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Beginner Bootcamp

This is a Beginner Bootcamp for those who are new to backpacking, or who have been out of the sport for quite some time. This bootcamp involves an overnight trip approximately three hours from Chicago. The objective is to help beginners become self sufficient and familiar with the skills and gear required to have a fun and safe backpacking experience. This Beginner Bootcamp will provide the backpacker with an understanding of expectations for intermediate trips. 

This trip will involve hiking approximately 8 miles on Saturday and approximately 2 miles on Sunday. The terrain at the Peoria Park District's Camp Wokanda area and comprises some r
olling hills and can be strenuous at times. The trails may be wet, slippery, muddy, and rocky.

Expectations of participants:

Backpacking can be a strenuous cardiovascular exercise. Participants should be in reasonably good health and physical fitness.

All participants are responsible for obtaining the essential gear for the trip. This includes a backpack, sleeping bag, tent or shelter, rain gear for you and your backpack (large heavy duty garbage bags can be used), headlamp or flashlight, food, and water (you should be able to carry two liters). Over-the-ankle hiking boots and a sleeping pad are strongly recommended. Avoid wearing cotton jeans or tennis shoes. The Organizers will have a water filtration system, however you may bring your own. You can learn more about fundamental and recommended camping equipment by reading the 'basic beginners gear list'  located in the 'More/Files' section of the Chicago Backpackers Meetup website. REI is also an excellent resource for information (

Organizers will do their best to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time, however you are ultimately responsible for your own comfort. November can bring rain and cold nighttime temperatures. Beware of hypothermia. Avoid cotton clothing. Bring a fleece or wool hat and extra medium-weight clothing layers so that you can change into dry clothes and stay warm. Don't forget any medications, prescription eyewear, etc. Let an Organizer know if you have any special requirements.

Itinerary for trip:

Saturday November 2:
Everyone arrives by 11:00 a.m at the Camp Wokanda lower parking lot area. Shakedown: The Organizers will conduct an equipment assessment. Participants may lay out the contents of their backpacks, allowing the Organizers to make suggestions for lightening loads and provide instruction on how to properly load and adjust packs. We will then hike approximately 8 miles to our campsite, practicing good hiking techniques.

At camp, organizers will discuss basic camp skills such as site selection, making camp, cooking, etc.

Sunday, November 3:
Hike 2 miles back to cars.
Get lunch.
Return to Chicago.

Organizers will make the car pool arrangements, within reason, so that everyone may attend. They will plan the route of the trip and coordinate any other needed logistics. Details on carpool arrangements, directions, and contact information will be disseminated about a week before the trip.

Please contact an Organizer if you have any questions!

Additional Information:
1. If you are NOT new to backpacking, you should not be on this trip. Backpacker Bootcamps are primarily geared toward beginners. Contact an Organizer if you have a question concerning your readiness. 

2. Only group members may attend. +1 add-ons are not permitted. If you have a friend that wishes to attend, please have him or her join the group and add themselves to the list.

3. Dogs, minors, or other dependents are not permitted.

4. We practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

5. Cost is $5.00 per person payable at the time of sign up.

Thank you, 

Doug, Spencer, and Ben

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  • Doug C.

    Awesome trip and thanks for everyone going! Beautiful fall colors, nice trails, and warm campfire - hard to beat. See you on the trail again soon.

    2 · November 5, 2013

  • Paris

    Ladies...Winter BOW 2014 in WI ...registration will open any day now!

    1 · November 3, 2013

    • Paris

      Tomorrow I will email each of you details as promised!

      November 3, 2013

    • Kelly G.


      November 4, 2013

  • Kelly G.

    Excellent! I highly recommend bootcamp to those interested in backpacking. Organizers were knowledgeable and I had great time.

    2 · November 3, 2013

  • Wayne S.

    I had a great time and the event hosts did a wonderful job of coaching us through the boot camp. They were very helpful and encouraging.

    3 · November 3, 2013

  • Tom M.

    Anyway to be added on the trip? I am willing to drive.

    October 31, 2013

  • Ben P.

    Alex, Hao, and Brett - I still need your carpool information. I re-sent the link to the carpool survey this morning, so check your email inbox for an email from Meetup. Thanks.

    October 29, 2013

  • Doug C.

    Hope everyone is getting excited for the bootcamp. The fall colors are looking good in Peoria and will have a great chance to view them along the trails. The weather outlook looks sunny, but cool/cold for Saturday night. The lows are projected in the lower 30s, so be sure to have the appropriate gear to keep you warm. Your sleeping gear and attire will be very important. Make sure you have a lower temperature bag like a 30, 20, 0 degree bag. Sleeping bag liners are also helpful to keep warm, however thermal type clothing can also be worn inside the bag to help stay warm. If you have any questions, please let the organizers know.

    October 28, 2013

  • Ben P.

    I just sent out the carpool information request email, so check your inbox. If you do not receive it, please let me know ASAP. Thanks.

    1 · October 27, 2013

  • Doug C.

    Here are some maps of the trails that we will be doing. The trail is divided into two sections and each has its own map.

    2 · October 22, 2013

  • Doug C.

    Hello everyone - I hope everybody is getting excited for the bootcamp and starting to think about gear, food, and trail conditions. Be sure to check out the gear list on our website, think about food ideas, and start getting things together for the weekend. Remember, that it is the end of October so it might be on the cool side, so you will want to bring along warm clothes and warm sleeping gear. There are lots of helpful tips out there and as always feel free to ask any questions that you may have.

    1 · October 22, 2013

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Your organizer's refund policy for Beginner Bootcamp

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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