Southwest Lightweight Backpacking - Adult

Credit: Jared Steinman

Southwest Lightweight Backpacking - Adult

Go light and fast through the desert

Join a group of motivated adults to explore the remote corners of the American Southwest. On this course, you’ll explore the Gila National Forest, the United States’ first designated wilderness, as you master the skills of lightweight backpacking. Start your mornings cooking breakfast on an alcohol stove, then break down your camp and get ready for the day’s hike. Spend your days scrambling over high mountain ridges and through ponderosa pine forests. Learn about the area’s ecology as you backpack through places home to elk, coyotes, and wild turkeys. You’ll learn about the principles of lightweight backpacking, the specialized gear that’s available, and carefully finding the balance between weight and comfort as you aim for a pack that weighs between 22 and 28 pounds.

In addition to the miles you’ll cover, you’ll also focus on developing leadership skills. Learning about navigating off-trail becomes a lesson in judgment and decision making. Living in a small community becomes an opportunity to learn about communication and group dynamics. From these experiences, you’ll develop your own leadership style that you can transfer to your life at home. By the end of this course, you’ll walk away with experience lightweight backpacking, leadership skills, and new relationships formed in the wilderness.



2020 Dates

Sept. 18 – Sept. 26, 2020

Tuition: $2,780


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9 days

Minimum Age

23 yrs.


Course Description

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Travel and Logistics


Tucson, Arizona

Fly in/out

Tucson, Arizona

Skills learned


Lightweight Backpacking

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What Our Grads Say

“I grew in confidence, stepping into leadership roles that might have intimadated me in the frontcountry” 

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