This is a Beginner Bootcamp for those who are new to backpacking, or who have been out of the sport for quite some time. The objective is to help beginners become self sufficient with the skills and gear required to have a safe and fun backpacking experience. This Beginner Bootcamp will provide the backpacker with an understanding of expectations for intermediate trips.
This will be a two night trip at beautiful Charles C. Deam Wilderness in Hoosier National Forest, approximately four hours south of Chicago. The terrain comprises gently rolling hills that can be strenuous at times. Trails may be muddy and rocky.
Friday Night April 11:
Meetup at Blackwell Campground. We will be car camping there. Car camping simply means our vehicles will be parked nearby, so we can use bulkier items, such as a cooler, lanterns, lawn chairs, extra blanket, firewood, etc. There is no potable water here, so bring plenty of drinking water. Vault toilets are available.
Saturday April 12:
Sleep in. After breakfast, the Organizers will conduct an equipment assessment, aka "shakedown." 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. Afterwards we'll leisurely hike approximately 7 miles to our lakeside campsite. At camp, Organizers will discuss basic camp skills such as site selection, water filtration, cooking, bathroom, etc.
Sunday, April 12:
Hike back to cars.
Get lunch in Bloomington, Indiana
Return to Chicago.
Backpacking can be a strenuous cardiovascular exercise. Participants should be in reasonably good health and physical fitness. Organizers strive for participant enjoyment, however you are ultimately responsible for your own comfort.
All participants are responsible for obtaining the essential gear for the trip. This includes a backpack, sleeping bag, tent or shelter, sleeping pad, headlamp or flashlight, and rain gear for you and your backpack (large heavy duty garbage bags can be used). You should be able to carry two liters of water on the trail. Over-the-ankle hiking boots 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 gear information (www.rei.com).
Because this is a two night trip, you will need to brings meals for all-day Saturday and breakfast Sunday. Don't forget trail snacks! You are on your own for Friday dinner; so eat before you arrive or cook by the campfire.
Remember that April can bring rain and cold nighttime temperatures. Beware of hypothermia. Avoid cotton clothing. Bring a fleece or wool hat and extra medium-weight 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.
Organizers will make the car pool arrangements, within reason, so that everyone may attend. They will plan the route and coordinate other logistics. Details on carpool arrangements, directions, and contact information will be sent about a week before the trip.
1. If you ARE an experienced backpacker, you should NOT be on this trip. Backpacker Bootcamps are primarily geared toward beginners or those who have been out of the sport for some time. Contact an Organizer if you have a question concerning your experience.
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.
3. Dogs, minors, or other dependents are not permitted.
4. We practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics. www.lnt.org
5. Cost is $10.00 per person payable at the time of sign up.
6. If trip is full, sign up for "Want a Spot"
Please contact an Organizer if you have any questions!
Spencer, Paris, Collin, and Brian