Event Details

ENROLLMENT FOR THIS PROGRAM IS NOW CLOSED. View information about our next session.

BPL BASECAMP is Backpacking Light’s live online backcountry training program for hikers and backpackers interested in taking their backcountry skills to a new level.

Is this program appropriate for my skill level?

I believe programs like this must address all skill levels based on the pedagogical idea that presentation of advanced skills opens the floodgates of thoughts for beginners and that the presentation of basic skills reminds advanced users to remain grounded in fundamental principles. Our fundamentals presentations bring beginners up to speed and offer sound refreshers for the rest of you. The remaining issues addressed in each session are balanced so backpackers of all skill levels – whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced backpacker – can benefit from this program.

Each cohort consists of a small group of backcountry enthusiasts who spend time together in an immersive program via online group video broadcasts moderated by Backpacking Light owner/founder Ryan Jordan. The calls include a keynote discussion about a focused aspect of backpacking gear, skills, or planning, followed by an extensive live Q&A session and additional follow-up support as needed.

bpl basecamp studio
BPL BASECAMP sessions are broadcast live from the Backpacking Light Studio in Estes Park, Colorado. Program participants able to travel to Estes Park have the option to book working 1-on-1 meetings with Ryan as well.

Early enrollment for the Fall 2023 Cohort will open to Unlimited Members on September 20. You can become an Unlimited Member now to access early enrollment and a $100 discount.


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  • Is enrollment limited?
    • Yes – Cohort participation is limited to preserve interaction quality and participant support.
  • Will enrollment fill during the period of time it’s available only to Unlimited Members?
    • Based on past programs similar to this, Unlimited Members usually grab 80% or more of available enrollment slots before the program is offered to the general public.
  • How many hours of training sessions are included with this program?
    • There are 6 scheduled LIVE sessions (2 hours each = 12 hours total).
    • In addition, there are additional bonus modules (pre-recorded) that add anywhere 2+ hours of additional content (varies depending on the cohort).
    • Total video content (live + pre-recorded) = 14+ hours
    • LIVE session length may be extended to give all enrollees a chance to participate in the Q&A.
  • If I can’t make a live session, can I watch a recorded version later?
    • Yes, all sessions are recorded, and you can watch them at any time after the scheduled session. In addition, you’ll have access to all recorded sessions forever.
  • What’s the format of each live session?
    • Keynote presentations + Live Q&A with participants
  • What if I have other questions that weren’t able to be addressed in the live sessions?
    • All participants will have email access to Ryan for additional support. In addition, Ryan is available for private coaching/consulting either online or in person as needed (additional fees may apply).
  • What’s the enrollment fee?
  • When is enrollment open?
    • Unlimited Members: September 20, 2023
    • Open Enrollment: September 27 – October 11, 2023

Schedule (Live Sessions)

* All sessions will be recorded and available to watch at your leisure.

Session # Day of Week Date Time Topic
1 Wednesday 11.Oct.2023 6:00 – 8:00 PM US Mountain Time Training, Fitness, and Nutrition for Backpackers
2 Wednesday 18.Oct.2023 6:00 – 8:00 PM US Mountain Time Backpacks, Packing, Storage Systems, and Shelter Systems
3 Wednesday 25.Oct.2023 6:00 – 8:00 PM US Mountain Time Clothing Systems for Trekking, Inclement Weather, and Camping in the Cold
4 Wednesday 1.Nov.2023 6:00 – 8:00 PM US Mountain Time Hydration, Nutrition, Cooking, Stoves, and Meal Planning
5 Wednesday 8.Nov.2023 6:00 – 8:00 PM US Mountain Time Trip & Route Planning
6 Wednesday 15.Nov.2023 6:00 – 8:00 PM US Mountain Time Snow & Winter Trekking/Camping, Avalanche Safety

Event Program

Module 1

BPL Basecamp • Fall ’23 Cohort • Session 1 • Training, Fitness, and Nutrition for Backpackers

  • Fundamentals of endurance training for backpackers and hikers
  • The Backpacking Light pre-season training program
  • How to adapt the training program to your individual physiology, lifestyle, and local geography
  • Off-season nutrition to prepare for seasonal backpacking
  • Case Study: physiological performance data from a six-month backpacking endurance training cycle
Module 2

BPL Basecamp • Fall ’23 • Session 2 • Backpacks, Packing, Storage Systems, and Shelter Systems

  • Load suspension systems
  • Analysis of backpack suspension types vs. load-carrying comfort
  • Backpack fitting and adjustment for optimal load-carrying efficiency
  • Case study: managing bear canisters
  • Packing systems, backpack design, accessories, and techniques for staying organized on the trail
  • Case study: the negative impacts of miniaturization and weight savings
Module 3

BPL Basecamp • Fall ’23 • Session 3 • Clothing Systems for Trekking, Inclement Weather, and Camping in the Cold

  • Physiological fundamentals of vapor and moisture transmission in clothing systems during activity
  • Physiological fundamentals of heat loss and moisture accumulation in clothing and sleep systems during periods of rest/inactivity
  • Case studies: clothing systems for trekking and camping in heat, cold, wind, rain, humidity, and snow
Module 4

BPL Basecamp • Fall ’23 • Session 4 • Hydration, Nutrition, Cooking, Stoves, and Meal Planning

  • State of the science: hydration physiology
  • Water treatment methods – overview & attributes
  • Demonstration of ultralight water treatment methods
  • Case Study: Cold Temperatures and Chemical Treatments
  • Case Study: Cold Temperatures and Water Filters
  • Case Study: Squeeze Filters – How They Work, Limitations, and Backflushing
  • Nutritional deficiencies that negatively impact backpacking
  • Improving your morale – good food and easy cooking without complexity and cost
  • Case studies: macronutrient ratios vs. endurance performance
  • Fundamentals of cooking efficiency considerations
  • Case studies: ultralight and no-cook systems, fuel savings strategies and their practical implementation
Module 5

BPL Basecamp • Fall ’23 • Session 5 • Trip & Route Planning

  • Finding campsites – evaluating terrain, vegetation, ground cover, and topography using 2D and 3D satellite imagery
  • Energy-mile theory
  • Routefinding and planning – off-trail in non-technical terrain
Module 6

BPL Basecamp • Fall ’23 • Session 6 • Snow & Winter Trekking/Camping, Avalanche Safety

  • Winter backpacking gear: footwear and traction systems, shelter systems, sleep systems, clothing systems, packing systems, cooking systems, hydration systems, navigation systems
  • Battery and electronics management in the winter
  • Winter trekking and snow/cold camping skills and best practices
  • Avalanche hazard assessment and risk management: terrain, weather, snowpack, route-finding, human factors, interpreting avalanche forecasts, field techniques for backpackers