Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of common questions we receive. If you have a question that is not answered below, feel free to contact us.

How do I sign up for a trip?

You may do one of the following:

  • Sign up online, using the "Book It" button at the top of the trip brochure.
  • Call 415.977.5588 (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., PST, M-F) to place a credit card deposit. Please have your credit card information ready.
  • Fax your credit card deposit to: 415.977.5795.
  • Send a completed trip application form with a check, money order, or credit card information to:

            Sierra Club Outings
            85 Second Street, Second Floor
            San Francisco, CA 94105

On your application, be sure to include: the trip number and name of the outing to which you are applying, your name, your membership number, address, and phone numbers. If others in your party have different addresses, be sure to include those, too. If you are not currently a Sierra Club member, you may apply for membership when you sign up for the trip.

For all credit card deposits (Visa or MasterCard only), please be sure to include: your credit card number, its expiration date, and your signature, in addition to the above information. **Credit card applications submitted less than 90 days before the trip departure date will be debited the full trip fee. Please fill in the full amount on your application.**

NOTE: Applications received with incomplete or inaccurate information may be delayed.

Trip deposits are accepted subject to our published [Reservation and Cancellation Policy]. All trip sign-ups are on a first-come, first-served basis. Questions about reservations or payments should be addressed to the Outing department. Questions about the trip's itinerary, difficulty, transportation, accommodations, etc., should be addressed to the trip leader.

Why do I have to be approved to take a trip?

All participants on Sierra Club outings must be approved. Participant approval enables leaders to verify that prospective participants are ready for the challenges of the trip, and allows leaders to be prepared in case of emergency. After you sign up for a trip (even if you're on the waitlist), you must fill out the approval materials–questionnaire, medical form, liability release–included in your confirmation packet and mail them promptly to the leader. You can also download approval materials.

NOTE: Do not make nonrefundable arrangements (air travel, hotel reservations, etc.) before contacting the trip leader to confirm your approval.

Do I have to bring my own equipment? What items should I bring?

On Sierra Club outings, you must furnish your own personal equipment, including items such as boots, backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, a "basics" first-aid kit, toiletries, and eating utensils. The Sierra Club provides all shared group gear, including stoves, cookware and cooking utensils, a group first-aid kit, and food, unless otherwise noted in the brochure.

Your leader may supply details about equipment unique to the outing after you sign up for the trip. Please address all equipment questions to the leader (for contact information, see the leader biography at the bottom of each brochure).

Can I carpool to the trip starting point?

Yes. We encourage trip participants, whenever possible, to carpool to and from the trailhead or starting point in order to minimize their carbon emissions. However, it is at your sole risk, whether you are the driver or passenger. The Sierra Club does not have insurance for carpooling arrangements and assumes no liability for them; carpooling, ride sharing, or anything similar is strictly a private arrangement among the drivers and riders.

May I bring electronic devices on a Sierra Club trip?

Electronic devices may be used as long as, in the judgment of the trip leader, they do not impair the safety, serenity, or enjoyment of any trip member, or cohesiveness of the group.

Am I supposed to give the trip leader a tip?

All Sierra Club leaders are volunteers who hope that your positive experience on our trips will heighten your commitment to and support of the Sierra Club. Accordingly, our leaders do not accept gratuities. If your experience was especially positive and you wish to do something extra, contributions can be made to the Sierra Club or the Sierra Club Foundation.

What do I need to know about medical issues and safety?

Sierra Club trips are wilderness adventures where the group may not have ready access to definitive medical care such as 911. Each leader is first-aid trained and carries an expedition first-aid kit for medical emergencies. The expedition first-aid kit only includes general first-aid supplies and some over-the counter medications appropriate for the type of outing-it does not include any prescription medications.

We do require you to bring a basic, personal first-aid kit, along with whatever over-the-counter and prescription medications you may need. If you are bringing a prescription medication, it is best to bring a spare set in the event that your primary set gets lost, wet or unusable.

In your reservation confirmation packet you will also receive a medical form, which must be filled out and submitted to the leader before you are accepted onto the trip. We ask for this information so that our staff will know in advance of special medical conditions you may have, rather than learning about them in a crisis. Also, in the event of serious injury or illness, this form provides emergency medical personnel with a useful medical history. After reviewing this form, the leader may contact you to discuss whether the trip will be safe and enjoyable for you considering your medical history. We will keep the information on this form confidential. It will be seen only by staff, medical personnel, or others who know and understand its confidential nature. The form will be retained along with your liability waiver for a period of time following the trip, after which it will be destroyed. If you choose not to go on the trip, this form will be destroyed immediately.

Do I need to buy travel insurance?

We strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance to cover cancellation fees associated with a trip as well as airfare or other nonrefundable expense in the event you need to cancel; medical expenses incurred on a trip; and the cost of a possible medical evacuation from a trip. Comprehensive travel insurance plans are available from USI Travel Insurance Services. USI Travel Insurance Services is not affiliated with the Sierra Club.

Feel free to contact USI Travel Insurance Services if you have questions on this policy or its coverage as Sierra Club Outings is not equipped to provide specific answers to questions on the program.

Do you offer carbon offsets on your trips?

Yes. Through a partnership with NativeEnergy, trip participants can help finance the construction of wind, biogas, solar and other carbon-reducing projects anytime they book a trip with us. Visit our carbon offsets page to learn all about carbon emissions, offsets, and our partnership with NativeEnergy.

How do I access my trip billing information and approval forms?

Visit our electronic billing and forms page and enter your Sierra Club member ID and trip number. If you're unsure about these items, please contact us.

How do I provide feedback about my experience?

We strive to provide safe and enjoyable experiences for all of our participants, and we appreciate any comments and suggestions, positive or negative, so that we may assess, improve, and expand our program. At the conclusion of your trip, you will receive an e-mail asking you to submit an online trip evaluation. If you do not receive the email or if the link does not work, you can access your trip evaluation using your member number and trip number. Note: this is only accessible after the trip. If you do not have e-mail access, your leader will provide you with a paper copy of the evaluation which can be filled out and mailed directly to the Outings office. Submitting an evaluation is optional, but we encourage you to do so. Evaluations are reviewed by our Quality Improvement Committee to ensure that problems are promptly addressed and praise is forwarded to the relevant volunteer leader(s) and/or office staff. If you have questions about trip evaluations, please e-mail us.