Six reasons you should backpack with me

Clowning around on Day 6, Porcupine Pass, Wind River Range, Wyoming

I’ve spent most of the Winter staring at Gmail and Excel, and making hundreds of calls to prospective venues and land managers, so I’m delighted that my main initiatives for the year are all coming on line right now. Last week, The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide was finally released. Next week in northern California, I begin a 48-presentation nationwide speaking and book tour.

This week, I’m excited to launch my guided trips. For the 2012 season I am offering:

  • Ultimate Hiking Courses: 3-day/2-night outings held in seven regional backpacking gems, designed for beginners and curious intermediates who want to learn about and apply the gear, supplies and skills necessary to enjoy hiking without compromising safety or comfort.
  • Wilderness Adventures: 7-day/6-night trips offered in three of the West’s best wildernesses, designed for intermediates and ambitious beginners who want to learn advanced backpacking skills and to have a “trip of a lifetime.”

For complete trip descriptions, the locations and schedule, plus prices and testimonials, visit

There are six reasons why I think you should consider joining me on a trip this year:

1. All-star guides. If you want to take your backpacking to the next level, I dare say that you will not find more qualified and credible guides anywhere. Brian Robinson is a legendary thru-hiker who was the first to complete the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail (“the Triple Crown”) within a calendar year. Alan Dixon co-founded Backpacking Light Magazine with Ryan Jordan. Mike Clelland is the author and illustrator of Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips and was a NOLS instructor for 20 years. And, of course, there’s yours truly.

2. Pre-trip preparation. Successful trips rarely just happen. Rather, they are planned. In the months before our trip, we will: identify the environmental and route conditions we expect to encounter; discuss and finalize our route and trip logistics; and decide the exact gear and supplies to bring.

3. Extensive field curriculum. If you come on a trip, expect to have a great time. But you should also expect to learn a lot—about campsite selection, foot care, water quality, backcountry hygiene, natural sciences, among many other topics.

4. Convenient or world-class locations. The Ultimate Hiking Courses are being offered in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, California’s Henry Coe State Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and other accessible locations that you can return to easily after the trip. The Wilderness Adventures are being held in some of my favorite backcountry locales, like Greater Yellowstone, the High Sierra and the Colorado Plateau.

5. Free and discounted gear. You will receive free or discounted gear from a long list of program sponsors such as GoLite, La Sportiva, Headsweats, DeFeet, Platypus and more. The discounts will save you money, and the free gear will be useful for your trip.

6. You’ll pay more for a NOLS trip. A 14-day NOLS lightweight backpacking course in the Rocky Mountains costs $234 per day. My Wilderness Adventures cost $228 per day before factoring in fee discounts and the savings from free and discounted gear.  I admire NOLS, but I’d contend that overall I offer a much better value.

Posted in on February 28, 2012


  1. Charlie Patton on February 28, 2012 at 11:42 pm


    You are an inspiration to me. I first read about you in NG magazine following your incredible hike through Alaska and N Canada.

    I am a Disabled American Veteran. I am doing a lot better now. Your simple philosophy of go lite has made all the difference to me. I hike in my local area and I take co-workers when I can. I always share what I have read about your tips on gear and equipment. Coming from my background we used equipment that was built to be rugged and would last for more than one tour or more that one soldier.

    I’m interested in any tours you may have in the desert SW in the spring or fall of 2012.

    Thank you.


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