If backpacking is your passion, why don’t you do it more often?
We have some theories, based on our experience in educating thousands of backpackers over the years with online education programs and guided treks:
- “My pack is too heavy and it’s just not fun.”
- “It takes too long to plan and prepare a trip – my gear and logistical process is too complicated.”
- “I don’t have time – family, job, yard work, etc. – all of these responsibilities!”
- “I don’t have the money – travel, supplies, and equipment are expensive!”
- “I can’t get the time off work to go on long trips, and the short trips don’t seem worth it to me.”
- “I don’t have any hiking partners, and I don’t like to go alone.”
- “I don’t have enough experience or confidence to plan and go out on my own trips.”
Believe it or not, this is the short list. You may have other reasons, too.
But we’re here to help:
- This online course addresses all of these issues, and so much more.
- For the price of one or two months of high-fat, high-sugar designer coffee concoctions, you’ll transform yourself into a passionate expert and aficianado of lightweight backpacking philosophy and skills!
- In fact, we’re confident that the cost of this course alone will be saved immediately just in the gear you were about to buy, and then regret later (hint: take the course, so you can make smarter purchasing decisions!).
Our goal is simple: we want to give you the confidence to live your passion!
The Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp online course exceeded all of my objectives. I learned a lot more than I expected, and your mentoring was clear and thought-provoking. Your course took me to levels beyond what I had hoped; and encouraged me to explore new activities. – Paul Randolph (Cheyenne, WY)
Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp will develop your equipment knowledge and skills, and give you the confidence to explore wild places with an ultralight pack.
Learn About Lightweight Backpacking at Your Own Pace
When you enroll in the Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp Online Course, you get immediate access to all modules. However, feel free to take it at your own pace, or skip ahead, or view a lesson again in more detail.
Your course, your way.
What You Learn
In the Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp Online Course, you will learn:
- Fundamental Principles and Philosophy of Ultralight Backpacking
- Ultralight Trekking and Camping Techniques
- Managing Inclement Weather with Ultralight Gear
- Ultralight Trekking Case Studies
- Applying Ultralight Gear and Techniques to Other Activities
40+ Individual Lessons!
Lessons include video, screencast, downloadable documents and spreadsheets.
Click the little + sign below each module to see the detailed lesson outline!
Module 1: Fundamentals
- “What’s this course all about, anyways?” » Welcome & Introduction
- “I don’t even know where to start with this whole lightweight backpacking thing!” » Ultralight Style: Core Principles
- “Can I really fit everything I need into that little backpack?” » What’s In My Pack?
- “So I have options? I don’t have to live on the trail like a pauper?” » Light, Lighter, Lightest
FREE Preview: Watch the video Ultralight Style: Core Principles
Module 2: Taking Inventory
- “How do I know what to pack?” » Creating a Gear List
- “How do I use a gear list to reduce my pack weight?” » Using the Boot Camp Gear List Spreadsheet Template
- “Do I have to use a spreadsheet, or can I just print it out and do it the old fashioned way?” » Gear List Spreadsheet & Printable Templates
- “What if my region/environment/activity looks a little different?” » Sample Gear Lists
FREE Preview: Click image thumbnail below to download one of the gear list templates & sample gear lists.
Module 3: An Overview of Trekking Styles & Gear Systems (Solo vs. Group Travel)
- “What do I need to consider when traveling solo vs. traveling with others?” » Social Dynamics of Solo vs. Group Travel Styles
- “Can I still go light in a group? » Case Study Comparison of Gear Systems: Solo vs. Group Shelters & Cooking Systems
- “How do I evaluate whether or not we should all bring our own gear, or share some of it?”» Applicability of Selected Gear Systems in Group vs. Solo Contexts: Efficiency Considerations
INCLUDED: Video analysis and interactive spreadsheets are used to compare the weight cost and performance benefits of various equipment options.
Module 4: Gear & Techniques
- “I don’t know about this whole ‘lightweight footwear’ thing – I’m used to hiking in boots. Boots are safer, right?” » Lightweight Footwear for Backpacking
- “What’s the story with the uber-light shoes worn by trail runners gone mad? Are they even applicable for backpacking?” » Minimalist Footwear
The Backpack & Packing Systems
- “You mean there are other options for ultralight hikers beyond a gunny sack with a cord sling?” » An Introduction to Backpacks and Packing Systems
- “How on earth can you carry a reasonable amount of weight in a frameless backpack?” » Virtual Frames for Light Packs
- “But I have to haul 35, 45, or even 55 pounds. Can I still do this with a light pack?” » Light Packs for Heavy Loads (Commentary)
- “I’m not really into the whole ‘let’s get eaten by mosquitoes and suffer from blowing weather’ thing – what are my options?” » Shelter Comparison Chart & Commentary
- “There seem to be hundreds of shelters made by manufacturers who say they are ‘lightweight’ – what does that really mean?” » An Overview of Lightweight Shelters
- “Tarps are too complicated and take too long to set up, right?” » How to Pitch a Tarp
- “I don’t understand how a flat piece of fabric can be adapted to different configurations.” » Examples of Pitching Configurations for Flat Tarps
- “You mean there is more to tarp camping than just pitching a lean-to?” » Advanced Tarp Camping Techniques
- “How do I camp with a tarp above the treeline, or during really bad weather?” » Techniques and Gear Systems for Inclement Conditions Camping
Clothing & Sleep Systems
- “Everyone says that their layer is ‘essential’ – seems like I need to own about 20 different layers to handle all conditions. How do I simplify things?” » Ultralight Clothing Systems – Parts and Ensembles
- “What are some essential layers to include in my system?” » Ultralight Clothing Systems – Field Notes and Recommendations
- “I hike in very (hot/wet/cold/dry/buggy/etc) conditions – how do you deal with that while still reducing weight?” » Decision Matrix for Building Clothing Ensembles for Environmentally Challenging Conditions
- “How do I consider my sleeping bag as part of my layering system, and how do I save weight on a sleeping bag?” » Unconventional Sleep Systems
- “I’m not into a bad night’s sleep, ok? You mean I can have ultralight and comfort?” » The Backcountry Bed: Strategies for Ultralight Sleeping Pads and Ground Cloths
FREE Preview: Watch the video Ultralight Clothing Systems
- “Don’t ultralighters use those teeny little fuel cubes and beer can pots? So I can go light and still carry a real stove?” » Ultralight Cooking Systems – An Overview of System Types, Advantages, and Disadvantages
- “How do I choose what type of stove system to use for a particular trek?” » Efficiency Comparison of Lightweight Cooking Systems – Comparison of Fuel Efficiencies and System Weights for Solid Fuel, Alcohol, Gas, and Wood Systems
- “I mostly hike alone, what are the best stove options for me?” » Lightweight Cooking Systems for Solo Hikers
Water Treatment Systems
- “I don’t wait to get sick. What are my water treatment options, and how well do they work? How do I choose which one to take?” » Water Treatment Systems – An Overview
- “What do the various water treatment technologies look like in practice?” » Backcountry Water Treatment Systems – Video Demonstrations
Module 5: Dealing With Inclement Conditions
- “Ultralight must have its limits. Can ultralight systems really handle stormy weather? » Wind
- “Ultralight is great – unless it rains, right? How can I go light and still deal with very wet weather?” » Precipitation
- “I want to save weight as much as the next guy, but I don’t really want to deal with fliers, crawlers, stingers, and biters!” » Bugs that Bite
Module 6: Trekking Scenarios & Bonus Materials
- “Safety and communications are a huge deal for me. How can I stay in touch with my loved ones while I’m in the wilderness?” » Emergency Communications Devices
- “I want to try hiking long distances, or long durations. Maybe even a thru-hike. How do I do this? » Long Distance Trekking
- “How do I go light when the temperatures drop and the snow flies?” » Winter Hiking
- “I love to fish. What are my options for ultralight fishing?” » Tenkara Fishing
- “Wait – you mean I can carry an ultralight boat and still enjoy backcountry water travel on rivers and lakes?!” » Packrafting
INCLUDED: Ryan Jordan’s 146-page case study and analysis of the Arctic 1000 Expedition (the longest trek ever taken without resupply) is included as part of the instructional material for this course, and provides an incredible reference for putting it all together if you are planning a long distance or long duration trek or thru-hike. Plus, read the entire Arctic 1000 expedition journals as written by Ryan Jordan and Roman Dial!