Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of common questions we receive.

If you have a question that is not answered below, visit our trip planning page or feel free to contact us.

How do I sign up for a trip?

We accept reservations on a first-come, first-served basis. Please give some thought to your interests and preferences. Some trips are moderate, while others are strenuous. A few are only for highly qualified participants. Review the trip description and Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC) and be realistic about your physical condition and the trip's level of difficulty.

Phone: You can register with a credit card (we accept Visa and Mastercard only) by calling 415-977-5522. Please have the trip number, your credit card information, and your membership number handy.

Online: You can register on the Web using our secure and easy online reservation system.

If you would like to pay by check, please contact us at 415-977-5522 for details.

Note: Your final acceptance and participation in a trip is contingent upon our receipt and review of all required (completed and/or signed) forms and information, including the Participation Agreement, Medical Form and Participant Responsibilities and Information Form, and your full and timely payment.

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

All trip reservations are subject to acceptance by the trip leader. This process allows leaders to consider whether each trip participant has equipment, experience, and physical conditioning needed for the trip. After signing up for a trip, each applicant (including those on the waitlist) must fill out participant forms, which will be sent by mail or email depending on which option is selected, and mail them to the trip leader within 30 day of the date you make your reservation. You can also download participant forms.

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 expenses in the event you need to cancel; medical expenses incurred on a trip; and the cost of a possible medical evacuation from a trip. Travel insurance plans are available from USI Travel Insurance Services, although you are welcome to explore other options as well. For more on this, see our travel insurance page.

Do you offer carbon offsets on your trips?

No, although you can read about this topic on our carbon offsets page.

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.

Do you provide discounts to veterans and military family members?

Yes. If you are a veteran or military family member, please contact us to receive 10% off your reservation.

Do you allow service dogs on trips?

This is up to the trip leader and whether the land agency allows it or not. Leaders cannot deny participants with a legitimate disability unless the dog poses a threat/safety risk or some other logistical impediment. The disability itself must also be compatible with the trip expectations and reasonable accommodation.