Backpacking Courses for 2019

Are you hoping to start backpacking this coming season, or want a re-introduction to keep your skills sharp? Check out our Backpacking Course offerings for 2019.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 17, 2019

Backpacking season will be upon us before we know it, and we have more options than ever to help you kick-start your backcountry dreams. Courses are available for adults at all skill and experience levels, as well as for families who want to take kids out on the trail. And, you're welcome to take a course with any branch regardless of your branch affiliation. Be sure to sign up for courses while you can, they fill up quickly!  

We also offer a variety of  backpacking activities to help you get outside and practice your new skills - badges are not required to participate.

Upcoming Courses 

Foothills - Conditioning for Hiking and Backpacking Level 1 Seminar | Mar 13
This hands-on workshop led by personal trainer Sheri Goodwin returns for its fourth year. Held at the Seattle Program Center, Sheri will help the group develop a personal conditioning program, with exercises and steps designed to help beginners get in shape for hiking. No prerequisites.

Foothills - Backpacking Building Blocks Course | Starts Mar 21
The ‘B3’ course is the most comprehensive backpacking course The Mountaineers offers, consisting of two informative evening lectures, a Saturday demonstration, a full-day practice 'camp', and several free or discounted optional seminars and clinics in Seattle and around the Bellevue/I90 Corridor area. Students will receive a textbook, and mentor groups will be set up to help students become acquainted and build their confidence with compatible peers and an experienced mentor. Student-only backpack trips will be offered during the early season. To graduate, students must complete the lectures, demonstration day, practice 'camp' components, three backpacking trips, and a stewardship activity. No prerequisites. 

Foothills - "Staying Found" Basic Navigation for Hikers and Backpackers | Apr 28, May 18
This is a hands-on field day (including a lecture and a 4-6 mile practice hike) focused on learning and practicing key skills needed to maintain ongoing awareness of where you are and how to find your path on even the most complicated trail system. No prerequisites.

Foothills – Conditioning for Hiking and Backpacking Level 2 Seminar | May 2 
Personal trainer Sheri Goodwin will help more advanced students develop a personalized training program to get ready for longer hikes and backpack trips. This seminar is held at the Seattle Program Center. No prerequisites.

Olympia - Essentials of Backpacking Course | Starts May 22
This course consists of two evening information sessions and overnight practice camps, one each for adults and families. The information sessions will occur in late May, and the overnight in early June. This course is designed for adults as well as parents who want to take their children backpacking. No prerequisites.

Olympia - Family Backpacking Course | Starts May 22  This course is designed for families with kids who want to establish a solid foundation for their backpacking adventures. There will be an evening lecture/information session for parents only, and another interactive session for the whole family the following week. This course will end with an overnight in early June. No prerequisites. 

Tacoma - Introduction to Backpacking Course | Starts May 6
This hands-on course is designed for adults, though children may also complete the course with an adult. It includes two evening lectures with gear demonstrations, and one evening for students to bring their gear to practice loading packs and carrying weight. The students are divided into mentor groups based on answers to a pre-class questionnaire, with mentors available for questions and support throughout the course and beyond. Multiple field trips are offered exclusively to students of this course. Students will be provided with a backpacking book as part of the enrollment fee. Optional Trail Emergency Preparedness and ‘Staying Found’ Navigation clinics will also be available to students. To graduate, students must complete two backpacking trips and a stewardship activity. No prerequisites.

Foothills - Backpacking with Kids Course | Starts May 15
This course is designed for families with kids from toddlers to teens who want to establish a solid foundation for their backpacking adventures. There will be an evening lecture/information session for parents (held in Seattle), an overnight practice camp off the I90 corridor, and easy family backpack trips over the summer. These trips will be organized by children’s age groups when possible, and led by experienced backpackers who have successfully introduced their kids to a life of backpacking.

Become a Leader

Are you an experienced backpacker that would like to help with one of the above courses, or lead an activity? Attend one of our upcoming New Hike/Backpack Leader Seminars, held at the Foothills Branch on Feb 6, or at the Tacoma Branch on Feb 26 and Apr 30. You can also check out our Backpack Leader Badge page for information on what’s required and to apply to become a leader.