We often think of “roughing it” in the outdoors by depriving ourselves of creature comforts as a way to test our metal against mother nature. It doesn’t have to be that way. In this introductory backpacking class, we explore some of the many reasons to venture into the great outdoors and how we can smooth the edges so it doesn’t feel like we are roughing it on the Appalachian Trail.
Backpacking can be an extremely enjoyable experience provided you plan ahead and pack the necessities and leave the non-essentials at home. Learn how to stay hydrated, eat well, take care of your skin, especially protecting your feet on the trail. We will also give you some safety tips when backpacking, whether you are alone or in a group.
If you spend any time with thru-hikers or section hikers you learn quickly it’s all about the gear. From the ultralight equipment to the high-tech creature comforts innovations, you will have to decide how to outfit your next backpacking trip. What do you really need? How do you balance weight versus comfort? We will help you start building your system of gear in this class.
Investigate the world of shell layers, synthetic materials, and insulation to help you manage moisture and maintain your core body temperature. Whether you have multiple days of snow or oppressive heat, learn how to select just the right clothing and footwear for your AT excursion.
The right gear makes all the difference in the wild, but only if you take care of it. Even the best outdoor enthusiasts sometimes neglect to clean, repair and store their sleeping bag, tent, etc., after a long trip in the wild. In this section of the class, we will go over a checklist of common gear problems and how to clean, repair and improve your gear.
It is extremely disappointing to arrive at a messy shelter, campsite or to experience a vandalized forest left by someone who came before you. Among AT backpackers, there is a code of courtesy of minimizing our impact in the backcountry so others who come after us can enjoy the wilderness. Learn the principles of LEAVE NO TRACE to become a good steward of the wilderness.
Germs even exist in the wilderness, but without hot running water and a shower, it can be challenging to keep yourself clean. Learn what gear to bring and what steps to take to mitigate the spread of illness while you are in the wild. Your fellow backpackers and your skin will thank you.
Your outdoor experience is about more than gear, clothing, and staying hydrated. Backpacking to destinations and meeting others will lead you to breath-taking wonders and experiences that will enrich your life. In this wrap-up, we will discuss experiencing your adventure on the Appalachian Trail
This course is a combination of lecture and hands on practice. Get accustomed to the gear needed for the A.T. and learn helpful tips from an experienced instructor. Once you are prepared to hike the Appalachian Trail join us for a section hike on the AT or the Foothills Trail.
Plan to hike the AT alone? Getting to the trail can be a hassle. You want to reach the start of the trail but that requires either leaving your car behind or finding a ride from someone who can travel multiple hours and is familiar with the area. Shuttles and ride sharing apps that transport you from your home or the airport to the start of the trail cost a fortune. Luckily, a shuttle ride with Trail Blazer Survival School is both affordable and convenient. Check out our shuttle service page to find the easiest way to get started on your hike.