Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) Course - Foothills - 2014

Backpacking Course

Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) Course

Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) Course

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.

Backpacking Building Blocks is a course for new or more experienced backpackers that combines relevant classes and seminars with opportunities to practice backpacking skills both on the trail and in camp.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Lightweight and Ultralight Backpacking Gear Seminar (optional)
Seattle Program Center
Thu, Apr 7, 2016
Registration closed Apr 5
12 participants
Mercer Island Public Library
Mon, Apr 17, 2017
Registration closed Apr 15
15 participants
Lewis Creek Park
Wed, Apr 10, 2019
Registration closed Apr 8
18 participants
0 instructors
"Staying Found" Basic Navigation for Hikers and Backpackers (optional)
Tradition Plateau Interpretive Shelter
Sat, Jun 11, 2016
Registration closed Jun 4
6 participants
0 instructors
Backpacking Building Blocks Student-Only Backpack (optional)
Shi Shi Beach
Sat, May 5, 2018 -
Sun, May 6, 2018
Registration closed May 3
9 participants
Ingalls Creek
Fri, Jun 28, 2019 -
Sun, Jun 30, 2019
Registration closed Jun 26
5 participants
0 instructors
Eightmile Lake & Lake Caroline
Mon, Sep 20, 2021 -
Wed, Sep 22, 2021
Registration closed Sep 18
1 participant
0 instructors
Spider Meadows, Spider Gap, Lyman Lakes & Buck Creek Pass
Fri, Sep 24, 2021 -
Sun, Sep 26, 2021
Registration closed Sep 19
2 participants
0 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Thu, Mar 21, 2019
Registration closed Mar 19
4 participants
0 instructors
Lightweight Backpack Food Planning and Preparation (optional)
Gibson Hall, Issaquah Kiwanis Club
Thu, May 23, 2019
Registration closed May 21
4 participants
0 instructors
Course Materials
Information on Washington Recreation Passes and Permits

Used, Rental, Borrow and Discount Gear Options for Backpackers

Updated March 2019

The Ten Essentials

Leave No Trace Principles for Hikers and Backpackers

REI Gear Articles and Advice - Backpacking

The Mountaineers Seven Steps for Emergency Response

Arranging Your Trail Maintenance Trip

Beginner Backpacker Gear Recommendations 2020

A list of suggested examples of major gear brands and models we would recommend to you as a good value to get started backpacking. Clothing and small essentials are not included. This is not an exhaustive list, and you should try out ANY gear items before buying!

Backpacking Food Handouts

Latest Outdoor Gear Lab Gear Ratings

from - updated for 2020

Cheryl's sample Gear checklist matched to the "basic kit"

Sample backpack distance-elevation profile

Student Handout for First B3 Basics Lecture

Backpacking Gear Checklist Template - the "Basic Kit"

Use this template to work out what you need for your first trips!

Student Handout for Second B3 Basics Lecture

Easy Early Season Backpack Trips in Washington!

Updated April 2019

Andrew Skurka Gear List and Weight Template

A sample gear template created by Andrew Skurka to help backpackers assemble their gear and keep track of their backpacking base weight. See other Skurka document for the accompanying gearlist definitions document.

Skurka Gearlist -- definitions

A supplemental document to the Skurka Gear Spredsheet with category definitions.

Website listings - Lightweight Backpacking

A list of websites and Facebook pages focused on lightweight gear -- reviews, used gear purchasing, Ultralight gear manufacturer websites, etc.

Lightweight Backpacking class PowerPoint Presentation (PDF version)


Instructions to Find and Register for B3 Student Only Backpack Trips and "open" Mountaineers Backpack Trips

Virtual Demo Day videos

Gear Priorities - Pros and Cons

Use this handy rubric to evaluate what gear attributes are most important to you, considering price, weight and features.

Information on Washington Recreation Passes and Permits