This is the gear list we send in our Acceptance Packet, these are the bare essentials we ask our members to have when going on hitch.
Required Everyday Items:
8” Tall, Full Leather Boots – see Boot Guide below
Work Pants – Canvas or denim. Sturdy, no holes, ready to get dirty.
Water Bottles – at least 3 liters capacity. Hydration is key in the Texas heat!
Sleeping bag and sleeping pad – we do have some available for rent (prices below)
Tent – with waterproof rain fly, 2 to 4 person sized tents are recommended.
Rain gear – waterproof jacket (be careful when shopping, there is a difference between waterproof and water resistant), breathable if possible. Rain pants and pack covers are optional.
Daypack – a backpack that will hold your water, lunch, extra layers, etc. Nothing fancy, just something you don’t mind getting dirty.
Tupperware/Bowl, Utensils, Coffee Cup – Something that you can eat out of and pack your lunch in while on hitch.
Bag – to transport your extra clothes/gear while camping. Can be a backpacking backpack or durable duffel bag.
Flashlight or headlamp – either will work, but a headlamp is really handy for moving around camp and doing camp duties at night.
Alarm clock – a watch works for this, or a battery powered clock. You cannot rely on having service/charging areas at some campsites
Long Sleeve Shirt – Something to protect you from sun and brush. Once again, thrift stores are a great source for stuff like this since it will get worn and torn. You will also receive one long sleeve TxCC brush shirt with your uniform
Bandana – either for your neck or head
Work gloves –We can’t guarantee you’ll like the gloves we supply, so you might want to bring a pair that fit well and comfortable
Hitch / Camping Gear: We provide cooking gear and food while on hitch. We have tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads that you can rent from us for your term if you cannot acquire your own. Pricing is listed below and will be deducted from your stipend.
Rental Prices per term:
Sleeping Bag: $5 — Sleeping pad $5 — Tent $45
Anticipate on spending a minimum of $80-$100 for a decent pair of boots. They’ll be on your feet 40hrs/week for 6-11 months. Cheap boots will leave you more prone to foot injuries and are more likely to fall apart with extensive use. A new pair will be one of the last things you want to spend your modest member stipend on while living in Austin. A little more of an investment on the front end could be well worth it in the long run. If you’re interested in a career in this field, it may be wise to invest $150-$300 to get a good pair that’ll have a much longer life.
All leather: It’s imperative that your boots be all leather. This is an industry safety standard for operating a chainsaw. Boots with breathable mesh may sound very appealing, but the mesh does not offer adequate protection in this line of work. Also, if a career in wildland firefighting is desired they do not allow boots with mesh because it can melt in extreme heat.
8 inches: It is also imperative that your boots be 8”. This is again for safety while operating a chainsaw. This specific height requirement provides for a 2 inch overlap while wearing Kevlar chaps. Bring a tape measure boot shopping, they must measure 8 inches from the bottom of the sole to the top of the boot. If you show up with boots shorter than that, we will ask you to go out and buy a new pair.
Soles: We require that boots have a slip resistant sole because of the “nature” of our work environment.
Cowboy boots are permitted, as long as they fit this, as well as all other requirements. Some prefer boots with a logger sole, but this is not required.
Steel toed boots are not necessary. They can be a good measure to prevent some injuries to feet while
working with heavy objects. However, you will also be doing a lot of hiking, and hiking with steel toes can be more physically demanding. Composite toe boots could be a nice middle ground, but once again not a requirement.
Other considerations: Waterproof: We work in all weather conditions, and there is no greater discomfort than wet feet, not to mention the very real health concern of trench foot. Non-insulated: TX summers are very hot and we recommend against insulated boots. Reinforcement shank: Good for your feet, as well as the boots.
Heat tolerant: If pursuing a career in fire this might be something to consider to avoid buying another pair down the road.
Good brands: Cabela’s, Carhartt, Carolina, CAT, Chippewa, Danner, Georgia, Irish Setter, Keen, Muck, Nicks, Redwing, Rocky, Timberland, Whites, and Wolverine
Women Sizing: It can be challenging to find a well fitting, solid work boot in women’s sizes. Carolina, Justin, Red Wing, Chippewa, Carhartt and Timberland have some models that work well and aren’t too expensive.