Please forgive the pun, but this course is in-tents. Sorry, just had to say it. Life doesn’t get much simpler than a backpacker’s life: eat, sleep, and hike. Fun, and very freeing. Having good camp craft is necessary to making the most of the experience, though. It can mean the difference between being comfortable, fed, and dry, versus being a wet, smelly, hungry, disorganized mess. This course will break down what to carry, how to carry it, legal site selection, the principles of Leave No Trace or LNT (see sidebar, bottom), making food, water management, bear and animal control, waste disposal, fires, weather, and a whole lot more. This being a year ’round course, emphasis will also be placed on staying warm during those cold, winter nights.
This year ’round course is presently being offered as a half-day lasting 3-4 hours, or so, as well as a more in-depth, more intensive full day class lasting 6-8 hours, or so. Both offerings are held mostly outdoors, though there is some prep and discussion before we set out. Like all of our programs, this course is custom-tailored to meet your wants and needs so please include any special objectives or learning desires you may have, if applicable, in the comments box of our Booking Form.
What to Wear
You will want to be dressed to hike in the backcountry with respect to the season, elements, and forecast. The information below will help you with this:
- Think layers. While a ski jacket, for example, may be warm and waterproof, if the insulation can’t be separated from the rain/snow protection layer, it really isn’t suitable. You will overheat if you need rain/snow protection while skiing. Bring independent layers. Having our “Ready Pack” will help.
- Never wear cotton, even at the underwear level. Synthetic materials, wool, and especially performance/wicking materials should be your clothing of choice. For skiing, since cotton won’t dry and doesn’t insulate while wet, it can pose a hazard. You will want to wear the right type of skiing or winter hiking clothing and you will want to bring extra.
- Bring more than you think you need. Mountain weather can be very tricky and unpredictable. While it may be nice in town, the mountains can be very different. Being prepared can save your life.
- For footwear, we recommend and mid- height seasonally-rated backpacking boot with the proper support and protection for your ankles. That said, many warm-season backpacker’s wear sneakers or trail runners so in the end, just make sure what you wear is seasonally-rated.
- In winter, notably above treeline (a place we won’t be going during this class) you will want to prep for Denali. Seriously. On some days. We will elaborate on this subject during the course. For now, do consider the forecast.
For your camp craft course gear needs, in addition to your own non-cotton base layers, hiking/climbing pants with shirt, and footwear, as described above, we offer three options. But please note, none of which include a backpacking pad, tent, or sleeping bag. Since we aren’t actually staying out, we will bring these items and will be brought for demonstration purposes only. Same is true of any stoves and other dedicated backpacking gear. That said, please feel free to bring any gear you own. The option to set-up and stay, concluding the class on location, is available. Click to expand.
Gear Option 1 - Open
Gear Option 1 - Close
- Personal first aid kit/meds.
- Personal hygiene items.
- Camera/phone (weather-protected).
- Lip balm, sun block.
- Insect repellent (spring/summer).
- Proper footwear (see information above).
- Proper clothing layering (see information above).
SPECIAL NOTE: You may get a “Ready Pack, Lean” without food and water for $30/person/day.
SPECIAL NOTE: You can also order just food and water for $15/person/day. (Available with any option.)
Gear Option 2 - Open
Gear Option 2 - Close
- A lined pack with hip belt and room for the items below (~30-40 liters).
- Hardshell jacket and pants, or rain poncho (mountain weather can be quite wet).
- Mountain-rated insulated layer (mountains are much colder than in town).
- Winter-rated mid-layer.
- Food for the day, plus extra.
- Water for the day, at least 2 liters, plus extra.
- Winter-rated hat, gloves/mittens.
- Headlamp with spare batteries (or backup device).
- Whistle or sound-making device (sternum strap whistles are okay).
- Tarp, bivvy, or personal shelter.
- A lightweight emergency sleeping pad.
Plus any of these applicable Specialty Gear Items, which may be rented…
- Headlamp, $5/person/day.
- Trekking poles only, $5/pair/person/day.
- Trekking poles, Gaiters, Microspikes, $15/set/person/day (winter).
- Trekking poles, Gaiters, Microspikes, Strap-on Crampons, $25/set/person/day (ice season).
- Strap-on Crampons Only, $15/pair/person/day.
- Snowshoes, $15/pair/person/day (winter).
- Balaclava, Goggles, Mitts, $15/set/person/day (deep cold).
- Down blend puffy, $25/person/day (deep cold).
- Gear Insurance, $10/person/day.
- Plus any outsourced gear items, call for current pricing.
If you do wish to bring your own backpacking gear, refer to the revisions and additions presented in this list.
- A lined pack with hip belt and room for the items below (~60-75 liters).
- Night/camp layer (shorts, base layer, down pants… seasonally).
- Camp footwear (Crocs, flip-flops, down booties).
- More food, plus extra.
- Water filter, pots to melt snow, or a UV pen light, plus extra storage.
- A second full-sized headlamp with spare batteries.
- Tent, hammock, or bivvy.
- A luxury sleeping pad such as a Thermarest. So worth it.
- Firestarter, which should be part of your personal kit.
- Eating/cooking utensils and supplies (long spoon, coffee cup).
- Rag and camp towel for cleaning and drying.
- A cook stove suitable for the season plus adequate fuel and backup.
Gear Option 3 - Open
Gear Option 3 - Close
Okay… Let’s Do This!
Here is the pricing and other information you’ll probably want to know.
|Half Day Course Pricing|
|For one person||$125|
|For two people||$175|
|Added people||$75 each|
|Full Day Course Pricing|
|For one person||$200|
|For two people||$325|
|Added people||$150 each|
|Premium Course Options|
|Make it private||Add $75|
- The difficulty of this activity is as requested, but not super demanding.
- This activity has a 1:4 instructor/student ratio.
- The maximum group size is 8 with 2 guides.
- For parties larger than 8, please contact us.
- Gratuities not included; 15-20% is customary for a good job.