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How to Plan a Backpacking Trip: Route Planning Tools & Processes

Planning a backpacking trip can be easy or complex. The process you take to plan a route depends on the length (how many miles), duration (how many days), tread (trails vs. cross-country travel), terrain (mountains, desert, etc.), environment (weather, snowpack, river levels), remoteness, and more. Combine this with an overwhelming number of tools and technologies used in route planning, the widespread distribution of relatively uninformative “Plan a backpacking trip in 7 easy steps!” blog posts, and increase competition for the most popular destinations make route planning a core skill in a backpacker’s toolkit.

In this event, we’ll provide insight into what makes route planning more challenging today than in the past. In addition, we’ll approach route planning in the context of complex wilderness trips in remote environments.

The objective of this webinar is to give you the confidence needed to plan your own backpacking routes, rather than relying on what someone else has told you to do – and to do so knowing that you have planning a route that is accomplishable, safe, and enjoyable.

Keynote: Route Planning Tools & Processes (~30 minutes, by Ryan Jordan)

  • route planning challenges
  • purpose and outcomes of route planning
  • route planning tools and technologies
  • route planning process for planning complex wilderness trips in remote environments

Route Planning Q&A (~ 20 minutes)

  • How to use route mapping tech to find campsites and water sources
  • How to deal with trails on maps that no longer exist in real life
  • Comparison of mobile mapping apps and the information provided when zoomed in
  • Can you rely on a topo map alone to find campsites?
  • How to organize and store route info, beta, maps, etc. on phone vs. desktop
  • Fatmap vs. Google Earth

About the Event & Access Info

Live Event Info:

  • Event Description: Route Planning Tools and Processes (Member Q&A)
  • Date and Time: Friday, April 1, 2022, 7:00 PM US Mountain Time

Backpacking Light Member Q&A Sessions are Hour-Long Members-Only Live Events – they are recorded and the recorded session will be made available below after the live event has ended.

To access the live or recorded (video) version of this event, a printable slide deck for note-taking, and the related resources/downloads, you must be logged in with an active Basic, Premium or Unlimited Membership.

Become a Member Today to Access the Live & Recorded Versions of this Event

Members-Only: Watch the Recorded Video & Access Additional Resources

  • Download the Slide Deck (PDF)

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