Backpacking with Kids - 2024

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 hikers 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 (or adult family member/guardian) and kids must be Mountaineers members and must participate with their kids on backpack trips.

Course details

  • Introductory online lecture on Tuesday, March 26  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 Saturday, May 11 from 9am to noon (for parents and kids). At The 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.   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.                                                                                                              
  • Next register for individual activities  (Online lecture, Skills Carnival, Backpacking trips) within the Backpacking with Kids course.  Note that most backpacking trips will not be posted until spring and registration for backpacking trips  will occur after online lecture to allow all families an opportunity to sign up. Initial sign up will be limited to one backpacking trip per family with additional trips as space available.
  • The course fee is $22/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.


  • Backpacking course badge will be awarded 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
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Skills Carnival
Seattle Program Center
Sat, May 11, 2024
Registration closes May 10
6 participants
0 instructors
Family Backpack (optional)
Mirror Lake
Sat, Jun 15, 2024 -
Sun, Jun 16, 2024
Registration closes Jun 13
5 participants on waitlist
Baker Lake
Fri, Jun 21, 2024 -
Sat, Jun 22, 2024
Registration closes Jun 19
1 participant
Talapus Lake
Tue, Jun 25, 2024 -
Wed, Jun 26, 2024
Registration closes Jun 19
1 participant
Hyas Lake
Sat, Jun 29, 2024 -
Sun, Jun 30, 2024
Registration closes Jun 26
1 participant
Anderson Lakes
Fri, Jul 19, 2024 -
Sat, Jul 20, 2024
Registration closes Jul 15
0 participants
Anderson Lakes
Sat, Aug 17, 2024 -
Sun, Aug 18, 2024
Registration closes Aug 15
4 participants
Baker Lake
Mon, Aug 26, 2024 -
Tue, Aug 27, 2024
Registration closes Aug 24
5 participants
Ozette Triangle
Sat, Sep 14, 2024 -
Sun, Sep 15, 2024
Registration closes Sep 12
1 participant
Collaborative Family Backpack (optional)
Youth Trip
Fri, Aug 2, 2024 -
Sun, Aug 4, 2024
Registration closes Jul 31
1 participant
Required Equipment

Online lecture will be via Zoom. Appropriate internet and computer/device required.  Additional  equipment  will be communicated in detail prior to field trips/backpacks.

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.