Seattle & Foothills Family Backpacking Courses - 2022

Foothills and Seattle leaders are offering reinvigorated family backpacking courses for parents with some experience who want to take their children backpacking in the Pacific Northwest.
Birgit Grimlund Birgit Grimlund
Foothills Backpacking with Kids Course Leader
January 13, 2022
Seattle & Foothills Family Backpacking Courses - 2022
Birgit Grimlund

Are you a Seattle or Foothills parent interested in getting outside more with your kids? Join us for a family backpacking course! Backpacking with your kids in the backcountry can be a rewarding adventure for children and parents alike. Unplug, expose your kids to the joys of being outdoors, be together as a family, and watch your children mature into outdoor enthusiasts.

These courses are for parents with some backpacking experience. We offer tips for people with children from toddlers to teens. Parents must be Mountaineers members and must participate with their kids on the field trips. We would also like to thank the Olympia branch for sharing their robust family programming resources to help make the Seattle and Foothills courses a reality.

Foothills - Backpacking with kids

We offer a robust program that helps prepare families for overnights in the wilderness. Join us for our informative sessions, as well as our backpacking activities throughout the summer to put your new skills to use. Registration is open now. 

course structure

Introductory online lecture for parents - Tuesday, May 3
Interactive lecture focused on strategies for success including pre-trip planning, trip selection and pace, safety, kid specific gear advice and the softer skills of parental attitude and expectations. Presented by experienced parents who backpack with their kids aged 2-19.

"Skills Carnival" Backpack workshop and gear demo day - Saturday, June 5
Designed for parents and children, our demo day will be at Cougar Mountain Regional Park featuring plenty of hands-on activities. This includes demonstrations, food and animal safety activities, backcountry hygiene, and more.

Overnight backpacking trips - June through August
These activities will led by Mountaineers leaders in the Cascade wilderness. Multiple destinations will be offered to accommodate the ages, interests, and abilities of enrolled families. Planned trips include Second Beach, Greenwater Lakes, Hyas Lake and Anderson Lakes, and more. We hope that each enrolled family will have the opportunity to participate in at least one overnight trip and experience the magic of backpacking!

Register for Foothills Course

Seattle - Family backpacking

All course activities will be held in-person at the Mountaineers Seattle Program Center to facilitate community-building. Parents must be Mountaineers members and must participate with their kids at the in-person sessions. Registration is open now. 

We are currently offering this course for parents with children age 5 and above who are vaccinated. This may change if local authorities issue new guidance. Additional COVID-19 considerations are listed in our course details.

Course Structure

Lecture #1 - Thursday, April 7
Our first interactive session focuses on strategies for success, including pre-trip planning, trip selection and pace, and kid-specific gear advice.

Gearpalooza - Saturday, April 16
A recommended session focused on the latest backpacking gear. Done in conjunction with Basic Backpacking course students, this "come explore" function will have stations covering stoves, tents, bags, water systems, and more. Come see what’s new and trade ideas for getting your family prepared.

Lecture #2 - Thursday, April 28
Our second interactive session focuses on safety, parental attitude, setting expectations, and resource and destination recommendations.

Shakeout Hike - Saturday, May 7
A strongly recommended session to practice with your family. Done in conjunction with the Basic Backpacking course, we will organize into staggered start times, then "load up and move out" to walk from the Seattle Program Center down into Magnuson Park. This short hike will help you fine tune your kids' pack weight, practice setting up a tent with "help" from the children, get the kids involved with cooking, and more.

Note: As space allows, Seattle’s Family Backpacking course families may be invited to join Foothills’ Backpacking with Kids course activities later in the summer. Seattle leaders may also offer backpacking trips for families enrolled in either course.

Register for Seattle Course