Backpacking Light's Wilderness Trekking School Curriculum

About to end a long backcountry expedition with a 20-mile packraft to the trailhead.

Core Curriculum

While it might be impossible to cover every single topic listed below in depth, this list represents the essential curriculum of the WT program. The short format courses will address most of these topics in a formal way, and then the team will actually use most these skills. The longer format courses will obviously be able to use these skills in a more in-depth way that is challenging and realistic.

The specialized skills courses will still use this basic list as a foundation, but they take on the extra challenge of very specific skills as a focus of the course (e.g. packrafting, winter camping, and advanced navigation).

Wilderness Trekking School by Backpacking Light: Skills, Respect, Community, and Simplicity.
WTS instruction is divided between a short time in the classroom at our retreat center in the Gallatin Mountains, and of course, the mountains themselves!

Wilderness Trekking School by Backpacking Light: Skills, Respect, Community, and Simplicity.
WTS instructor Mike Clelland discusses the art and science behind a lightweight alcohol stove system to WT1 students.

Wilderness Trekking School by Backpacking Light: Skills, Respect, Community, and Simplicity.
Students will learn and practice the art of firebuilding - for cooking and safety - on all WT courses.

Wilderness Trekking School by Backpacking Light: Skills, Respect, Community, and Simplicity.
Pitching a tarp is a fundamental skill for lightweight backpacking and is taught and practiced throughout the school's programs.

Wilderness Trekking School by Backpacking Light: Skills, Respect, Community, and Simplicity.
Our primary classroom, of course, is in the mountains, where we learn the art and skill of wilderness travel and listen to what the mountains have to teach us.

Principles and Gear

Lightweight Expedition Skills

Travel and Locomotion Skills

Essential Safety Skills

Essential Risk Management Skills

Insight Skills

Expedition Mentality

Awareness of Self and Others

Environmental Connection and Stewardship