We will be hiking at elevations between 8,000 and 11,500 feet, so it is important to undertake a program of physical conditioning. This should involve a consistent program of aerobic exercise, ideally hiking (running and biking are good, too). Build up distance and cadence on varied terrain until you can keep a strong, steady pace for at least two miles, or one hour. Ideally, these training walks should be done in the hiking shoes or boots you will bring to the program. It is important to break in both your feet and your footwear before the trip to avoid blisters. Remember, great things happen when we get a veteran outdoors – come ready to have enjoy the wilderness at altitude.
Clothing & Gear to get a Veteran Outdoors
The following items are recommended. Depending on weather, most of them will go to the hut with the shuttle in your gear duffel. Carry only day gear – and readings – for the hike.
- Day pack with waist belt and padded straps (essential!)
- Water bottle(s) or water bladder system (enough to carry at least one quart)
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Sunscreen (15 SPF or higher)
- Lunch and trail snacks (provided)
- Lightweight pair of comfortable hiking boots or shoes (break them in before the seminar)
- Waterproof stuff sacks or plastic bags to keep gear dry in daypack
- Lightweight sun hat or visor with large brim
- Lightweight, sheer liner socks and medium weight wool or wool blend hiking socks
- Mole skin or comparable foot dressing for blisters
- First Aid kit (aspirin, band aids, antibacterial wound dressing, etc.)
- Comfortable, durable shorts
- Lightweight, comfortable pants (rain pants can double for evening wear)
- Lightweight zippered, long-sleeved turtlenecks of moisture-wicking fabric (No cotton)
- Heavy zippered turtleneck/sweater of moisture-wicking fabric
- Lightweight, waterproof jacket with hood
- Lightweight, waterproof over-pants
- Fleece jacket or down vest for extra warmth
- Medium weight gloves
- Warm woolen cap
- Sleeping bag – medium weight good to 30 degrees – and personal pillow case
- Hut clothes – casual jeans, shirts, sandals, etc.
- Lightweight long underwear, tops and bottoms
- Flashlight or headlamp
What Our Vets Have To Say
This trip was far more amazing than I ever could have imagined. The mountains were absolutely amazing and serene, and make you not want to go home. The leaders and exercises really made you think, and it helped a lot to prioritize life, which can be very difficult to do with PTSD. I highly recommend this trip to any veteran who has returned home physically, but is still trying to find their way back mentally.
You have a gentle soul, which is exactly what I needed. When I was preparing for this trip, I had no idea what to expect. Anxiety overtook my body and mind. Upon meeting you at the airport, I knew everything would be okay. That I would be okay.
Thank you for giving me your time and knowledge. You are such an inspiration. Your patience and thoughtful words are something that I strive for.
I’d be honored to come back as a mentor if I’m the right fit. I love the sense of family and belonging of the staff and volunteers. Your openness and no-judgment attitude are traits rarely found even among biological families. You all are more than that. The love that radiates between you all can be felt by anyone that pays attention.
As you can imagine, life did not stop while we were out in nature and I really had to hit the ground running coming back to the “real world” My kids started school, preparing for when my wife leaves for Airforce Bootcamp on the 26th of this month, and making challenging business moves. Safe to say I plan on “visiting” the pictures often!
I wanted to thank you first for the amazing experience during the whole Huts for Vets program, and being out in nature. I cannot even begin to tell you how honored I am to be apart of this trip, I am grateful for the knowledge gained, but most importantly for new friendships and spiritual connections, I made with everyone. The whole program itself is such an amazing concept, I am blessed to have experienced the curriculum first hand. I would like to stay in contact any way possible, and hopefully have the opportunity to help assist in future events (given that I do not get stationed in another country!) Thank you so much again for your time, energy, and shared memories that I will forever cherish.
I came to Huts For Vets expecting to be available for wounded souls. I didn’t expect to learn how talented, dedicated, and just plain great vets are. Yeah, they suffer problems, but their courage and motivation to continue to give to others has been a revelation. Reach out. Get to know a vet and you’ll find a quality person who has more to offer than you could ever imagine. Thank you, guys!
Thank God for all the wonders He has created and Huts For Vets for providing a conduit to return me to these wonders. Semper Fi!
This has been a great program that is a catalyst to healing and becoming whole again. There is no better place to start this process than with nature. Thank you!
Experienced great time with fellow vets. Learned that life is about living the moment, with no fear of retribution. Fear only controls emotion which creates hostility and anger. Being outdoors has broken me into pieces by realizing pain. Thoughts that were buried I brought to the surface. On the walks these thoughts consumed my every breath. Memories are always going to remind me of where I was before deployment, during deployment, and currently. I am not a horrible person. Only to get better.
This was an amazing experience. The connection I possessed with this band of brothers, military or not, is sure to have a positive impact on myself and those in my presence. I have found the tools I need to make it happen. Now, all that is left is Action! God speed to Huts For Vets and all of its successors.
I am a person that spends time outdoors, but my time here has been different – the perfect “reset.” I will take the tools I have gained and better myself.
Being in this wilderness has helped me understand the value, quality and significance of these wild places. “The further man’s feet are from the earth, the less respect he has for living, growing things.” The men here have taught me that I must improve myself in order to enjoy the freedoms that we all fought for. The Huts For Vets staff is an amazing group of guys with an exceptional program that can give the combat veteran tools to be able to cope with transitions and the issues associated with PTSD, TBI, etc. This program exceeded all my expectations, and the talk, the laughter, music and general BS were truly a gift and proved that camaraderie and brotherhood cross the lines of military branch, unit, and years. Thanks for everything!