Apr 30, 2009 at 7:47 am #1235992
Chris WBPL Member
So I've been loosely researching college outdoor rec programs and their backpacking offerings in particular and I'm finding some recurring themes. First, none are even approaching lightweight. Second, some even go so far as to name cotton as a good baselayer. I've contemplated contacting some of my local programs and offering them education on lightweight backpacking but have yet to do so. I'd be interested in hearing other's thoughts about this, especially if you've participated in these programs.Apr 30, 2009 at 8:16 am #1498017
Joe KusterBPL Member
I was the Advisor and club member of Natural High Club at Missouri State University. We don't list our trips as UL specific but we teach lightweight workshops before them to help people drop the bulge. We also do shakedown hikes and make it easy for folks to get started on a minimal budget.
To be honest, most of our trips weren't in conditions where UL was practical by inexperienced hikers, but LW was very achievable. During the warmer part of the year was watersports and rock climbing, thus leaving hiking for the shoulder seasons that have less predictable weather.
Usually we had to make due with one size fits all your needs year long synthetic bags for club members who didn't have their own and that alone made it impossible to reach UL. 0F synthetic bags suck during the summer, but they were a necessity during our winter trips (which were often around 10F at night) and most college students could only swing cash for 1 bag.
Realistically, with some of these groups you have to be happy they show up in tennis shoes rather than flip-flops, regardless how much training you try to do ahead of time. I've had girls show up in dresses and guys in flip flops for caving… *sigh*.
With our club, we got a lot of people who I qualify as "Dabblers" they go hiking twice a year, canoing twice a year, skydiving ones a year and rock climbing twice a year. With that being the case, it's usually best to have a group where they can borrow individual pieces of equipment when needed or focus on having them rent the items necessary. I made a lot of our items for borrowing but with new members coming an occasionally doing one trip with us it became a bit risky sending them out with UL fabrics. I usually had to scale my plans back to having durable backpacks and trying to minimize what they were carrying.
Generally we let the group leaders handle things like water filtration / purification as well as medkits which were the #1 source of unnecessary weight in most programs. Due to liability we had to have that person fairly well trained to handle medical stuff, which occasionally comes up so it's hard to say no to things like a Sam Splint when we had to use two in 5 years.
As a former club officer and later adviser, I'd highly recommend you contact them and ask if they would be interested in you giving lightweight backpacking workshops. Nearly all of them would welcome any visitor to help out.
Regarding mis-information: at the college level, this is pretty rare. Most of the officers and advisors from other universities that I've worked with know their basics down very well and some were quite experienced and knowledgable. At the younger level, such as boy/girl scouts, it's more common because it's usually parents volunteering to run the show.Apr 30, 2009 at 9:59 am #1498050
Steven HanlonBPL Member
@asciibaronLocale: Mid Atlantic
when i was in college a group of us in the dorm decided to do a 3 day trip on the Link Trail in PA not far from our campus. one of the guy's pack weighed a ton. the first evening he setup his tent and then proceeded to pull out his Biology textbook. several of us threatened to burn it when he told us to quiet down while we had a few malt beverages around the campfire.
that should be the first bit of advice to tell a college student, leave the books at the dorm.May 7, 2009 at 5:26 pm #1499831
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
So what programs have you looked into so far?May 7, 2009 at 5:50 pm #1499835
Chris WBPL Member
Mostly GA and NC schools.
UGA, Appalachian State, etc.
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