February 25-Session 1
Welcome and Introduction; Format, Fees, Schedule, Fears of Backpacking, Ten Essentials, Q&A. No fee

March 2/March 3-Session 2
 Types of Packs- Sizes of Packs-Volume categories (cu. In and Liters)
 Anatomy of a Backpack
 Internal vs. External Frame
 Weight consideration/Volume
 What pack is best for you?
 Fitting and Adjusting your Pack
 Packing your Pack
 Weight Distribution

March 9/March 10-Session 3
Footwear, Socks, and Blister Prevention
 Boot Types
 Outsoles, linings, midsoles and uppers
 Fit, Insoles, and lacing
 Care
 Camp shoes
 Socks and Liners
 Preventing blisters

March 16/March 17-Session 4
Tents, Shelters and Hammocks
 Types
 Pros and Cons of Each/Choosing a Shelter
 Deciding What Is Most Important for You
 Cost drivers
 Care and Maintenance

March 23/March 24-Session 5
Sleeping Bags and Pads
Sleeping Bags
 Types and Uses
 Insulation options
 Understanding Comfort Ratings
 Care of and storage
Sleeping Pads
 Types and Uses
 R Value
 Length/weight Considerations

March 30/March 31

April 6/April 7-Session 6
Clothing Systems
 Principles and Function of an Outdoor Clothing System
 Layering Components
 Top 5 Layering Mistakes
 Other Factors for Keeping Dry and Warm
 Rain Gear
 Clothing Tricks

April 13/April 14-Session 7
Water Treatment, Stoves and Eating Gear

 What’s in the Water?
 Filtering vs. Purification
 Chemical Treatment
 Storage and Carry
 Emergency Options

 Stove Safety
 Types of Stoves
 Fuel Types
 Matching a Stove to Your Needs
 Alcohol Stoves
 Getting the Most Performance Out of Your Stove

 Cups
 Bowls/Plates
 Cutlery

April 20/April 21-Session 8
All the Other Stuff
 Trekking Poles
 Communication
 Safety/Survival/Maintenance
 Personal Hygiene
 Comfort Items

Outdoor Weekend/Overnight Session
April 23-24
The second part of the Beginner Backpacking Basics Course is a weekend of field instruction and a guided overnight backpacking trip. This is an opportunity to learn the proper use of the gear covered in the weeknight sessions and provide hands-on skills needed for backcountry travel and camping. The total mileage hiked will be minimal to allow time to learn the skills and maximize the experience for the beginning backpacker.
Topics include but are not limited to: Places to Go; Packing Your Pack to Maximize Comfort and Space; Lifting and Adjusting Your Pack on the Trail; Food and Meal Planning; Food Storage; Stove Safety and Use; Personal Hygiene; Basic Navigation; Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics; Campsite Selection; Water Treatment and Storage; Walking, Pace and Stride; Trail Etiquette; Disposing of Waste; Female Considerations; Uses of Trekking Poles; Stream/River Crossings; Dangerous Plants and Animals; Basic Trail First Aid; Weather and Lightning.

beginning backpacking basics

Testimony from Previous Courses  

"Learning and having fun at the same time. Meeting some wonderful people. We truly appreciate the education and the beautiful facilities."

"It amazes me the knowledge shared with us. Thank you!"

"Excellent class! I will look forward to each one. Very informative. Thank you.  Your expertise and experience is invaluable."

"I truly enjoyed the education. Looking forward to more. Ready to embark on new challenges."

"This meet up is just incredible! Thanks so much for the education. You are truly an expert!!"

Registration Options

Participant's Name:

overview of course sessions

upcoming course dates will be posted soon!

This Beginner Backpacking Basics Course consist of eight (8) 2-hour weeknight sessions plus a weekend of field instruction and a guided overnight practice hike.  The Weeknight Session and Weekend Session may be purchased separately or as a package for a discounted price.  The Intermediate Backpacking Session can also be added for even more savings.  There are two weeknight sessions, either on Wednesdays OR on Thursday evenings (SOLD OUT) at our gear shop located at 37 Bank Street in New Albany, Indiana from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm each night, with time before and after for questions.  The dates are:  February 25, March 2/3, March 9/10, March 16/17, March 23/24, April 6/7, April 13/14, and April 20/21.  The weekend session will begin and end at The Outpost/Outdoor Education Center near Georgetown, Indiana, starting at 9 am on April 23 and concluding by 6 pm on Sunday April 24. The first session on February 25 is an informative introduction to the course and is FREE.  Please register early as space is limited and subject to availability on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

What to Bring: Notebook and pen. Those registering for the entire course package will receive a flash drive with essential course materials. Opportunities will be available to bring in your backpack (if you have one) or other equipment for evaluation/fitting, etc. The first session is an introduction where these details will be covered.

Fee Schedule:
Entire Session, BOTH Weeknight and Weekend Session-$120
Weeknight Sessions ONLY (8 total): $55
Weekend Session ONLY (April 23-24): $85