Registration for Beginning Backpacking 2019 is now Open!!!

Laura Miller

Class Overview

Every autumn, members of the SOLAR Outdoors club lead a course on beginning backpacking.  The wide-ranging topics cover everything you need to know to venture into the woods for a few days including (but not limited to):  gear, leave no trace principles, food preparation, water filtration, first aid, trip planning … really, I can go on and on but, hopefully, you get the idea!  The material is taught in a classroom setting and applied in a field day and two overnight practicals.

The ‘Day 1’ experience level in our 2018 class ranged from:

  • ‘I have never been camping and my wife signed me up for this class’
  • ‘I went on a week long trip with my ex-husband 10 years ago and want to learn to take solo adventures’
  • ‘I am a former scout leader who is here for the Pictured Rocks trip’ 

Despite the range of experience at the beginning of the course, the group braved the elements at Pictured Rocks and successfully completed a two night practical in September!  All class participants said they learned something new and found this class to be a valuable use of their time.

Regardless if you are new to backpacking or want to brush up on your existing skills, then this popular fall class is for you!  If you are new to SOLAR, this is a great way to meet other like-minded people in the club.  The course is a prerequisite for Intermediate Backpacking and Lightweight Backpacking.

Dave Warnecke wrote a blog about his 2017 class and you can read his thoughts here

If you are a graduate of a prior SOLAR Beginning Backpacking class, feel free to leave a comment on your experience below (in the Comments Section).


This class will fill up; register soon to ensure your spot!

Sign up on Meetup (; search for the event in Solar Outdoors) OR Sign up at the June or July General SOLAR meetings

Class fee is $120 for SOLAR members, $128 for SOLAR members who sign up through Meetup; $140 for non-SOLAR members

Includes textbook, class handouts, camping fees and dinner at Practical 1

Classroom Dates:

  • Thursdays 6:30 – 9:00 PM on August 22 & 29, September 5, 12, 19
  • Field day at Maybury State Park:      September 7
  • Practical # 1 at Brighton Rec Area:   September 14 – 15
  • Practical # 2 at Pictured Rocks NP:  September 27 – 30

Gear is available to borrow for SOLAR members (backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, stove, water filter) for the various trips.  The process is easy and will be reviewed during class.

Below are a few pictures of our 2018 class enjoying Pictured Rocks!

Photo Credit: Bhargava Puli and Laura Miller