Backpacking - Olympia (previously called Wilderness Skills 2) - 2016

Backpacking Course

Wilderness Skills 2 - The Essentials of Backpacking

Backpacking - Olympia (previously called Wilderness Skills 2)

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.


Prerequisites: Wilderness Skills or pass Equivalency (Exam). Students may register for the Backpacking course at any time. However, the Wilderness Skills course's two all-day Saturday workshops must be completed before the Backpacking course begins. 

Eligibility: open to public

Cost: $60 for members, $90 for non-members


  • LEARNING in-depth information and hands-on exercises in backpack including: building navigation skills; measuring and improving physical conditioning; avoiding and handling emergencies; food option; clothing and equipment for the long-haul (old school/cheap, classic, high-tech, and ultra-light); maintenance and repair of equipment, Leave No Trace, animal protection, find the great places to go and how to obtain permits; electronic gear options.

  • PRACTICING skills for setting up a comfortable camp, responding to common problems and traveling off trail where self-reliance and backcountry skills are required.

  • ENJOYING backpacking with a group of like minded travelers by explore the high country and its alpine environment or lowland old-growth forest or the Pacific Coast or the Eastern sage-steppe.

 To graduate the Backpacking Course, students must complete both workshops AND report via email to the course leader that they have completed an overnight backpacking trip (Mountaineers backpacking trips will be offered as well).

Below are the Backpacking Course agendas for the two required workshops. Exact times and minor elements of the content may be adjusted before each course begins.

May 10 (Tuesday) 6-9:30 pm

  • Overnight equipment in depth – pack, gear, tent and sleep system options Examine and compare different gear selections by visiting different stations (low cost–old school) (all the latest) (Ultra-light) (combination)
  • Navigation skills needed for multi-day trips and off trail travel

May 14 (Saturday) 8:00 a.m. - 4:45 pm

  • Meal options and nutrition considerations
  • Conditioning – best practices for the long haul with self-assessment options
  • Problem solving exercises - animal encounters – personal comfort - outdoor ethics - leaving no trace – off-trail travel – camp repairs – navigation issues – weather proofing – accident and illness prevention – terrain challenges
  • Practical exercises in setting up camp – see options other students use
  • Plan and organize your own trips -  Practical tips on getting permits
  • GPS – SPOT and other electronic devices for the backcountry

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.