FAQ -- What I Bring to Camp

“Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and full use of senses. Given a chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it in the creek, turn it over to see what lives on the unseen side of the confusion. Nature can frighten a child, too, and this fright serves a purpose. In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy; a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace. “ – Richard Louv Last Child in the Woods

Help Your Kids be Present

Please don’t send the kids with any electronics of any kind, no electronic games, no cell phones, no iPads, etc. It takes roughly three weeks to break the habit or addiction to social media, internet and games. The first week is the hardest. We give the teens a new real world of adventures and habits to substitute for their dependency on electronics. If they know that they have it hidden it will make it harder for them to get off of it. Calls to and from home make kids homesick not alleviate homesickness. They will have access to a phone for emergencies and to arrange for pickup. From time to time we will post photos to the Camp Facebook Page.

A Few Words on Homesickness

Homesickness is not something you pack for but something you do not pack for. Mothers if you keep taking about how your kids have never been away from home in front of them or saying things like, “You’ll be fine it is only a short time.” You are sending them with baggage to be homesick. If you have sent them with a hidden phone you are adding to the problem. For more information see https://northwesternoutdoorleadershipinstitute.com/2017/01/parenting_homesickness.html


The knife is the most basic of tools for bushcraft. You must be comfortable with them using a knife to attend this camp.
They are required to bring a knife to our camps and understand the knife rules and demonstrated to you that they can at least sharpen 10 pencils and you are comfortable with them using knives. Again YOU must be comfortable with them using a knife to attend this camp. See https://northwesternoutdoorleadershipinstitute.com/2017/12/knife-first.html For a good discussion on knives and youth.
All knives MUST have a locking blade or sheathed fixed blade, and must be sharp. They will also have to pass our knife safety test before being allowed to use knives at camp. We will test them at the beginning of camp.

Our knife safety rules are:

  1. Knife is only out when needed for a project
  2. Must be a fixed blade or will lock in the open position
  3. Knife will be sharp
  4. The knife will only be used when the person is sitting, not standing or walking or kneeling
  5. They won’t cut towards themselves
  6. Knife will not be set down unless sheathed
  7. Knife will not be used for play
  8. Knives will not be used for throwing
  9. If they break any of these rules the director will take control of the knife and not return it until he/she deems it appropriate or it may be returned to the parents.

MANDATORY GEAR for all Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute Camps and School


In the Northwest Mountain weather changes daily and throughout the day in all seasons. They may be cold at the beginning of a hike and hot within minutes. The most basic of skills is knowing when to add and remove layers to stay comfortable and dry. Getting clothing wet on the outside from rain or mist or from the inside from sweat cannot only be uncomfortable but dangerous. Becoming too hot can be just as dangerous as being too cold. Learning to shed layers is a learned skill and their responsibility.

  1. Wool or wool substitute is best for layers meant for warmth. The students will hand launder their clothing every 4th day, therefore they should have 4 sets of socks, underwear and tee shirts. 2 sets of outerwear
  2. Backpacking poncho (they will make their shelter with this poncho)
  3. Heavy coat
  4. Baseball Hat and wide brim hat
  5. 3 Bandanas
  6. Hiking Boots (ankle support is important)
  7. Extra pair of comfortable shoes to wear in camp
  8. Bathing Suit or shorts

For those camps that have river rafting:

  1. Non-cotton clothes are required while river rafting – NO cotton is allowed)
  2. Water Shoes are required while river rafting
  3. River rafting company has their own list of clothing allowed while rafting.
  4. River rafting company has their own waiver of liability that must be read and signed prior to arriving at camp.

Eating Utensils, Cooking, Stove, etc.

  1. A metal cup (for drinking hot drinks, must be able to heat on stove etc.)
  2. Metal wide mouthed water bottle, must be able to be heated on a stove or in a fire.
  3. Plate
  4. Knife, fork, spoon (may choose to make chopsticks)
  5. Multi-fuel backpacking stove (Suggested or similar REI MSR WhisperLite Stove) and fuel bottle. We will provide fuel.
  6. Lighter. Campers that are flying in will need to bring cash to be able to purchase locally.
  7. Ziploc bags
  8. 2 qt. camping pot with lid (at REI Open Country 2 qt. pot with lid $14.95 or similar) to boil water in.
  9. Bear canister. Even if we camp in an area that is not known to have bears a bear canister is required.

Back Packing Essentials

  1. Sleeping Bag
  2. Ground pad
  3. Ground Cloth (cheap blue tarp)
  4. Backpacking Pack http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpack.html how to choose a backpack http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpacks-adjusting-fit.html Adjusting the fit
  5. Day Pack
  6. 2 large trash bags (one for trash and the other to cover backpack in case of rain)
  7. Head lamp must have red light feature, small hand lamp and extra batteries. No lanterns
  8. Sunscreen
  9. Towel
  10. Insect Repellant (mosquitos and ticks are in this area)

Safety Equipment

  1. Leather work gloves (for use when rappelling, collecting firewood, and working with the equine)
  2. Safety glasses
  3. Ear plugs and ear muffs

School Supplies

  1. Journals
  2. Sketch book
  3. Pens and pencils
  1. Compass – http://www.rei.com/product/787189/suunto-mc-2-pro-compass This is the compass we recommend, and is the compass we require the students in our private school to have. The student will learn to use all the features of this compass.
  2. Altimeter (mechanical) required only for advance navigation camp
  3. Calculator with trig functions required only for advance navigation camp
  4. We will provide map for the area

Optional items to bring:

  1. Camera
  2. Field Guides
  3. Hand Lens
  4. Field Glasses


Those students that are in one of hunt or advanced and other selected camp (with parental permission) will use Northwestern Outdoor Leadership Institute owned firearms. However those students that have rifles or shotguns fitted to them may, with director approval, bring their firearms to camp along with appropriate ammo.

We provide ammo in .22 Long Rifle, .45 Colt (for rifles), and 12 gauge 2 3/4” shotgun shells only. If you are planning on bringing a firearm that shoots other ammo you will be responsible for bringing that ammo.

Some camps the participants make ammo we have dies for many rifle and pistol ammo and a selection of components. Please contact us well in advance if wanting to make ammo for other than .45 Colt and 12 gauge shot shells. First time participants and participants under the age of 17 will not have the option of shooting handguns. or no steel jacketed ammo will be allowed. All firearms will be locked in a case and locked in a safe with access ONLY by the director. The student will have possession of their firearm ONLY under direct supervision during instruction and practice at the rifle and trap range. Transport firearms to camp in a locked hard case with the action clear and open with ammo stored and locked separately. Private firearms will not be shared with other campers. Please contact Camp Director Brian King well before camp if you want your students to bring a firearm to camp.

Archery Equipment

Archer equipment will be provided for instruction, however if a student has appropriate and sized correctly bow and accompanying arrows the student may be given permission to bring these to camp. Remember both bow and the arrows must be sized for the teen and the arrows must have the proper spline for the bow. Because of safety issues with spline, NOLI arrows will not be used with personal bows. Personal bows will be under the control of the director and will be only in the possession of the camper during archery instruction and/or practice at the range. Private bows will not be shared with other campers. Please contact the Camp Director Brian King well before camp if you want your students to bring archery equipment to camp.

Camera Equipment (Required for Photography Total Immersion Camp)

Any digital cameras (with extra memory, battery, charger and USB cable) can be brought to camp. NOLI photography equipment will be available at times for students use, however student should bring their own SD card. To get full benefit from this training the following equipment might be considered.

  1. DSLR Camera that Speed, F-stop, ISO setting can be manually set
  2. Spare Battery
  3. Camera Manual
  4. Lens cleaning cloth
  5. Cable release/remote shutter release
  6. Tripod
  7. Cable release/remote shutter release
  8. Lens or lenses covering the focal lengths from 18 mm to 300 mm or greater
  9. Extra memory
  10. Neutral Density Filter (used to allow for showing motion on bright days. Two polarizing filters together serve as a variable Neutral density filter.
  11. A polarizing filter(s)

Please note: The safety and protection of all personal photography equipment is the responsibility of the camper. We will have a locking trunk that photography gear may be stowed.

Fishing Equipment

We may have an opportunity to fish and we teach fly tying you may bring your own equipment for both. Teens 16 and older are required to have a valid fishing license.

Art Camp Supplies for Art Immersion Camp

  1. Charcoal we will make charcoal sticks
  2. Sketching Pad
  3. Sketching Pencils of various hardnesses (Including 4h, 2h, hb b)
  4. Color pencils
  5. Smudge
  6. Water colors
  7. http://www.pentel.com/store/aquash-brush
  8. An old cotton sock
  9. Pastels

#Climbing Gear

We provide climbing gear, but some students are more comfortable with their own gear

  1. Climbing harness (Suggested or similar REI Petzl Corax Climbing Harness)
  2. Locking D ring
  3. Super 8 belay device
  4. Climbing helmet

Enjoy Toni King AKA Bright Path

"Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life."
—John Muir
"Perhaps the ache of homesickness was a fair price to pay for having so many good people in her life."
—Becky Chambers