Introduction to Backpacking - Tacoma - 2022

Backpacking Course

Introduction to Backpacking

Gain the knowledge and tools you need to backpack comfortably and grow your backcountry confidence in 2022! This course will be primarily in-person at the Tacoma clubhouse so proof of vaccination and masks are required.

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.

Click the "MORE" button to read this entire course description before signing up.

Hello Backpackers!

If you are new to backpacking or perhaps a returning backpacker who has been out for some time, this course will prepare you to safely and confidently enjoy overnight or multiple day routes with our experienced backpack leaders.

In order to provide in-person instruction for this course at our Tacoma Branch clubhouse, all participants and volunteer instructors and leaders must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Proof of vaccination must be sent to the course leader upon registration for the course.  Masks will be required during indoor activities.

This Course includes:

  • One short welcome Zoom meeting to learn about the course and meet your course leaders.
  • Two longer in-person course lectures with small group gear demonstrations by course leaders and experienced instructors during both lectures at the Tacoma clubhouse. Lectures will be delivered over Zoom with breakout rooms if COVID restrictions change and we cannot safely meet in-person.
  • One in-person practice camp. For this session you will bring your backpacking gear and practice carrying your loaded pack on a day hike, setting up camp, and cooking with your group. An optional overnight is included for students that would like to spend the night to test out their gear setup. The practice camp may be moved to a different location pending  access to trails nearby in Mt. Rainier National Park. If the practice camp location must be moved there will be no optional overnight.
  • One goodie bag to get your excitement about backpacking kicked off for the season.

What you also get:

  • Resources for choosing gear and training tips to help increase your fitness level before you hit the trail with your overnight gear.
  • Learn about Leave No Trace wilderness ethics when backpacking in the backcountry, how to select your gear without going broke, how you use all that new gear, and the basics of trip planning and route selection.
  • Opportunities to select as many course backpack trips as you want through September. Most students choose trips through the course to fulfill their graduation requirements but you can certainly choose more than two.
  • Join trips that challenge you mentally and physically to reach your greatest potential and your personal goals.
  • Create lasting relationships with other students that are learning or returning to backpacking just like you.
  • Access to the backcountry with experienced leaders that enjoy being outside and coaching students to increase their confidence with their outdoor skills. 
  • Go to some of the most gorgeous and jaw-droppingly beautiful landscapes Washington has to offer. Camping there makes it even better!

optional opportunities to learn more!

  •  Fitness for Hiking and Backpacking Zoom meeting to get in shape at home for hiking & backpacking on March 23.
  • Learn how to Be Bear Aware with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife on Zoom March 31.
  • Backcountry Cooking Workshop. Cook along with Chef Corso on Zoom! He will share recipes and backcountry cooking tips to elevate your trail treats and mountain cuisine on April 12. 
  • Trail Emergency Preparedness. An in-person seminar to get you prepared for some of the common backcountry emergencies. One opportunity for vaccinated participants on  May 5 in-person at the Tacoma clubhouse.
  • For more opportunities about a variety of topics search backpacking seminars . These seminars are designed to augment the backpacking program regardless of the hosting branch.

Equipment Cost:

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 proving 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 gear set up purchased from common outdoor retail stores. 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 welcome Zoom meeting, Lectures 1 and 2, and the practice camp.
  • Send proof of vaccination to the course leader by February 28, 2022. Proof of vaccination is required by this date otherwise you will be withdrawn from the course with no refund.  
  • Refunds will not be granted on or after March 7, 2022.
  • 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.


  • Attend the welcome Zoom meeting, both lectures, and the practice camp.
  • Take a minimum of two qualifying overnight backpacking trips: one course backpack trip and one more of your choice.
  • Earn the Low Impact Recreation Badge by viewing the online video.
  • Earn the Stewardship Badge by completing enough hours to qualify for the badge. This may involve participating in multiple stewardship activities to earn the badge.
  • Submit your graduation application to the course leader no later than September 30, 2022. Graduation requirements must be completed no later than this date.


Contact Lara Linde by email at for questions about the course. I will do my best to respond to you promptly, however, if you do not hear back from me over a weekend, I may be hiking or backpacking and will get back to you as soon as I can.

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Additional badges needed to graduate


Required Equipment

There are no equipment requirements for the Zoom meeting or lectures, but there will be for the Practice Camp and for the Course Backpack Trips.  Equipment requirements will be covered in detail over Lectures 1 & 2 giving ample time to prepare.

Course Materials