Backpacking with Kids - 2023

Backpacking Course

Backpacking with Kids

Backpack with your kids! This course is for parents with some backpacking experience who want to take their children (little ones to teenagers) backpacking and explore the wilderness opportunities here in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about trip planning, trail tips, kid-oriented food, gear and safety recommendations and meet other interested families.

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.

This course is for parents with some backpacking experience and little ones age 3-6 (make it fun and simple), grade school kids (fun and adventure) or teens (challenge and learn skills)!  Parents must be Mountaineers members and must participate with their kids on field trips.

Course details

  • Introductory online lecture on Tuesday, April 25 from 6:30-8:15 pm (for parents and older children). 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.
  • "Skills Carnival" backpack workshop and gear demo day on Sunday, May 21 9am - 12pm (for parents and kids). Will be at The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center  (Goodman A and B) with hands on activities including gear demonstration, food and animal safety activities, backcountry hygiene and optional review of your packed backpack prior to summer trips.
  • Overnight backpack trips April - September led by Mountaineers leaders in Washington State. Multiple destinations will be offered to accommodate the ages, interests, and abilities of enrolled families. Links to planned trips offered by course leaders are listed below (and additional trips may be offered). We hope that each enrolled family will have the opportunity to participate in at least one overnight trip and experience backpacking magic!
  • Backpacking with kids resource recommendations.

We hope to build a family-based backpacking community!

Join us for this family friendly course that'll get your kids excited to explore and share time with you outside. The investment you make now will pay off in kids who are engaged, competent outdoor adventurers and advocates, and hours of fun in the backcountry.


  • Parents need to set up a family membership, add all your family members to your account and sign their waivers. After registration, make sure to complete the Youth Information Form (on kid's profile, will see a Youth Form button on the right).  Information here on setting up or changing to family membership. 
  • Register for the course by clicking on the Registration button at the right of this course listing. You will need to register each participating member of your family individually for the course and individual activities.
  • Register for individual activities: Online lecture and "Skills Carnival"  and  some backpacking trips within the Backpacking with Kids course (see Course Activities below)
  • Register for Backpacking Trips by following the links below or registering within the course.
  • The course fee is $20/person.  If this poses a burden for your family, please,    apply for a Mountaineers scholarship.
  • If you have any questions or would like help with any part of this process, please don't hesitate to call the friendly folks at Mountaineers Member Services at 206-521-6001.


*Note registration for these trips  are within the course (see Course Activities below)


  • Course will follow current Mountaineers Covid-19 guidelines in accordance with Washington State and CDC guidelines.
  • Backpacking course badge will be awarded to adult participants after completion of lecture, skills workshop and one backpacking trip. 
  • Should you also be registered for the B3 course,  you can  receive credit for the overnight family backpack toward B3 graduation credit.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Online lecture will be via Zoom. Appropriate internet and computer/device required.  Packing lists  will be included in pre-trip communication prior to backpacks.

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.