The Things We Carry (Out)

Outing Club Graphic

Graphic by Jaymes Thompson.

With the motto “We Do Stuff,” the Outing Club didn’t wait for spring to break out its gear. The club has grown to 100 members this year, and from bouldering at Whiskey Springs and day hikes in Pine Grove to spelunking Carnegie’s Cave in Shippensburg and leading a Leave No Trace class on campus, the indomitable group weathered the year with vigor—powered by more than a few protein bars.
 We asked some of them to tell us, “So, what’s in your backpack?”

Karl Smith ’14 (archaeology)

My backpack is designed for hiking, but I also use it as a travel bag and book satchel. Right now the main compartment contains a yellow legal pad, a big sheaf of paper consisting of all the readings I’ve been meaning to finish today, a textbook (A Guide to North American Archaeology) and a novel (The Towers of Trebizond). Underneath all that, there’s an ancient “just in case” Clif bar, an equally venerable sandwich wrapper and a pair of gloves. In the top pocket there’s a wad of receipts and ticket stubs, a headlamp, tea bags and a few packets of Equal, a stick of ski wax and a scraper, a pen and spare change totaling $3.30 and .21 pounds. In the outer pocket there’s a banana peel from last week’s trip that I’d completely forgotten about.

Will Kochtitzky ’16 (earth sciences and environmental science)

Maps: Where would we be without maps? Maps are a crucial aspect of our trips, knowing where we are and where we want to go. Water purification: This means we never run out of water. Rain gear: You never know when a storm is going to roll in. Knife: Arguably 
the most versatile tool you can take into the woods. From cutting cheese to making shelters, you can do it all with a knife. Camera: It’s a constant photo shoot with this crew. What’s not in my backpack—a phone: I always turn my phone on airplane mode when I go outdoors.

Mackenze Burkhart ’16 (archaeology and anthropology)

I always carry a first-aid kit, extra layers and water—even on a simple day hike. I often carry a book, a deck of cards or a Frisbee for breaks along the trail or at the campsite. And I always fill my backpack with delicious snacks for the crew. The most popular: carrots and hummus.

Sam Kilburn ’17 (undeclared)


Trash compacter bag; five lightweight plastic bags; first-aid kit, including epi pen, hand warmers, splint and inhaler; map; compass; foam pad; sleeping bag; stove w/ fuel; hiking poles; folding and locking knife; 100-ft. nylon cord; sunglasses; three thermal blankets; Pop Tarts; instant mashed potatoes; powdered milk; dried fruit; Jell-O powder; Snickers bars; extra pair of shell gloves; Gore-Tex gaiters; 14-point crampons; ice axe.

Anna McGinn ’14 (environmental studies and president of the Outing Club)


I have been filling a backpack with experiences and skills since my first trip with the club in September 2010. Through this club,
 I have learned the best places to hike, climb and camp in the area and have passed this knowledge on to younger students. We
 have planned successful—and woefully unsuccessful—events and trips, and we have grown from each experience. The trips we 
go on force us to work together in ways that cannot be re-created in a campus setting, and the friendships formed will last a lifetime.

UPDATE: After this story was published, the Outing Club was named Student Group of the Year at the 2014 Leadership Recognition Ceremony. Members also collaborated to establish a special-interest house, the Center for Outdoor Education, which will house eight students starting this fall.

Learn more

Read more from the spring 2014 issue of Dickinson Magazine.

Published Apr. 22, 2014