Beginner Bootcamp 2-nights

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. 

Map:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsbdev3_017286.pdf

Itinerary: 

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. 

Participant Expectations: 

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.

Additional Information: 

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!

Thank you, 

Spencer, Paris, Collin, and Brian

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  • Spencer

    Couldn't have asked for a nicer weekend with nicer people, thanks everyone!

    3 · April 13, 2014

    • Tushar

      Hello Spencer - long time no see - Hope you enjoying the summer. Quickly wanted to check with you if you would know anything about the trip of hiking and canoeing was coming up shortly. This is something we had discussed and wanted to make sure i dont miss it.

      June 13, 2014

    • Spencer

      stay tuned, it should be posted soon

      1 · June 13, 2014

  • Deanna R.

    Are there going to be more Beginner Bootcamps this spring? I'm really hoping so!

    May 1, 2014

  • Claudette

    Hi everyone! This question's mainly for the organizers/event hosts … was just wondering if there's any plan for a gear swap/resale in the near future? Having just gone thru this bootcamp, I realized there's a few more things that I do need either for camping/backpacking e.g. a good, compact multi-tool. I wanted to post this in the discussion forum but it looks like it has been inactive for quite a while. Hoping to have more success getting a response here. Thanks in advance!

    1 · April 16, 2014

    • Spencer

      Claudette, since I've been in the group there has not been a gear swap, though we've tossed around idea before. While there are no plans in the near future, perhaps it's time to reconsider having one. It's a great idea and most of us don't need an excuse to get together and salivate over backpacking gear.

      2 · April 18, 2014

    • Claudette

      Thanks Spencer. It'll be really cool if we have one as a group. I'm crossing my fingers it happens. And if it does, I will make sure I have my ultra absorbent pack towel at hand for drool management. Have a good weekend!

      April 18, 2014

  • Brian

    Thanks to everyone for venturing out - really enjoyable trip with a great group

    3 · April 14, 2014

  • Collin

    Thanks everyone for a great weekend. Could not have had a better group and better weather.

    3 · April 14, 2014

  • Claudette

    Thank you Paris, Brian, Collin and Spencer -- for being so generous with your knowledge and your time. It was,indeed, a great bootcamp -- a good mix of FUN!, serious huffing&puffing, and purposeful yet relaxed instruction: the correct way of loading a backpack, the 5 W's of campsite selection, how to hang a bear bag, gear/food suggestions, how to look good in pictures while wearing a backpack. ;) For a wonderful weekend, for the great company -- thank you again and again.

    2 · April 13, 2014

  • Paris

    Such beautiful weather and fabulous peeps! Thanks to all for a wonderful weekend!

    1 · April 13, 2014

  • Erica

    Such an excellent weekend! I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to join y'all!

    2 · April 13, 2014

  • Juan Miguel H.

    See the group is full, when are you planning the next beginners boot camp?

    April 8, 2014

    • Spencer

      Hi Juan, there should bootcamps in May and June. Please check back

      April 11, 2014

  • Brian

    Carpool info has been sent out. If anyone hasn't received it, let me know.

    April 8, 2014

    • Tushar

      Hello Brian have not received any carpool info yet

      April 9, 2014

    • Brian

      Tushar, I just forwarded the email to you

      April 9, 2014

  • Collin

    Matt, Jonathan, The organizer will arrange carpooling about a week before the trip. Getting there won't be a problem.

    1 · March 29, 2014

    • jonathan

      hi where is the meeting place for Friday ?

      April 9, 2014

    • Spencer

      Jonathan,
      I'm sorry but you have been dropped from the trip because you did not respond to the carpool request and our other attempts to get in contact with you. I presumed that you were no longer interested in attending. It is very important that your email settings are such that you receive updates and notifications from Meetup, and that you respond to requests for information by the given deadline.

      April 9, 2014

  • Collin

    Jonathan, I'm confused. Your status changed to Not Going. Are you still planning on going? Brian had sent out a carpooling form to those were still RSVP'd.

    April 9, 2014

  • Brian

    Erica, I'll send you an email. For future reference, you can also click on a person's profile and there should be an option to send them an email (appears under the name towards the top).

    April 7, 2014

  • Brian

    Thanks to those who have already responded to the carpool RSVP. If you have not responded, please do so by this evening or we will assume you are no longer planning to come next weekend. If you are having issues with the form, please let me know.

    April 6, 2014

    • Brian

      Hey Erica, send me an email with your updated info and we'll incorporate it.

      April 7, 2014

    • Erica

      Sorry, my yahoo cleaned out your original request, I don't have your address anymore.

      April 7, 2014

  • Brian

    Hi Tushar, I just sent you an email with a link to the form. If you don't receive it shortly, please check your spam folder and then, if you still haven't received, send me a note with your email address.

    April 6, 2014

  • Brian

    I just sent out a link to the carpool form. If you don't receive it shortly, please let me know.

    April 2, 2014

    • Tushar

      Hello brian i have not received any carpool form

      April 5, 2014

  • Kyle M.

    I live in Indianapolis and frequent Deam often. Just an FYI, the group size limit is 10 people in Deam Wilderness. Also, we had flooding not too long ago. If you're planning on taking Grubb ridge trail from the west end of Blackwell to Peninsula Trail, the low areas near Patton Cave are full of debris and the trail is not visible. It's also a muddy mess and the creeks are fairly high right now (3 feet deep in some places). I recommend finding another route. Perhaps going east towards Grubb Ridge Parking and then head north to the peninsula. You could also start at Grubb Ridge Parking. There are camp sites a few hundred feet up the trail from the parking area.

    2 · March 31, 2014

  • matt

    Hi. I live in Chicago. I was wondering if I could hitch a ride. Would offer gas and driving one of way or the other.

    March 29, 2014

  • jonathan

    I want to go camping ! but I need transportation .

    March 29, 2014

7 went

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