Category Archives: Backpacking

Spring opens a world of backpack opportunities

Spring is one of our four favorite seasons to backpack because:

  • Temperatures are moving up — no worrying about whether your 20-degree bag will cut it on a 19-degree night
  • Daylight is increasing — no 14-hour nights in your sleeping bag
  • The world is coming to life — no explanation needed

Thus, it’s no surprise that spring is one of our busiest times on the trail. Here’s what we’ve got going on into June. For more information and to sign up, see the links below.

Learn to backpack

We have two options for folks who aren’t backpackers — but want to be. read more

GetOut! Your Nudge for Weekend Adventure

Don’t let the weather rain on your weekend adventure parade. Grab a rain jacket (or a big trash bag) and venture out for some good, wet, fun! Such as:

Occoneechee Geology Hike, Saturday, 2 p.m., Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough. One of the reasons we like this hike for this weekend is that the trail is generally high up and less susceptible to standing water (except for portions along the Eno River, which will be under water). Quarrying operations from years ago leave the north face of the mountain exposed, making it ideal for a geological dissection. Also: the hike is lead by a geologist. About 1.5 miles of moderately difficult hiking. Free, but registration required, by calling 919.383.1686. More info here. read more

North Carolina: land of options and opportunity

Our plan for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend was to take a group of backpackers to the mountains for three days on the AT between Max Patch and Hot Springs. The goal was to give three-season backpackers a taste of winter. But when the forecast suddenly shifted and called for temperatures near zero and more than just an inch or two of snow, it was time to rethink our plan. Since that wasn’t what this group had signed up for or was properly geared up to do, we postponed the trip.  read more

Layer up and Get OuT

On Saturday morning’s GetHiking! hike at Umstead State Park, half the number of hikers who signed up showed up. No mystery there: it was cold.  

What is a mystery is why so many hikers let a little thing like freezing temperatures keep them off the trail. As we may have mentioned (just last week, in fact), we love a winter hike: among other things, there are fewer people, fewer bugs, and it’s blissfully quiet. Yet too many people miss out because they don’t know how to dress. Let’s solve that problem here and now. read more

GetBackpacking! with us in 2019

A GetBackpacking! class commences graduation at South Mountains State Park.

Ready to up your backpacking game in 2019? Or get a backpacking game going, period? We’re ready to help!

First, if you’re curious about backpacking but don’t have any experience, we have two courses designed to get you started.

  • GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking. More than 200 backpackers have come through this comprehensive intro course since it launched in 2013. We start with a two-hour gear session, going over the gear you’ll need, the gear options available, and how to get that gear into your pack. Next we have a five-hour, in-the-field training session in which we hike two miles in full pack, scout campsites, set up camp, cook a meal, break camp and hike out. Finally, we take a weekend trip to South Mountains State Park. Loaner gear available.
  • GetBackpacking! Overnight Sampler. Intrigued by backpacking but not ready to commit to our Intro class? This overnight session gives you a taste of hiking with a full pack and of spending the night in the woods. Backpacking gear and food provided.

Now, let’s get into our trips! Unless otherwise indicated, our backpack trips accommodate folks with a range of experience, from recent graduates of Intro to Backpacking through experienced backpackers. Newer backpackers learn from experienced backpackers. And, since we do all the planning, experienced backpackers will be able to get in more than a trip or two a year. Here’s where we’re headed the first half of 2019:

  • Appalachian Trail: Max Patch to Hot Springs, January 19-21. Get a taste of winter camping on one of the more winter-friendly 20-mile stretches of the AT in the state. Trip includes shuttle, and for folks with minimal winter camping experience, we will have a pre-hike winter-preparedness training session.
  • Croatan National Forest: Neusiok Trail, February 8-10. If it’s too cold for you to backpack the mountains in February, you’ll love the milder weather on this trip in the coastal Croatan. This 20-miler isn’t entirely flat: the northern six miles has some mildly rolling terrain,  including a patch or two hinting of the mountains. The Neusiok Trail in winter is our most popular backpack trip.
  • Uwharrie National Forest: Dutchman’s Creek Loop, March 30-31. This is a good opportunity for warm-weather backpackers to shake off the winter cobwebs and get ready for the backpacking season. We’ll hike in 5.5 miles on Saturday, camp, then complete the loop Sunday with a 6.5-mile hike out. This trip is for women only.
  • Appalachian Trail: Carvers Gap to US 19E, April 5-7. Mile-for-mile, trail doesn’t get much more scenic than this 21-mile run that starts with three balds in the first couple miles, encounters two more about 8 miles in, and throws in additional great views along the way. We’ll be on the cusp of the spring wildflower bloom as well.
  • Intro to Linville Gorge, May 17-19. Full immersion into Linville Gorge can be overwhelming for the first-time backpacker: the trails are steep, rocky, rugged. On top of that, the gorge has a way of generating its own weather. In this introduction, we establish base camp on the east rim, atop Shortoff Mountain, then don daypacks to drop into the gorge itself. 
  • Going Solo in Wilson Creek, May 31-June 2. In this weekend class, we hike in and spend the first night together. The second night, backpackers spread over a mile-long stretch of trail for their first overnight solo (with the trip leader not far away).

Make 2019 your year of backpacking.

Happy trails,


For more info

Classes read more