GetBackpacking! 2020

Backpacking is life distilled to the essentials. With everything you need to survive packed securely on your back, life is focused on five necessities: food, water, shelter, sleep, and, most of all, adventure. Adventure, after all, is the very reason you decided to place your essentials on your back.

This allows for camping beyond parking in a slot, setting up a tent, and cooking up some victuals. This is a journey into the backcountry, to let you really escape into nature. When you go far in—too far to return the same day—you need to tote your essentials with you. Hence the backpack.

Our Intro to Backpacking! class goes to great lengths to prepare you for hiking to and camping in the backcountry. The four-course training includes three sessions, each focused on a specific skill: gear and packing; setting up and breaking down camp; food and cooking. In each of these classes, we include a hike, of escalating length, with your backpack, so you can get used to hiking with your gear  and winnow the pack as necessary.  The final session is a two-night, three-day guided trip to the mountains.

If you’re new to backpacking, this is just the course for you. If you’re seasoned, but out of practice, we’ll get you in shape and back on the trail.

Along the way to becoming a backpacker, you’ll do more than build physical stamina. You’ll become self-reliant and learn to embrace the dark night of nature. You’ll trade the ping-ping of electronics for birdsong and leafy rustling. You’ll find that carrying your world on your back actually lightens your load in many ways.

And once you’ve graduated? We won’t leave you. We offer trips on a regular basis and also offer a series of Intermediate Skills classes.

Here’s a rundown of our courses:

GetBackpacking! Overnight Sampler

Intrigued by the notion of backpacking but not sure you’re ready to commit to the gear, the planning, the nights spend in the woods with no shower?

With our Overnight Sampler, all you really need to do is show up (in your hiking clothes, with a handful of personal items that we’ll tell you about). We provide the gear, the food, the campsite, the experience. Class size is limited to 6. Dates: April 4-5, Triangle; April 18-19, Triad.

Cost: $95

Learn more and sign up here for the Triangle, here for the Triad.

GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking

Ready to head into nature? Here are the details.

Class size is limited to 12.

Equipment. You do not need every piece of backpacking equipment to take this course (we’ll review the essentials in Session 1). If you’re a hiker, you’ve got the basic clothing and boots/shoes. The only other piece of equipment vital at the start of class is the backpack itself. Some loaner gear is available, on a first-come basis.

Three sessions:

  • Session 1: Gear Get-together: We review necessary gear and how to pack a backpack, all while getting to know others in the class.
  • Session 2: In-field Training. We hike 2 miles, stop and set up camp, assessing what to look for in the perfect campsite and the most efficient and quickest way to set up. We also cook a meal and go over some of the other key elements of backpacking before breaking camp and heading back.
  • Session 3: Graduation hike. Three-day, two-night graduation trip to the mountains.

Cost: $155

In addition:

Weekly enewsletter with tips, resources, suggestions and a preview of the upcoming training session.

Monthly GetBackpacking! enewsletter. You’ll receive our monthly, expanded enewsletter, with more tips, resources and gear recommendations, plus information on our upcoming trips.

Intermediate Skills classes

Winter Wild: Discover New Adventures Where You Most Love to Hike. Winter is the perfect time to hone your navigational skills and venture off trail. In this series of five monthly hikes we visit five venues in the region where you may have hiked before — but not where we’ll take you. We spend most of our time on long-abandoned roadbeds and off trail, exploring the lesser-known areas of the places you most love to explore. Dates: Nov. 23, Dec. 21, Jan. 11, Feb. 22, March 14.

Cost: $100 (prorated if you start after the series begins).

Learn more and sign up here.

Tuesday Night Hikes. This series of seven hikes occurs mostly on Tuesday nights from November 2019 into March 2020. We hike different trails in the Triangle area, starting at 7 p.m., ending around 8:30 and hiking 3-4 miles. A great opportunity to become comfortable hiking after dark — and to appreciate the special wonder of a nocturnal ramble. Dates: Nov. 19; Dec. 17, 31; Jan. 10, 21; Feb. 11; March 3.

Cost: $85 (prorated if you start after the series begins).

Learn more and sign up here.

Going Solo. We camp the first night together; the next morning we hike solo to designated campsites no more than a fifth of a mile apart. You’re on your own, though your instructor will make a stealth visit in the evening to see if you need assistance. Includes a 1.5-hour classroom session before the trip.Includes our GetOriented! Finding Your Way in the Woods program, a three-hour session on map and compass skills, and reading terrain. Date: May 1-3

Cost: $145.

Learn more and sign up here.

Winter Camping: Piedmont. This lower altitude session is aimed at making you comfortable dealing with the cold of a Piedmont winter trip (thereby extending your backpacking season year-round).

Winter Camping: Southern Appalachians. This session is a little more intense than our Piedmont version, helping you deal with colder temperatures and the potential for snow and ice.

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For upcoming course offerings, visit our GetHiking! Triangle and GetHiking! Triad Meetup sites.