Event Details


BPL BASECAMP is Backpacking Light’s live online backcountry training program for hikers and backpackers interested in taking their backcountry skills to the next 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 four months together in an immersive program via online group calls moderated by Backpacking Light owner/founder Ryan Jordan. The calls include a training 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 Spring 2023 Cohort will open to Unlimited Members starting November 23. You can become an Unlimited Member now to access early enrollment and a $150 discount.


{Login with your Unlimited Membership to access the coupon code here}


  • 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.
  • Is the program content the same as in previous years?
    • Some fundamental concepts are presented in each cohort program for review/refresher purposes. Otherwise, each cohort sees new and different content, so repeat participants don’t see the same thing year after year.
  • How many hours of live training sessions are included with this program?
    • There are 9 scheduled sessions x 1.5 hours each = 13.5 hours total.
    • 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?
    • Each session consists of three parts:
      • High-level overview of the session topic presented by Backpacking Light owner/founder Ryan Jordan
      • Case study analysis with Ryan and a selected participant
      • Open Q&A for all 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: November 23 – 30, 2022
    • Open Enrollment: December 1 – 10, 2022

2022-2023 Schedule (Live Sessions)

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

Session # Day of Week Date Time Topic
1 Wednesday 14.Dec.2022 7 PM US MST Training and Nutrition
2 Wednesday 11.Jan.2023 7 PM US MST Backpacks & Load Carrying Comfort
3 Thursday 26.Jan.2023 7 PM US MST Shelter Design, Condensation & Inclement Weather Management
4 Saturday 11.Feb.2023 7 PM US MST Clothing Systems for Trekking and Inclement Weather
5 Tuesday 21.Feb.2023 7 PM US MST Clothing and Sleep Systems for Camping in Cold
6 Wednesday 8.Mar.2023 7 PM US MST Cooking and Hydration Systems
7 Thursday 23.Mar.2023 7 PM US MST Hydration, Nutrition, and Meal Planning
8 Tuesday 11.Apr.2023 7 PM US MST Packing and Efficiency
9 Tuesday 25.Apr.2023 7 PM US MST Route Planning


Event Program

Module 1

BPL BASECAMP Session 1 • Training and Nutrition

Spring 2023 Cohort Program:

  • 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 Session 2 • Backpacks & Load Carrying Comfort

Spring 2023 Cohort Program:

  • Load suspension systems: how backpacks carry weight comfortably
  • Case studies: analysis of backpack suspension types vs. load carrying comfort and capacity
  • How to adjust and pack a backpack for optimal load-carrying efficiency (to minimize caloric expenditure and increase comfort)
Module 3

BPL BASECAMP Session 3 – Shelter Design, Condensation & Inclement Weather Management

Spring 2023 Cohort Program:

  • How to stabilize ultralight shelters effectively in storm conditions
  • Condensation management – principles and techniques
  • Case study: what shelter type vs. type of trip & locale
Module 4

BPL BASECAMP Session 4 – Clothing Systems for Trekking and Inclement Weather

Spring 2023 Cohort Program:

  • Physiological fundamentals of vapor and moisture transmission in clothing systems during activity
  • Case studies: clothing systems for trekking in heat, cold, wind, rain, and snow
Module 5

BPL BASECAMP Session 5 – Clothing and Sleep Systems for Camping in Cold

Spring 2023 Cohort Program:

  • Physiological fundamentals of heat loss and moisture accumulation in clothing and sleep systems during periods of rest/inactivity
  • Case studies: clothing and sleep systems for cold, humid conditions
Module 6

BPL BASECAMP Session 6 – Cooking and Hydration Systems

Spring 2023 Cohort Program:

  • Fundamentals of cooking efficiency considerations
  • Case studies: ultralight and no-cook systems, fuel savings strategies and their practical implementation
Module 7

BPL BASECAMP Session 7 – Hydration, Nutrition, and Meal Planning

Spring 2023 Cohort Program:

  • State of the science: hydration physiology
  • 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
Module 8

BPL BASECAMP Session 8 – Packing and Efficiency

Spring 2023 Cohort Program:

  • Packing systems, backpack design, accessories, and techniques for staying organized on the trail
  • Case study: the negative impacts of miniaturization and weight savings
Module 9

BPL BASECAMP Session 9 – Route Planning

Spring 2023 Cohort Program:

  • 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