Advanced Backpacking Skills Equivalency - Seattle - 2020

Backpacking Course

Advanced Backpacking Skills Equivalency

Course for awarding the Advanced Backpacking Skills badge to those with equivalent backpacking training and experience.

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.

This is an administrative-only course for awarding the Advanced Backpacking Skills badge by the Seattle Backpacking Committee. It does not have any activities.

To apply for equivalency:

  1. Review the "description of skills" section on the Advanced Backpacking Skills Badge  page and verify that you have those skills.
  2. Be prepared to document your proficiency in the three skill areas required for the badge.  See "Documenting Your Proficiency" below.
  3. Complete and submit the Backpacking Skills Equivalency Application.  Choose "Advanced Backpacking Skills" as the badge type and "Seattle" as the branch.

Members of the the Seattle Backpacking Committee will review your application and online activity history, and may contact you if they need additional information.  Though we try to respond promptly, the process can sometimes take a few weeks depending on volunteer availability.

Documenting Your Proficiency

The Advanced Backpacking Skills badge requires proficiency in three areas: trip planning, navigation, and first aid.   We rely on the applicant's Mountaineers course history and activity history to provide most of the supporting documentation as described below.

The Seattle Backpacking Committee does not have the resources to evaluate whether an applicant has "equivalent skills" for navigation and wildness first aid.  Both the Navigation and First Aid programs offer their own equivalency processes.  If you are new to The Mountaineers and believe you already have equivalent skills in those areas, we ask that you get those equivalencies first.

Trip Planning

The badge requires having "planned and participated in at least three successful backpacking trips within the previous two calendar years, of which at least one trip is two nights or more".  

If you were a Leader, Co-Leader, or Mentored Leader for a Mountaineers trip then we assume you participated in the planning of that trip, and no further documentation is required.  If you were an Assistant Leader then the trip might count if you can demonstrate that you substantially participated in the planning of the trip.   Course field trips are very different than regular trips, and do not count for purposes of equivalency.

The overnight Mountaineers trips you have led to not have to have been posted as Backpacking trips.  For equivalency purposes, any overnight trip during which you and your party carried backpacks and camped outdoors counts as a "backpacking trip" regardless of the sponsoring Committee.  Examples include overnight trips for Alpine Scrambling, Climbing, Glacier Travel, Winter Camping, etc. 

For multi-night trips, trips that are a mix of car camping and backcountry camping do not count unless  at least two consecutive nights of the trip were spent in the backcountry.  In particular, two-night trips where the first night was spent at a trailhead or nearby campground do not count as multi-night backpacks.

Documentation of private trips is more involved because it can be difficult to demonstrate that you participated in the planning of the trip.  Each situation is different, and the details are up to the person evaluating the equivalency application.


The badge requires the completion of a field navigation class or equivalent within the past three years, therefore for equivalency we require that your online activity history shows you as having graduated either a Wilderness Navigation (a.k.a. Basic Navigation) course or Staying Found course within the past three years. 

First Aid

The badge requires completion of an outdoor-oriented first aid class within the past three years, therefore for equivalency we require that your online acviity history shows that you graduated a Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, MOFA, or Trail Emergency Preparedness course within the past three years.


The Advanced Backpacking Skills badge shows that you have the skills needed to plan and lead Backpacking trips, and to participate in longer trips to remote  destinations that are more committing and require more self sufficiency in areas such as navigation and first aid.  It can be a step towards becoming a Mountaineers Backpacking Trip Leader.  It is a recently added badge that is now awarded upon graduation from some Backpacking courses offered by the various Mountaineers branches.  It is a way of  demonstrating  your skill proficiency, and makes it easier for Backpacking Course Leaders and Committee members to verify that you have the necessary qualifications when setting up mentored trips, courses, etc.   It is not yet a prerequisite for any Mountaineers activities, though it may be in the future.   


Getting this badge via equivalency might be right for you if:

  • You are already an active Backpacking Trip Leader or Trip Leader in another Mountaineers activity that does overnight trips, such as Climbing, Scrambling, Glacier Travel, Winter Camping, etc.
  • You already have the equivalent skills from experience outside The Mountaineers.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Course Materials

There are no materials for this course.