Mountain Canine Corps (MCC) is a nonprofit search and rescue (SAR) organization that is composed of all volunteers. Unfortunately, we do not have adequate funding to equip our volunteers. Therefore, MCC team members purchase the necessary equipment for their activities with the team with the help of our professional partners.

The following is a list of suggested equipment.  Please refer to the "Gear and Clothing" section of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety's "Search and Rescue Field Certification Study Guide" for a required minimal equipment list.

Disclaimer: The information below is provided as a guideline only for the most common items needed by MCC team members on search missions. This list is not exhaustive and does not cover all possible outdoor scenarios. Please carefully consider your planned activities, the weather (both the anticipated and the remotely possible conditions), the terrain, and plan your equipment accordingly.

Keep in mind that, because of the high altitudes one can encounter in New Mexico, cold weather gear can be appropriate gear during the middle of the summer.


For clothing, the key in both cold and hot weather is to use wicking-type fabrics close to the skin to help keep you dry and at a comfortable temperature. Cotton is not an acceptable fabric for search work in New Mexico. Also, layering of clothing is important as layering helps you regulate your temperature appropriately. The clothing you choose to wear will be highly dependent on your personal preferences and the conditions you expect to encounter.

Warm weather:

  • Synthetic wicking fabric shirt and pants (shorts are not recommended as they offer no leg protection from the sun, critters, insects, or vegetation)
  • Outer layer: lightweight windproof/waterproof layer (rain coat and pants)
  • Hat
  • Synthetic material socks
  • Hiking boots
  • Gaitors (useful during the summer to keep out sand)
  • Sunglasses

Cold weather:

  • Base layer: polypro or similar synthetic wicking fabric
  • Middle layer: insulating synthetic pants and shirt (such as fleece)
  • Outer layer: windproof/waterproof layer that is "breathable"
  • Mittens or gloves, glove liners, headband, hat, balaclava
  • Synthetic material or wool-blend socks, sock liners
  • Warm boots
  • Traction for boots (such as STABILicers or YakTraxs)
  • Gaitors
  • Sunglasses, goggles

Radio harness and easily accessible pockets with:

  • Space blanket
  • Fire starter or storm matches
  • Compass
  • Team roster
  • Signal mirror (military spec)
  • Water purification kit/iodine
  • Ear plugs (for any helicopter you might end up riding)
  • Trash bag (almost infinite uses)
  • Small tape measure (helpful with foot prints)
  • UTM interpolator
  • Puffer bottle with chalk-type material
  • Zip ties
  • Whistle
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Sunblock packages
  • Identification and notification of any drug allergies
  • Cell phone
  • Radio with speaker mike, spare battery, high gain radio antenna
  • Radio pocket reference guide 
  • Topographic and, if available, aerial map of search area
  • Medical gloves
  • GPS
  • Spare fresh batteries
  • Headlamp
  • Hand warmers
  • Ziploc bags
  • Small notebook and pens, preferably waterproof type
  • First aid kit and wilderness medicine field guide
  • Flagging tape and flagging dispenser
  • Flashlight
  • Pocket knife/multi-purpose tool


  • SAM splint(s)
  • Ace bandage(s)
  • Space blanket bag (heavier weight version)
  • One-inch tubular webbing (20 feet recommended)
  • Sleeping bag 
  • Helmet
  • Duct tape
  • Lightweight metal cup
  • Water filter
  • (C) Stove with extra fuel
  • Packages of drink mix (with salt and electrolytes)
  • Airhorn
  • Food for subject and tea/hot chocolate mix
  • Extra whistle, light sticks, matches, and signal mirror
  • Sufficient food for 24 hours
  • Camera
  • Leather work gloves
  • AA strobe light
  • Small binoculars
  • backpacking stove and fuel
  • Insect repellant
  • Light sticks
  • Reflective and/or SAR vest
  • Shears
  • Small weather station
  • Water
  • Thermarest or closed cell foam
  • Medical kit, including regular medications 

Winter Considerations

  • Ski poles 
  • Snowshoes
  • Hydration system insulation
  • Avalanche transceiver
  • Shovel

If you are a dog handler, also bring:

  • Dog coat
  • "Search dog" vest
  • Lighted collar with working battery
  • Harness
  • Lead
  • Extra water for dog
  • Dog food and treats
  • Dog clean-up bags
  • If applicable, a long tracking lead
  • Dog specific first-aid materials
  • Dog first-aid field guide
  • Collapsible dog bowl
  • Clip for making a spare lead out of webbing

In your vehicle:

  • Mobile radio
  • Maps
  • Any equipment manuals (radios, GPS, etc)
  • Shoes and change of clothes
  • Food
  • Water
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Jumpstarter

Additional items to consider:

  • Cable to connect GPS to a computer
  • Mapping software
  • Medical insurance