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Beginner Bootcamp - Lapham Peak
This is a beginner boot camp for those who are new to backpacking, or who have been out of the sport for quite some time. This trip will introduce new people to backpacking through an overnight weekend trip that is relatively close to Chicago. This trip will help beginners become familiar with the skills and gear required to have a fun and safe experience backpacking. If you are new to backpacking you are required to complete a beginners' boot camp before you can attend other group trips. This trip will involve hiking approximately 7 miles on the first day and 3 on the second day. Lapham Peak is moderately strenuous hilly terrain in dense forests and open prairie. The organizers might adjust the final mileage depending on the weather. Expectations All participants should be in good health and be physically fit. Backpacking is a strenuous cardiovascular exercise. All participants are responsible for obtaining the necessary gear to attend this trip. Necessary gear includes a backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent or shelter, food, and water. All gear should be suitable for backpacking. You can learn more about the equipment required in the "Beginners Gear List" in the "Files" section of the Chicago Backpackers website. If you are unfamiliar with the types of gear required and have questions about the expectations for the trip please contact the organizers. Click below for more info: • Bootcamp FAQ ( • Basic gear list ( Itinerary Saturday: Everyone arrives at 10am for the shakedown: participants will empty packs and discuss with organizers what gear is needed and how to load and adjust packs. Hike approximately 7 miles to camp, practicing good hiking techniques. We'll stop for a late lunch and discuss the principals of Leave No Trace. At camp, learn about camp skills such as site selection, making camp, cooking, etc. Sunday: Hike approximately 3 miles back to cars. Get lunch in nearby Delafield. Return to Chicago. Organizers Organizers will make the car pool arrangements, within reason, so that everyone may attend. They will plan the route of the trip, coordinate any needed logistics, and facilitate any details of the trip related to requirements of the park location. For this trip, the organizers will assist participants in learning about backpacking by providing knowledgeable assistance in the gear and skills necessary to backpack. Organizers are not guides or cruise directors. Additional Information: Details on carpool arrangements, directions, and contact information will be disseminated about a week before the trip. The cost for this trip is $10. There is also an $11 vehicle admission sticker per car (split within carpool). Gasoline costs (split within carpool). 1. If you are not new to backpacking, you should not be on this trip. As you can see, these trips are very popular and are specifically geared toward beginners who need coaching. 2. Carpool arrangements are made by the organizers. No need to solicit rides. 3. Only group members may attend. +1 add-ons are not permitted as we have a limited number of attendees that is determined by park regulations and organizers' abilities to safely lead a group of a specific size. If you have a friend that wishes to attend, please have them join the group and add themselves to the list. 4. Dogs, minors, or other dependents are not permitted on bootcamp trips. Preparation and Tips First-time backpacking opens up a lot of questions. Please use the comments to ask us any questions you have, and come to our monthly meeting at REI for tips - we love to answer questions! Here are a few points beginning backpackers might want to think about while preparing. What to pack: We have a basic gear list ( on our pages section. Getting Gear: One of the biggest challenges for beginner backpackers is figuring out gear. Give this article a read: More on what to pack: • Trimming Weight: There is a ton of online info about lightweight backpacking. It boils down to Take Only What you Need, Take Lighter and Smaller Gear, and get the lightest of the Big Three (meaning your sleep system, your shelter, and your backpack). Do make sure you have everything you need to keep warm and dry in camp, backpacking is a balance of carrying a light enough pack to be comfortable on the trail and enough gear to be warm and comfortable in camp. • Packing your backpack: REI has a great article and quick video about How to Pack your Backpack ( • Stove: There are lots of stoves out there and you may not know what you want to purchase. You can arrange to share a stove, or in warm weather, you can opt to eat cold food like sandwiches. Basic backpacking food consists of simply boiling water, so backpackers commonly share stoves. If you'd like to share a stove, please mention this in the comments. • Water: The organizers will cache water near the campsite if reliable water sources are not available. If we don't have to filter water, we will have water filters for demonstration. Remember that hiking with a pack is a strenuous activity and you will need to hydrate while hiking, we recommend no less than 2 liters for the hike—make sure you have containers for up to 2 liters of water, we will have an opportunity to refill at lunch and prior to reaching our campsite. Map: Before signing up, please read the full trip description, and make sure you want to (and are able to ) participate. No refunds will be offered for those that RSVP and later drop the trip. Steve

Lapham Peak--Kettle Moraine

W329 N846 County C · Delafield, WI


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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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