The Essentials of Backpacking - Olympia - 2024

Backpacking Course


The Essentials of Backpacking course will bridge the gap between day trips and experiencing the wilderness overnight.

Learn about appropriate gear, trip planning, on the trail tips, food, safety, and other tips and tricks.  The course material is designed to be aligned with the skills identified in the basic Backpacking Skills Badge. It is recommended that students have completed Wilderness Skills and or a Hiking equivalent as these will not be covered in the course. Each student will be given references and handouts provided by the instructor. 

Instructors will lead optional backpacks during the backpacking season with priority being given to students in this course. This course is adults only.  Successful completion of the course will earn the student: the Backpacking Course Badge, Basic Backpacking Skills Badge,  the Low Impact Recreation Badge, and the Stewardship Badge. 

This course will have the opportunities for each student to attend three backpacks: 

  • Lake Sylvia: May 18 & 19, 2024
  • Destination 1: TBA: June 15th & 16th, 2024
  • Destination 2: TBA: July 13th & 14th, 2024

*Optional in-town-Show-Us-Your-Gear-Review: May 8th, 2024 from 5pm to 6pm. Location: TBA


Backpacking gear is an investment. This course will equip you with the knowledge to select the gear that will best suit your budget and your style of backpacking. Our course focuses on providing a range of options so that you can make wise purchases the first time. Experienced day hikers venturing into backpacking that have adequate clothing and 10 Essentials can expect to spend upwards of $700 to $800 or more for a basic backpacking gear set up. New backpackers with very little gear can expect to spend about double depending on their gear selection.  You can reduce your investment by checking out backpacking gear from the Mountaineers Gear Library  in Seattle or inquiring with your local REI store about rental options. 


  • Click the register button.
  • Pay the fee.
  • Register for the Lecture, gear demo field trip "Gearapalooza," and group campout field trip.
  • Before signing up for this course please be sure you have access to adequate transportation.  Lack of access to adequate transportation will not be considered a sufficient reason to refund the course fee.


  •  Students who attend the course lecture, the gear demo field trip, and the Lake Sylvia Backpack will earn the Backpacking Course Badge.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Additional badges needed to graduate


Required Equipment

Required equipment will be covered at the Essentials of Backpacking Lecture held on April 25th. If you have questions or concerns please reach out to Course Instructors: Regina Robinson or Monty Pratt.

Course Materials