Is the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail calling your name? Do you want to try out backpacking but don’t know where to start? Do you have experience backpacking, but are looking to lighten your load. Either way, this overnight backpacking course is designed to meet your needs. You will learn how to properly select, fit, and pack a backpack with the 7 Survival Priorities in mind. Spend two days learning all the basics of backpacking including campsite selection, camp cooking, water treatment systems, and how to stay safe and comfortable while you hike, all the while keeping an ultralight focus. You’ll also learn about Leave No Trace guidelines the importance of minimum-impact camping. Our instructor has personally completed a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail (and several other trails!), so this is a great course for those considering and overnight trip or a long-distance hike!
What else should I know?
What outdoor experience do I need to attend this course? Outdoor experience levels do not matter. We have students with no backpacking experience to those with hundreds of miles under their boots. Everyone learns valuable information in this course. You will leave prepared to help yourself and others while on any adventure.
Do I get to eat bugs? You will learn which bugs are edible and how to find them. Eating them is optional! This course includes camp cooking and food preparation to keep you nourished on your adventure.
What time does the course start and end? The course begins at 10:00 Saturday morning and finishes by 1:00 on Sunday. Plan to arrive by 9:30 on Saturday. If you prefer to travel on Friday, you can stay at the lodge. $50 includes a bunk and breakfast. $25 for each additional person in your group. Group, semi-private and private rooms are available on a first come first serve basis.
Do I sleep under the stars? This is your adventure! You can sleep in a tent, a shelter you improvise or stay in the lodge. The choice is yours.
What should I bring? Click here for an equipment list. This list includes gear you should always have with you on an backpacking adventure. Bring what you have or borrow from us. No need to buy any new gear prior to coming to a course.
Is the course taught outside? The training camps are setup outside held under parachute canopies. The Virginia location courses are held on Mountain Shepherd’s gorgeous 100 acre property bordering the Jefferson National Forest.
Do I need to bring a friend? If you come alone, you are guaranteed to leave with new friends! Of course, your friends are always welcome – sign them up too!
What is the age requirement of this course? This is a course for adults. 18 year olds may come alone. 16 & 17 year olds may come with a responsible partner over the age of 18.