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Take an adventure vacation to Montana and enjoy high-altitude trekking on Montana's remote and wild Beartooth Plateau while learning the art of ultralight backpacking!


Online Boot Camp | About the School | Difficulty Ratings | 2015 Course Catalog | Enrollment Info | Instructors | Contact

Online Course: Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp

For access to Ryan Jordan's online course, "Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp", please visit Note: Enrollment in ALL Wilderness Trekking and Packrafting Field Courses also includes 90 days of access to Ryan's online Boot Camp course, beginning 60 days prior to the start date of your course.


Advanced and comprehensive instruction in lightweight philosophy, skills, and gear.

The Backpacking Light Wilderness Trekking School teaches lightweight camping, hiking, backpacking, trekking, packrafting, tenkara fly fishing, long distance hiking, thru-hiking, winter camping, expedition planning, and other wilderness travel skills. We offer comprehensive education and hands-on instruction in beginning, intermediate, and advanced ultralight skills. Our wilderness venue includes the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of Montana and Wyoming. The Wilderness Trekking School strives to be the world's premier outdoor education provider focusing on lightweight wilderness travel philosophy, techniques, and gear.

The BPL Wilderness Trekking School is operated by Ryan Jordan under a Special Use Permit with the Custer National Forest (Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness / Beartooth Plateau), along with commercial guiding permits issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the Montana Board of Outfitters, and other agencies as required by law and jurisdiction.

Difficulty Ratings

EASIEST. Reasonable fitness recommended. Previous outdoor/camping experience is recommended, but not required.
INTERMEDIATE. Very good fitness, skills, and previous experience (backpacking or packrafting) highly recommended.
MOST DIFFICULT. High level of fitness, skills and previous experience required to ensure your safety.

2015 Course Catalog

2015 Spring Courses

Packrafting Seminar - Southwest Montana (PS1-L2PR) - APRIL 24-26, 2015

PS1-L2PR offers instruction in packrafting and river camping in the context of a 3-day, 2-night scenic float on a river in Southwest Montana. Maximum Enrollment: 8.

3 Days Packrafting ENROLLMENT CLOSED

2015 Summer Courses

Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp I - (Beartooth Plateau, Montana) (WT1-ULB) - JULY 12-17 (Session 1) and AUGUST 23-28 (Session 2), 2015

WT1-ULB covers everything including philosophy, gear, and techniques to minimize pack weight and maximize adventure. Maximum Enrollment: 10.

6 days Trekking ENROLL NOW
Ultralight Backpacking I Seminar (Beartooth Plateau, Montana) (WS1-ULB) - JUNE 19-21, 2015 (Session 1) and JULY 24-26, 2015 (Session 2)

WS1-ULB is short course that provides intense focus and practice with a wide variety of ultralight techniques for cooking systems, shelter and sleep systems, water treatment, bear bagging, and more - some hiking involved, but it's not intense. LOTS of GEAR and TECHNIQUE education. Maximum Enrollment: 7.

Learn to Packraft! - Southwest Montana (PR1-L2PR) - AUGUST 24-29, 2015

PR1-L2PR provides a comprehensive course in stillwater, flatwater, and whitewater packrafting gear, skills, and philosophy based on Ryan Jordan's Learn to Packraft! curriculum. Maximum Enrollment: 10.

6 Days Packrafting ENROLL NOW

2015 Fall Courses

Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp II (Beartooth Plateau, Montana) (WT2-ULB) - SEPTEMBER 20-25, 2015

WT2-ULB is a proving ground for ultralight techniques in fringe season conditions. Learn intermediate and advanced skills and put them to the test! Maximum Enrollment: 10.

6 Days Trekking ENROLL NOW
Fastpacking Seminar (Beartooth Plateau, Montana) (WS3-SUL) - OCTOBER 1-4, 2015

WS3-SUL focuses on expedition fastpacking - covering long distances (and off-trail terrain) quickly with a very light pack. This course emphasizes expedition techniques, inclement conditions, off-trail routefinding and navigation, and fastpacking / ultrarunning gear, styles, and technique. A solid fitness base (you should able to run trails with a light pack on rolling terrain at an average pace of 4+ mph for several hours) and wilderness skills foundation required. Trail running experience, self-sufficiency, and navigation skills are a must. Route variants for this course range from 30 to 50 miles and may include terrain up to Class 2+. Lead Instructor: Ryan Jordan. Maximum enrollment: 7.

4 days Trekking ENROLL NOW
Ultralight Backpacking Expedition Boot Camp III (Beartooth Plateau, Montana) (WT3-ULB) - OCTOBER 11-16, 2015

WT3-ULB focuses on expedition techniques, inclement conditions, off-trail routefinding and navigation. Solid fitness (you must pass an on-site fitness test to participate) and backpacking skills foundation required. Maximum enrollment: 8.

6 days Trekking ENROLLMENT OPENS JULY 15, 2015

2016 Winter Courses

Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp - Winter (Central Montana) (WT2-SNOW) JANUARY 4-9, 2016

WT2-SNOW is a ski/snowshoe trekking course that takes a comprehensive look at ultralight equipment and techniques for winter travel in the mountains. This course spends a significant amount of time on ultralight shelters, cooking systems, and oversnow travel. Includes avalanche safety and winter routefinding. Maximum Enrollment: 10. » Download the 2015 Welcome Packet for this course (PDF) (2016 welcome packed will be made available soon) to learn a bit more about course logistics, gear, and location.

6 Days Trekking ENROLLMENT OPENS SEP 15, 2015
Expedition Ski Traverse Seminar - Winter (Location TBD, Montana) (WS3-SNOW) FEBRUARY 25-28, 2016

WT3-SNOW is a backcountry ski-trekking expedition across high-elevation areas of the Beartooth Plateau. Curriculum: advanced ski touring, avalanche assessment, route planning, navigation. Extreme downhill skiing experience is not required, but ski touring experience is, along with a high level of fitness (you must pass an on-site fitness test to participate), and skills for self-management in cold alpine environments. Focus will be on route planning and execution in fast-and-light, group expedition-style. Maximum Enrollment: 6.

4 Days Trekking ENROLLMENT OPENS SEP 15, 2015

Enrollment, Payment, and Course Logistics

Deposit Payment

A nonrefundable 50% deposit is required to book an enrollment reservation. This payment must be made online at the website.

Final Payment

The remaining 50% of your total tuition cost is due 60 days prior to your course start date. This payment must be made online at the website.

Refundability and Transferability

Payments are not refundable, but they are transferable to another course or private trip if cancellation / rescheduling is made within 60 days of the original course start date.

Late Payments

If your payment is more than 7 days late, your reservation may be cancelled and offered to the next person on the waiting list for your course. Please communicate to us via email ( so we can hold your reservation if you are anticipating a late payment.

How to Book a Reservation / Make a Payment

  1. Review our course offering by clicking the "SCHOOL" tab or visiting Course Catalog Page.
  2. Click the ENROLL NOW button next to the course you want to take
  3. From the drop-down box on the course page, choose the session date that you want to enroll in and the payment type ("Payment #1: Deposit" or "Payment #2: Final") that you wish to pay.
  4. Click the ADD TO CART button to enroll.
  5. If you'd like to pay both payments at once, return to the course page and repeat steps 3 and 4.
  6. Proceed to checkout to issue payment for your course!

What Happens After I Enroll?

Immediately, you'll receive a confirmation receipt via email. Then, about 60 days prior to your course start date (after your final payment is submitted), you'll receive:

  1. A final welcome packet that includes a comprehensive gear list, course program information, and travel/logistics details;
  2. Access to Ryan Jordan's "Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp" self-directed online video course.
  3. Access to your group course email so you can collaborate with your course mates.
  4. Access to your group's collaborate equipment spreadsheet so you can start planning your gear list, sharing it with others in your course group, and learn from what other people are bringing on your course.

What Should I Do About Travel?

We provide transportation to your course location from a central location in Bozeman, Montana on the morning of your course start date. We provide transportation from your course location back to Bozeman on the evening of your course start date.

When Does Enrollment Close?

When the course is full, or 14 days prior to the course start date, whichever comes first.

Our Instructors

Ryan Connelly (School Director), Ryan Jordan (Course & Curriculum Director), Pat Starich (Instructor), Andy Heath (Instructor), Mike Martin (Instructor), Josh Vinson (Instructor), Dan Wielenga (Instructor), Adam Van Zee (Instructor)

Interested in being an instructor? We want to hear from you! Tell us why you're a good fit for our school by emailing us at


Contact us at, to converse with the WTS Director, Ryan Connelly.

Backpacking Light's Wilderness Trekking School

Joe J. surveys from high Montana divide during a WT1-ULB course.

Photos from Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp in the Beartooths!