From dust to tribe . . .

Dust and Tribe (D&T) is the experience of growth through adventure.

Our fall and spring signature excursions are annual opportunities for Muslim men and women to push through the boundaries of supposed mental and physical limits into a new awareness of what we can be when we support one another.

It is where we discover what we are (dust) and what we become together (tribe).

Spring 2016: D&T Grrrl!

On April 22nd, fifteen women left for three days and two nights camped out on an island two-hours off the California coast. This blog is their story!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Alright, ladies. Time to gear up!

Makes me giddy, all that pink.

If you're going to thrive (or even survive) on an island for three days, you're going to need some gear. You don't need tons and tons of stuff, and it doesn't have to be top-shelf Himalayan certified, either. But having a few nice things can really make the difference between "I can't wait to do this again" and "shoot me, please."

I have my biases, and I intend to share them with you. Feel free to reject them. Or embrace them. It's on you.

More than anything else, I want to be warm. Chances are, no matter what I'm doing, I'll probably enjoy it as long as I'm warm. Nothing is fun when I'm cold. I'm trying to think of some exceptions as I write this and . . .

Nope. Everything sucks when I'm cold. So that's my first bias. I want you to be warm.

Start with your baselayer.

Your baselayer is a nice, long sleeve undershirt. You want it to fit well and close for good, friction-free articulation. You're not looking to get modest here and you don't want anything terribly heavy, either. You are going to be wearing other things over this. Here's a fantastic list of highly reviewed baselayers. I personally love products by SmartWool, but you can just go out and try things on and see how it all works out, insha Allah.

All of our vital organs are up top, so you want to keep your top half warm, for sure. Most people don't have as much trouble keeping their legs warm, but if you're all chickeny with whack circulation you can go ahead and look into some light long underwear. Freak.

A lot of people do have trouble with their feet getting cold, though, so you might think about some chunky wool or even leather socks. Then you can bone up on the fiqh of khuffs and spare yourself that icy fajr footbath!

Now everything over that baselayer is optional and here's where you can be as modest, trendy, cute, and/or functional as you want to be. Here's a great article on layered clothing systems, but the general idea is that you want things that you can put over or peel off your baselayer. A breathable, technical t-shirt, or even a long sleeve light-weight flannel might be a good choice. You can layer a sweater or hoodie over that, and then maybe a water/windproof shell. The mornings and evenings when you're just hanging around camp, you'll be glad to have all those layers. And when you are off exploring your island, you can pull things off and tuck them into your day pack.

Keeping with the theme of warmth, you'll want a good sleeping bag and some kind of sleeping pad. Consider getting a sleeping bag designed for women. They are cut to accommodate a woman's proportions and there is actually some pretty strong evidence that women sleep colder than men. A woman's bag is often better insulated. A sleeping pad is essential, too. Without it, the ground will literally suck the heat from your body. It's pretty terrible. And be sure to wear a cap at night!

Some folks won't listen, though. I once camped with a guy who brought the comforter from his bed. I also camped with a guy who brought nothing but some silly foil-thing to wrap himself in at night (interestingly, these guys are both related by marriage). They each got through the night, but they were cold.

But you, in your knit cap and chunky socks all tucked into your badass sleeping bag atop a nice, squishy underpad- super cozy.

Considering my target demographic, a group of Muslim women, that picture is grossly inappropriate for at least three reasons, but you'll look past that and think cozy, OK?

Now you've got your clothing and your sleeping bag and pad. A sturdy day-pack is good. You've got a mile into and out of camp, but other than that one trek with all of your stuff, you don't really need to bother with some massive external frame Artic Explorer. Your college Jansport will work fine, insha Allah.

You can go a few different directions with footwear. I do really well hiking in sandals and this is a particularly attractive option on Santa Cruz Island. You'll be spending time in and around water, so you might think about offerings from the likes of Teva or Keen or my favorite- Chaco!

They don't get much uglier, but Lord are they functional. Your feet stay locked in and those soles last forever.

There are several items that you'll be sharing. Some enterprising woman among you would do well to start a shared spreadsheet documenting who will be bringing things like tents, stoves, fuel tanks, and cooksets. I will tell you about one more piece of kit that I won't do without, though.

This here is my pride and joy:

It's the SnowPeak 700 titanium mug. You can cook in it, eat out of it, drink your coffee and cocoa like a boss, rattle it across jail-bars, collect busking tips, whatever. I use this thing daily, probably one of many reasons I live alone.

A good knife is also really nice to have. You can splinter firewood, chop things up, and poke at pesky island foxes.

There are a few more essentials, but I think I'll save them for another post.

Until then, have fun in the dressing room!


  1. Can you send a link for knit cap? Are you referring to the undercap/ inside piece women wear under their scarf?

    1. As-salamu 'alaikum Sister Sarah!

      Check out

      Do a search for "women's beanie." I'm talking about something warm to wear on your head, especially when you go to sleep. We lose a lot of heat through our head, and so a little insulation up top will go a long way, insha Allah.

      Great question!


  2. Appreciate the staying warm tips! Being too cold makes me dysfunctional :p