What is an appropriate ‘Goal Trip’ for this course?

At the beginning of the trip, we ask you to identify a goal trip. You will apply the Plan like a Pro curriculum around your goal trip – researching conditions, creating a gear list, and more – to be fully prepared to take on this trip by the end of the course.

Our experiences and feedback from previous students have helped us establish guidelines for an appropriate trip:

  • The goal trip should challenge your skills and/or fitness.
  • Plan to complete the goal trip in the next 12 months.
  • A trip length of four to twenty-one day is ideal.
  • For thru-hikes, pick a seven to twenty-one day section of that trip to focus on as your goal trip. For example, if planning for the PCT, the 209 miles between Kennedy Meadows and Red’s Meadow is appropriate.
  • Our course is not structured to suit multi-modal trips (packrafting, bikepacking, etc).

Is the course relevant if you don’t live in the US?

Since the instructors are most familiar with US locations and since most of the students are US-based, the course is biased towards backpacking in the US. However, the framework applies equally well outside the US, like to Canada and Europe. Personally, I’ve used it for planning trips in the Yukon and Iceland, and for running event in the Alps and Chile.

Our international students have not reported difficulties that were exceptional compared to their US counterparts. You may have to do some extra legwork to find relevant resources like climate data and public maps.

If you are outside CONUS, you will need to purchase a local or digital copy of the Gear Guide, and I will refund you my cost. It’s impractical for me to mail you one, from both a cost and time perspective.

What if I miss an assignment or am behind schedule?

You need not be always online while the course is running, and being gone for an entire week usually isn’t catastrophic. But you need to have 8 to 24 hours available during these spans, and it’d be better to dedicate a little bit of time each week rather than letting the work stack up.

Instructors will continue to review work for up to a month after the class is finished.

The curriculum lists all assignments and relevant due dates.

Can you gift this course?

Yes. Please get in touch with Katie, [email protected], about how to gift this course as a surprise.

Will you retain access to the materials?

For as long as Google keeps Classroom live, you will retain access to the materials. Since Classroom is now a major initiative for Google, I suspect this is a reliable long-term solution.

What are the vendor discounts offered to participants of the course?

In 2023, we offered the following discounts. This list will remain largely the same for 2024.

These discounts are provided in addition to a copy of my book, a free download of a High Route Guide, 7-day Premium membership to Gaia GPS, and a 1-month Pro subscription to CalTopo.

Finally, if you decide to join us on a guided trip in the future, your course fee will be applied as a full credit against your trip cost.