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This is a Beginner Bootcamp for those who are new to backpacking, or who have been out of the sport for quite some time. This bootcamp involves an overnight weekend trip approximately three hours south of Chicago. The objective is to help beginners become self sufficient and familiar with the skills and gear required to have a fun and safe backpacking experience. This Beginner Bootcamp will provide the backpacker with an understanding of expectations for intermediate trips.

This trip will involve hiking approximately 8 miles on Saturday and approximately 2 miles on Sunday. The terrain at the Peoria Park District's Camp Wokanda area and comprises some rolling hills and can be strenuous at times. The trails may be wet, slippery, muddy, and rocky.

Expectations of participants:

Backpacking can be a strenuous cardiovascular exercise. Participants should be in reasonably good health and physical fitness.

All participants are responsible for obtaining the essential gear for the trip. This includes a backpack, sleeping bag, tent or shelter, rain gear (a garbage bag can be used), headlamp or flashlight, food, and water (you should be able to carry two liters). Over-the-ankle hiking boots and a sleeping pad 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 another good resource for information (

Organizers will do their best to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time, however you are ultimately responsible for your own comfort. Remember that April can often bring rain and moderately cold nighttime temperatures. Do not fall victim to hypothermia. Avoid cotton clothing. Bring a fleece or wool hat and extra medium-weight clothing 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.

Itinerary for trip:

Saturday April 27:
Everyone arrives by 11:00 a.m at the Camp Wokanda lower parking lot area. Shakedown: The Organizers will conduct an equipment assessment. 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. We will then hike approximately 8 miles to our campsite, practicing good hiking techniques.

At camp, organizers will discuss basic camp skills such as site selection, making camp, cooking, etc.

Sunday, April 28:
Hike 2 miles back to cars.
Get lunch.
Return to Chicago.

Organizers will make the car pool arrangements, within reason, so that everyone may attend. They will plan the route of the trip and coordinate any other needed logistics. Details on carpool arrangements, directions, and contact information will be disseminated about a week before the trip.

Please contact an Organizer if you have any questions!

Additional Information:
1. If you are NOT new to backpacking, you should not be on this trip. Backpacker Bootcamps are primarily geared toward beginners. Contact an Organizer if you have a question concerning your readiness.

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 to the list.

3. Dogs, minors, or other dependents are not permitted.

4. We practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

5. Cost is $5.00 per person payable at the time of sign up.

Thank you,

Doug and Spencer