Mountaineers Backpacking Courses for 2020

Are you hoping to start backpacking this coming season, or want a re-introduction to update your skills and gear? Check out our Backpacking Course offerings for 2020!
Cheryl Talbert Cheryl Talbert
Foothills Branch Leader & Super Volunteer
February 09, 2020
Mountaineers Backpacking Courses for 2020

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.


Foothills - Backpacking Building Blocks Course | Starts Mar 19
The ‘B3’ course is the most comprehensive backpacking course The Mountaineers offers, providing a full season of learning, practice and support! We start with two evening lectures introducing core skills and gear, then a hands-on gear demonstration day, a practice 'camp', and several optional seminars and clinics which dive deeper into topics such as on-trail navigation, emergency preparedness, trip planning, backpacking food prep, lightweight gear, tips and tricks for women backpackers, and more. Students will go through the class in small mentored groups to build confidence and community with an experienced mentor and compatible peers.   Student-only backpacking trips will be offered during the early season plus many 'open' backpacks of a range of length and difficulty between April and September. We encourage brand new backpackers and those returning after a long hiatus to join our community of fun and supportive people who may just become your lifelong backpacking friends!  Students receive a complementary copy of Andrew Skurka's Ultimate Gear Guide.  No prerequisites; open to all Mountaineers branches. 

Everett - Backpacking Basics  | Starts March 31 
Develop the skills and capability to spend the night in the backcountry! This course will leave you with the knowledge and safety to visit some of the most remote and beautiful places the wilderness has to offer. Taught by a community of experienced outdoor enthusiasts, leave with confidence to join our club trips or even venture out on your own. No prerequisites; open to all Mountaineers Branches

Olympia - Essentials of Backpacking Course | Starts May 22
Experienced course instructors will provide a very hands-on approach to teaching the essentials of backpacking. There will be one evening lecture, where students will learn the essential elements of backpacking: shelters, food preparation, backpacks, and sleeping options. This will be followed by an overnight campout where the students will get the opportunity to practice their backpacking skills, and get more hands-on instruction. Prerequisite: Wilderness Skills badge or equivalent. Come and learn how to have a safe and enjoyable backpacking experience.

Tacoma - Introduction to Backpacking Course | Starts April 6
This hands-on course includes two evening lectures with gear demonstrations and one practice evening for students to bring their loaded packs for a practice hike and gear review. Experienced course instructors will be available for questions and support throughout the course and beyond. Multiple field trips are offered exclusively to students of this course.  Additionally, an optional Trail Emergency Preparedness Seminar will be available to students free of charge. Whether you’re a new backpacker or returning to backpacking, this course is for you! It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and learn to safely and confidently enjoy overnight trips. No prerequisites, open to all Mountaineers branches.

Seattle Branch – Beginning Backpacking Seminar (not yet scheduled)   -
A one-day seminar on how to select and properly pack your backpack, and learn about food/stoves and cooking, boots/socks and hiking without blisters (or how to treat them if you get them), tents/sleeping bags and how to be comfortable sleeping on the ground, leave no trace camping (and how to answer the call of nature without any facilities), clothing and layering, and much more.


Are you an experienced backpacker that would like to help with one of the above courses, or lead an activity? Contact your branch's Backpacking Committee chair, attend one of our New Hike/Backpack Leader Seminars, or check out our Backpack Leader Badge page for information on what’s required and to apply to become a leader.

Add a comment

Log in to add comments.
Dee Ann Kline
Dee Ann Kline says:
Dec 21, 2019 08:49 AM

Very nice blog Cheryl.