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Winter Solstice One-Night Social Campout Indiana Dunes
Embrace the season and celebrate the longest night of the year with a campout at Indiana Dunes State Park. This is not a backpacking trip. We will be in a drive-up campground and have access to cars. For those interested in winter backpacking, this is a great opportunity to test gear. For those unsure of their gear limits/who don't own winter gear, this is a good opportunity to get out over the winter bringing extra bulky items (blankets, heavier coats, etc.) This event is relaxed and social in nature. We’ll have a fire. Please bring warm winter treats to share - hot cocoa with whipped cream, mulled wine, cider, cookies, s’mores etc. If there’s interest we’ll arrange a short group night hike. The campsites have electricity. You can decorate your tent with holiday lights to counteract the darkness. Itinerary Friday, December 21: Leave Chicago by 5pm. Drive to Dunes and camp. Saturday, December 22: Leave Dunes by 11:30am. (Because this is a social event, we won't do a group restaurant meal.) Costs $5 meetup fee (non-refundable) Campsite fees split among attendees. $23/site. (plan for 3-4 people per site.) Firewood cost split among attendees. (Plan for $3 per person.) Gas/tolls/parking fee - please bring cash to split within carpool. Parking fee is $12 for out-of-state cars. Campground Information: One modern heated bathroom open year-round. Cancellation information: If weather makes driving or camping conditions unsafe and the trip is cancelled, we will refund the meetup fee. Cold weather alone is unlikely to cause a cancellation. Be prepared to sleep in conditions of down to -5F actual temperature. Additional Information 1. If you are new to backpacking, you should not be on this trip. You should have successfully completed a bootcamp and be familiar with your gear limitations. If you have not been on a trip with us, but have other backpacking experience, please message a trip organizer outlining your recent experience. Participation is at the discretion of the trip organizers. 2. Please note that no refunds will be issued, so please carefully review the trip details before signing up. 3. We practice Leave No Trace and expect that all participants follow LNT guidelines ( 4. Organizers are volunteers, not guides. Each participant is responsible for obtaining and carrying his/her own meals and gear. 5. We function as a group. We expect each participant to be a contributing member to group tasks. 6. No Add-Ons. Everyone must be signed up under their own Meetup account. Also, no minors, dogs, or other dependents are permitted. If RSVPs fill up, please post a note in the comment section about your interest in attending the trip. These comments will be used to fill any spots that open. 7. Keep in mind that winter camping may involve a variety of potential health and safety risks. While organizers and other trip participants may help to facilitate trip planning and logistics, each trip participant must know his/her own capabilities and is solely responsible for his/her own safety. Sonja R. and Lindsey M.

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Indiana Dunes State Park

1600 North 25 E · Chesterton, IN

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What we're about

Welcome to the Chicago Backpackers Group

Chicago Backpackers is a club for those who share an enthusiasm for backpacking. We provide opportunities for backpacking education, trip organization, and backpacker networking.

Backpacking education: The club helps teach new backpackers about backpacking: hiking self-sustained for consecutive days in a wilderness area carrying all necessary supplies in a backpack. We do this through trips and clinics that provide opportunities for all members, old and new, to continually improve their skills in the safest possible situations.

Trip organization: The group's volunteer organizers plan a variety of trips throughout the year, from one-night beginners-only trips up to week-long advanced treks out west. Individual organizers choose the location, plan the route, help set up car pools, and take care of other trip logistics. Individual members are responsible for their own gear, their own food, and communicating with the organizer to ensure that everyone is on the same page before and during the trip.

Backpacker networking: By going on trips and frequenting the various online message boards, members are encouraged to connect with other backpackers who share similar interests, and plan their own trips using the Meetup interface to further enjoy the sport beyond what the Chicago Backpackers organizers can offer.

We practice low-impact, leave no trace backpacking ( Our trips usually consist of 10 to 14 people to minimize the impact we will have on our favorite locations and new trails, to keep them as fresh as possible for ourselves and other backpackers.

What you can do to help:

Backpacking with a group provides many benefits, from safety in numbers to sharing essential but easily-shared gear like water filters. The organizers and event hosts volunteer their time and experience to make our trips as safe and smooth as possible, but we can’t do everything ourselves. In addition to preparing and carrying your own gear and food, you can help the club and its trips run smoothly by doing a few simple things.

Read: Until we actually get on the trail, most of the information we have to give you is written down in trip descriptions, emails, and announcements. If you don’t read the descriptions, or only read part of an email, you will miss valuable information, which could lead to a poor experience on the trail, or being dropped from a trip.

Communicate: If you have questions, ask. If an organizer or event host sends you an email or asks for information, please respond as quickly and as fully as possible. If you’re having a difficult time on the trail, speak up. Frequent and clear communication makes trip planning easier, carpooling smoother, and trail hiking safer.

Lend a hand: If you have a car and can drive others to the trailhead, indicate that on the carpool/ ICE information request form sent out before the trip starts. If you don’t have a car but are willing to drive, indicate that, as well. While we’re on the trail, follow Leave No Trace principles. While we’re in camp, volunteer to get water, gather firewood, etc. Remember that organizers and event hosts are volunteers, and backpacking in a group is a team effort. When we all work together, trips are safer and run more smoothly for everyone.

Thanks, and see you on the trail!

The Organizers

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