Agenda Discovery Week Month

Curated for Me

Beginner Bootcamp - Forest Glen

The Chicago Backpackers Meetup Group
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Endorsed by Curators:
Apr 14 7:00AM - 6:00PM

********Trip opens to RSVPs on Tuesday morning, March 13th. If the trip fills, sign up for the wait list by posting a comment. **************

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.

We will hike approximately 7 miles on the first day and 3 on the second day. Forest Glen is moderately strenuous hilly terrain. The organizers might adjust the final mileage depending on the weather.


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 (


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.

Hike approximately 3 miles back to cars. Get lunch in nearby Danville, IL. 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, 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 volunteers and not paid guides. You are responsible for your gear and meals

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.
Gasoline costs (split within carpool).

1. If you are an experienced backpacker, 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 hikemake 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.


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.

-The organizers

How to find us:Directions will be provided to participants

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