Oct 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm #1280877
I am looking for feedback from anyone who took Ryan Jordan’s Backpacking Bootcamp course.
I wanted to take this course but I had an unexpected, weird experience.
Since there was not too much info on that course I emailed stuff asking for more info but none existed. So I asked if they have any money back guarantee and they said that not. I even emailed Ryan and he also said no money back guarantee. I did see though “Money back guarantee” or something like that in the promo email. So I gave up. I am not going to buy something that I do not know what it is and then I cannot get my money back.
Sometime later I went to Ryan’s website and it did say there that if you take the course and if you are not happy with it then your money will be refunded. I emailed stuff and Ryan about that statement but got no response.
So in theory there is a money back guarantee but in practice they are not going to honor it or what?
I really wanted to take this course. Why would they turn away a perfectly good customer is beyond my comprehension.
Anyway can anyone provide me with a feedback if the course was any good? I would like to hear the good, the bad and the ugly.
You can email me directly as well.
Thank you in advance.
All the best
AlinaOct 20, 2011 at 10:11 am #1792979
You might ask around and see if there are any groups that would take on a newbie bper if that is what you are or want to be. Also, ask around to see if someone has a few folks they bp with and ask for gear advise and if they have an easy trip you can do with them to learn, they always talk "shop" anyway, so just listen and insert a question now and then. Cheaper than paying someone. Never heard of that. I started years ago, an overnight trip here and there to fish and you learn, slowly though, so going with others will help get you up to speed. Myself, after years of bp solo, I have hooked up with a few like minded souls in California and I do a few trips a year with them, some multi-nights, the rest of my trips are solo. I have learned a couple winter camping things they do that I never would have thought of doing. Visiting and perusing sites like BPL will help you get the gest of what to do and gear to use, although some gear may be suitable for more experienced bpers.
DuaneOct 20, 2011 at 10:22 am #1792984
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
There are all sorts of groups that do backpacking, and most are not commercially-oriented. Often there are small fees to cover the actual costs of a trip, but they aren't much. Some groups are very regional, like the Mountaineers and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Some groups are popular in the U.S., but I don't know about Canada. Try the Sierra Club. I led beginner backpacking events for years, and most were either free or nearly free.
A commercial company like Backpacking Light has customer foulups just like everybody else, especially lately.
–B.G.–Oct 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm #1793200
@rmkrauseLocale: Pacific Northwest
First, I've never been on a RJ trip, so cannot give any details, but in general – What I see:
"Subscribe with confidence. Every newsletter subscription comes with a 100% guarantee – cancel anytime. My goal is to see you grow, and if you aren’t learning from these newsletters, then please – don’t waste your money on them." (Copied from http://ryanjordan.com/letters)
I see nothing of the sort on the courses page – and seriously I'd be shocked if there was one as I don't believe I've ever heard of a 100% money back guarantee on trips, guiding services, etc. Have you encountered such a policy with other guides/groups?
It seems the desire for the money back guarantee is due to the level of uncertainty you have with the content of the bootcamp, which I am assuming you mean by this trip/course:
It lays out what is covered week-by-week in the course curriculum. The trip details are sparse – it has just the location but I'd imagine it's left like that due to: needing to see how permits work out, how the weather is/how severe winter ends up being, who signs up (may dictate the location, distance, difficulty, etc) so it may be difficult to really be definite on the details of the trek it self until the the guide can see the group dynamics. It could also be the typical foks that sign up for it like this level of uncertainty – heading off on an unknown journey heightens the thrill of the experience and knowing a lot of details in advance would kill the sense of adventure. The site does indeed say:
"I primarily serve clients that want to feel totally hardcore, like Shackleton, but don’t want to drink their pee" (from http://ryanjordan.com/wilderness-trekking/)
Perhaps there isn't anything wrong with the trip/info, but rather this specific trip just isn't for you.
However, there are similar trips – have you looked at the lightweight NOLS trip?Oct 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm #1793618
I have just checked Ryan’s website again and I do not see the money back guarantee anymore. I guess that they took it off. It actually said that you can take the course till the end and then get your money back if you have not benefited. I thought that it was great but when I wrote to them about it I got no response. Before I knew about this great (phantom as it turned out)money back guarantee I asked them if I could take only 2 classes and then decide if I want to continue or not. They said no to it but yet Ryan’s website said that you can get a refund even after taking the whole course. It is just too weird for me.
These days everybody has money back guarantee.
Anyway the reason for my post was that Ryan suggested that I post on this forum and ask for participants’ feedback. I guess he expected lots of positive reviews.
Did anyone take this course?
Thank you.Oct 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm #1793623
Ooops…Sorry. The guarantee is still there. Scroll to the bottom of this page: http://ryanjordan.com/blog/2011/06/benefits-of-ultralight-backpacking-boot-camp-why-im-passionate-about-education/
But what good does it do if they do not want to honour it.Oct 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm #1793631
"But what good does it do if they do not want to honour it."
Your lawyer will explain it to you! (Along with a 30% cut!)Oct 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm #1793632
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Personally, it seems silly to me from a business perspective to provide a money back guarantee on a service.
To me that would be like having a money back guarantee on a massage.
Or a money back guarantee on having martial arts private lessons.
Physical products with a money back guarantee makes sense to me, but a service with a money back guarantee seems like a disaster with too much possibility for abuse.
That said, if it is listed on the website, then they should honor the offer
Otherwise, they should remove it…which I think would be a good idea.
-TonyOct 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm #1793638
Their money back guarantee applies to the internet course only not the field trip, I believe. I thought I would clarify this. I was only interested in the online course anyway.
You are right that there are not that many trips with money back guarantees but all the on line stuff: courses, website memberships etc. have money back guarantees or trial periods.
Anyone who took the course?Oct 21, 2011 at 8:45 pm #1793640
Maybe we could get a commentary from Ryan J himself?Oct 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm #1793646
Why are you wanting to spend money to do this when all you need is your time reading up on bp forums, not only here but so many of the other sites? Many have a thread to get newbies up to speed, then you can ask questions of the general membership to clarify if needed.
DuaneOct 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm #1793651
I read a lot. Believe me but I am a sucker for courses (LOL) I guess.
I just like stuff to be organized and I think that Ryan is very experienced as well.
Especially the section (from his course) on dealing with fears appealed to me. I might have to start a thread on that.Oct 21, 2011 at 10:36 pm #1793656
Asking for a money back guarantee on a guided trip is silly. I don't think even REI does that.
Sorry, I don't have anything to contribute about Ryan's trip. Everything I have heard about Mr. Jordan is nothing short of spectacular.Oct 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm #1793662
I never said that I expect money back on a guided trip. I do not care about the trip. I am talking only about the ON LINE COURSE. Please read posts before answering them.Oct 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm #1793664
This was certainly not mentioned in your original post, and only much later in the thread you ambiguously referred to this pertaining to Ryan's online course.Oct 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm #1793669
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Alina has asked an excellent question and no one has provided a good answer.
The course in question has 3 options:
1. 6 week online self-directed course
2. 9 week online self-directed course with mentoring
3. #2 plus the trek
Her question was, "Anyway can anyone provide me with a feedback if the course was any good?"
I do a lot of instructional design work (build training material and courses) to include "train-the-trainer," one-on-one, workshops, seminars and eLearning courses. I sometimes work as a trainer and facilitator. I have also "re-written" many poor courses for clients.
First question about the online course would be is it adult experiential education or didactic education? No use going through all the other things to ask.
The course is $150. That is not much money for a quality course unless the take rate is high.
It would cost around $60,000 for me (my company) to develop a 6 module (1 hour each) AEL eLearning course on a subject we have in house subject matter expertise. This would not include any video taping costs. The expertise is one thing, and Ryan certainly has that plus the ability to write well. Developing and delivering eLearning does not necessarily follow the first two.
So I think a student should be able to get a money back guarantee, if lets say after the first module they are not happy with the product.
To answer the "read the forum posts to learn"… some people find it easy to teach themselves, I am one of them. Other people learn quicker through a structured environment such as AEL eLearning or even a didactic course.
Alina, I am sorry I cannot provide you feedback on your question as I have not taken the course.Oct 23, 2011 at 12:04 am #1793949
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Just wanted to apologize for commenting without fully understanding which class you were talking about.
I thought you were talking about a guided trip by Ryan Jordan.
However, I do feel that money back guarantee on the online course would be a bad idea.
Though, I do feel that if you are not certain about the value of the online course, then it probably means that the information provided on the website regarding the online course and the information should be updated to better answer the questions you have.
-TonyOct 23, 2011 at 12:25 am #1793951
Thank you for understanding me.
I agree that there should be more info about the course content but there is nothing wrong with money back guarantee after one or two modules. Although as per included link by me Ryan said that he was willing to refund the money even at the end of the course.
Anyway, enough with the money back guarantee, as I said the main purpose for my post was to get feedback about the on line course but I guess that nobody who reads the forum took the course. Oh, well…..Oct 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm #1794141
I understand Alina. Just looking out for you, trying to save you money. If wanting the best info, it would be worth it. I hope all works out for you.
DuaneNov 11, 2011 at 9:48 pm #1800975
I'm going to try and keep this brief…
The online course materials were excellent in my opinion and well worth $150. If you are thinking about doing this, I would say do it. I seriously doubt you would regret it.
One can easily spend many hours reading forums (just ask my wife ;-) and not get close to the enlightenment achieved through the course materials from an expert such as Ryan Jordan.
There were time-line problems with the delivery of the course due to Ryan experiencing a computer failure, as well as problems with his software. This was a non-issue for me.
I paid for the middle option, which included mentoring for an extra $300 ($450 total). For this I have received personal feedback from Ryan regarding my gear list, which was very helpful, and a reply to one email.
Over the last four and a half weeks I have tried to contact Ryan on both his BBL & RJ email addresses with no response. I am not sure if my questions were too silly, or if the lack of the communication I have paid for is due to IT problems.
I was looking to PM Ryan as another way to contact him (but this is not available via his profile) and found this thread.
There is possibly a reasonable explanation as Ryan seems like a great guy, very knowledgeable and professional. Just thought I should chime in as no other course-takers seem to have as yet.
So to summarize; the online course materials offer a terrific insight from an expert, they'll almost definitely save you time, money and increase your comfort on the trail. Can not recommend (at this stage) the mentoring though.Nov 12, 2011 at 10:02 am #1801062
@troutLocale: Long Beach
"I am not sure if my questions were too silly, or if the lack of the communication I have paid for is due to IT problems."
The lack of response seems like poor mentoring to me, eeish. Sounds like you enjoyed the class though.
Alina if you have any backpacking related questions you can feel free to PM me. I realize that's not what you're after but sometimes it helps to be able to ask someone things. Either way good luck and it's a fun world to get into!Nov 12, 2011 at 10:41 am #1801072
I took the non-mentored Boot Camp course. More out of curiosity than lack of experience or a good knowledge base and figured there may be some insightful information I could pick up along the way.
My experience (logistically speaking) was anything but pleasurable. I realize this was the inaugural kick off so understandably there would be some kinks.
You might be able to (and probably could) research the web and you tube to find similar free instructional video’s on the same topic(s) but Ryan does a really good job with being concise and to the point with his messaging technique. The video’s do not have much fluff and he applies the learning materiel to how it impacts the back packer in the back country. Honestly, the time you spend (purely subjective) trying to collect the video variety Ryan provides may cost you more money than paying the $150.00.
Are you going to walk away and say that was the best collection of videos on the subject you ever saw? Doubtful, but they are still very good in my opinion.
The content is (for a beginner to intermediate) is very good and will provide much insight. If you consider yourself an avid back packer with four season skills you will be disappointed and I do not recommend this course. There are still points/tips that can be gleaned but it will certainly not be worth $150 for the non-mentored course.
For me – this part of the course was worth every penny. Yes I can populate/create my own. But Ryans pretty much got everything you need. So a super plus on this subject and part of the course!
CUSTOMER SERVICE ASPECT:
On this subject Ryan really misses – and I mean nowhere near the dart board. Mainly it’s just a lack of communication and response time. I was very disappointed in this aspect of the course and I did not expect it. I had a certain expectation going into the course. Needless to say he did not get close to reaching it. As a side note – I must say that this is Ryan’s first run at it. I’m sure he will work the bugs out of his web site and delivering the content as expected/promised. Sometimes you just can anticipate everything. But you can at least respond to those individuals in a timely manner and follow the “preemptive strike” philosophy ( If you are trying something new let your constituents know). It’s the damage control part that Ryan does not fair very well.
Despite my experience – I would still recommend this course. I believe he as well as the content will only get better.Jan 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm #1831085
So Stephen for the extra $300 you had Ryan look at and make suggestions/comments once on your gear list? And he answered one e mail? Sounds like you are do a refund. Especially with no response in 4 and a half weeks.Jan 31, 2012 at 12:50 am #1832105
I think Duane touched upon an important point. Backpacking is not so specialized that you should have to pay to learn it. Theres plenty of resources out there that are free or very cheap, such as internet forums, your local library, and various hiking clubs and groups such as meetup.org, AMC, etc.Jan 31, 2012 at 9:56 am #1832212
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"I think Duane touched upon an important point. Backpacking is not so specialized that you should have to pay to learn it. Theres plenty of resources out there that are free or very cheap, such as internet forums, your local library, and various hiking clubs and groups such as meetup.org, AMC, etc."
A Big +1!
There are some specialized skills one needs to acquire as you expand your hiking experience and move away from simple well marked trails. Common sense is a big prerequisite. I hiked alone and with a singe friend in my teenage years. What we learned was from personal experience, learning from mistakes, and maybe a little luck; but we stuck to marked trails and hiked mostly in the summer. In the military I learned land navigation and extreme survival skills, but only the navigation has been needed for backpacking, I have avoided any survival situations. Snow work requires additional skills, all of which can be self taught and practiced (e.g., ice ax self arrest). I learned a lot from Fletcher's Complete Walker in the 70's and a little from the early issues of Backpacker. I have never been involved with a school, club or organization. Almost never hike with others.
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