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 (http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles.php). Our trips usually consist of 6 to 12 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

Upcoming events (4)

Monthly (Virtual) Meeting & Trail Talk - John Muir Trail

This is our regular monthly meeting but in a virtual format. We will do a quick review of the club for any newcomers and then cover another topic of interest (trail talk, etc.). Topic: John Muir Trail (JMT) Presented by: Brooke Remote meeting details will be shared with attendees who RSVP prior to the evening.

Monthly (Virtual) Meeting & Trail Talk - Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness

This is our regular monthly meeting but in a virtual format. We will do a quick review of the club for any newcomers and then cover another topic of interest (trail talk, etc.). Topic: Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Presented by: Sonja & Sarah Remote meeting details will be shared with attendees who RSVP prior to the evening.

Backpacker Book Club: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

Let's meet online to discuss The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. We'll start out as a large group and break out into smaller sessions for more involved discussion. Please feel free to post a comment or message us with any questions. We'll post Zoom meeting information before the event. Hope to see you there! Sarah, Sonja, & Hui From the publisher: "The Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior—hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work, and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come."

2021 Knobstone trail Indiana - 3 days

Needs a location


I'm planning this 2021 trip for those who commit to maintain/grow their physical fitness NOW. The Knobstone Trail is one of the most rugged trails in the Midwest. Many people use it to train for their AT trip. This trip won't be open to regular RSVPs but will be organized in the following format. Prerequisite: 1. You need to have prior backpacking experience 2. Hike 12 miles in one day (with or without pack) by the end of end of July and notify me in the comments for this trip. 3. Attend a 30 minute Zoom meeting on 8/15 (Saturday) at 8 AM, where I will go over more details on the expectations for training in the next few months to get ready for the hike. We will motivate each other throughout the year so we are ready to complete the 48 mile trip in 2.5 days. Mileage: high Terrain/conditions: moderate/rugged Duration: 3 days - Thursday night to Sunday afternoon. Introduction to Backpacking or equivalent experience required. If you have not completed an overnight trip with our meetup, direct message the organizer with your experience before signing up. Participation is at the discretion of the organizer. Location Details / Map:https://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/4224.htm Trip Narrative: the 48 mile Knobstone Trail is Indiana’s longest natural surface foot path. It is a popular backcountry trail that runs along high ridges which offer great views across the wooded hills of southern Indiana, and on clear days, even glimpses of Louisville and the Ohio River. Itinerary Thursday: arrive at the camp site in the evening Friday: car shuttle and cache water, hike 14 to 16 miles Saturday: 20 to 24 miles Sunday: 8 to 12 miles There is no need to solicit rides. One of the organizers will send an email request for carpool information and make arrangements (within reason) for everyone to get a ride. A response is required to hold your spot on the trip. Costs $15 meetup fee (non-refundable) Gas/tolls/parking fees - please bring cash to split within carpool [Note if additional fees are required (e.g., permit, campsites, etc.) or if collected at the time of sign-up, adjust $5 amount above] Additional Information 1. If you are new to backpacking, you should have successfully completed an “Introduction to Backpacking” trip before signing up. If you have not been on an Intro trip, but have other backpacking experience, please direct 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 (http://lnt.org). 4. Organizers are volunteers, not guides. Each participant is responsible for obtaining and carrying his/her own meals and gear. 5. While on the trail, we function as a group. We expect each participant to be a contributing member to group tasks such as gathering wood, filtering water, etc. 6. No Add-Ons. Everyone must be signed up under their own Meetup account. Also, no minors, dogs, or other dependents are permitted. 7. 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. 8. Keep in mind that backpacking is an intense cardiovascular activity that 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. Message me with any questions please! Hui

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