added protection and comfort. Brands like Therm-A-Resttm and generally range from $50 to $80 on average.
Eating Gear/Mess Kit

Students will need their own mess kit for eating in the field. Eating gear should be sturdy. A plastic or metal bowl/plate, a spoon, and a fork are sufficient. They do not need a full “cook set”. These sets generally run about $20.

Boot selection and preparation are important. Ensure the boots are comfortable and able to accommodate a pair of trekking socks for good support. Recommended makers of lightweight hiking boots include Keentm, Lowetm, Hi-techtm, Dannertm, Vasquetm, Merrelltm, and Asolotm. We recommend that you have your student’s boots professionally fitted for proper fit, most outdoor stores and outfitters provide this service. Ensure that you purchase waterproof leather, Gore-Tex, or waterproof breathable hiking boots with the flexible un-shanked sole. These average $120 to $200 a pair.
Water Shoe

Water shoes will be worn in all water-based activities such as swimming, rafting, and canoeing. A Velcro or tensioning type strap that keeps the shoe on the foot is required. Teva, Chaco, or Keen are the most common brands. These shoes average between $75 to $100 a pair.

Head Lamp
New technology has created a headlamp that uses L.E.D. bulbs and will burn significantly less battery power. Brands include Petzeltm and Princeton Techtm. You can order them at gear stores or Campmor. Prices range from $30 – $50. Headlamps are required.

Course Links

Academy at SOAR Academic Supplies, Clothing, and Gear Packing List