GetBackpacking! Intro to Backpacking (Virginia)


In just two weeks you can become a bonafide backpacker in time for the prime fall hiking season. We start with a gear session via Zoom, then meet for a 5-hour in-field training session before our weekend graduation trip on the Appalachian Trail in Central Virginia.

2022: March 23, March 26/April 3, April 8-10

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We launched our GetBackpacking! program in 2014; since then, we’ve graduated more than 250 new backpackers. Here’s the plan for our Spring 2022 session:

* Getting to know you, getting to know your gear. In this Zoom session we’ll spend a little time getting to know one another and learning why you’re interested in backpacking. Then, we’ll go over the different types of gear, focusing on good options for beginners. 1.5 hours.

* Training Day. In full gear, we will meet at Morrow Mountain State Park for a 5-hour training session that will go over: Evaluating a campsite, setting up camp, breaking camp, meal preparation (including the various food and cooking options on the trail), and more. Expect to hike about 4 miles in full pack, during which we will work on hiking technique (including the use of trekking poles); ensuring a good pack fit by adjusting your pack during the hike to make sure it continues to fit; and more.

* Graduation hike. Three-day, two-night trip on a stretch of the Appalachian Trail in central Virginia.

Cost of the program is $295, which includes:

  • Instruction, including:
    • Zoom gear session
    • 5-hour in-field training session
    • Graduation weekend
  •  Info packet, including:
    • Gear lists
    • Tips sheets for:
      • Packing
      • Water crossings
      • Winter camping
  • GetBackpacking! Guide to 10 Great Places to Backpack once you’ve graduated
  • eguide outlining the program and covering what you’ll learn
  • 20 percent off coupon to Great Outdoor Provision Co.

Loaner gear. We have a limited number of backpacks and tents available on a first-requested, first-awarded basis, at no extra charge.’


• Getting to know you, getting to know your gear, Zoom meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23. 5:30 – 7 p.m. 1.5 hours

• Training Day. We have separate training days for Charlottesville and Virginia Beach:

    • Charlottesville, Saturday, March 26, Mt. Pleasant National Scenic Area (1.5-hour drive)
    • Virginia Beach, April 3, Merchants Millpond State Park (1.25-hour drive)

• Graduation trip: Friday afternoon thru Sunday, April 8-10, Appalachian Trail, central Virginia, location tbd.

REFUND POLICY: Full refunds will be offered for cancellations made more 14 days prior to the event. Credit will be give for cancellations made 3 to 13 days before the end. No refunds for cancelations made 2 days or less before the start of the event.

NOTE: Minimum age for the program is 13, ages 13 through 17 must be in the program with an adult (we define adult generously as anyone 18 or older).


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