Backpacking Basics Course

This is a two day “inspired adventure retreat” for women who want to learn how to successfully and confidently plan and carry out their first overnight backpacking trip.

Note: This course is open to only 10 adventurous, awesome women (18+ age range). Once the class fills, I will start a waiting list.

Future dates will be announced soon! 

Your instructor

My name is Anastasia and I am completely obsessed with the wilderness. You can learn more about me on my About and Work With Me pages, but here’s a brief intro: I am former park ranger and police officer, turned full-time Adventurepreneur. I am a wilderness first responder and I have been backpacking and climbing in the Pacific Northwest, and around the world, for nearly two decades.

I have been a backpacking instructor with Washington Outdoor Women since 2009 and I currently run the “Toward the Mountaintop Inch By Inch” hiking/backpacking group on Facebook. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve found deep fulfillment through sharing my own wilderness experiences, and by inspiring others to create their own adventures.

What to Expect

It is my vision that this backpacking course is going to be much more than just a backpacking course. Exploring the wilderness is not just about the wilderness. I want to provide you not only with the specific skills that you need to get out and safely explore, but also the space that you need to discover more about who you are in the process. We are each hiking our own unique trail through life, and the lessons that we learn in the mountains are powerful reminders of what we are capable of in our “normal” lives.

This class might be for you if:

  • you want to start backpacking but you have absolutely no clue how to get started
  • you have some experience backpacking, but you struggle with making decisions about what to bring, and you end up carrying extremely heavy packs and excess gear
  • you want to meet other, like-minded women who are interested in backpacking and the outdoors
  • you want to foster a deeper connection with yourself and find more fulfillment in your life through the pursuit of adventure
  • you want a consolidated, accelerated learning experience – rather than taking classes in a “piecemeal” fashion

  • you want to pack light, but you don’t want to be uncomfortable
  • you want to hit the trail feeling completely confident in your own skills and abilities
  • you want to skip some of the “learning curve” (don’t worry –  I completed the entire learning curve on your behalf!)
  • you want to learn about Leave No Trace ethics, and how you can be the most responsible steward of the environment while exploring the backcountry
  • you want to know how to pick trips that are not going to be mobbed with thousands of other backpackers
  • you are awesome

Topics covered in this course will be:

  • training/nutrition (the foundation of backpacking!)
  • preparing/planning/making your “beta packet”
  • permitting and land management issues while planning a trip
  • navigation
  • gear considerations/selection
  • clothing systems
  • leave no trace
  • foot care/first aid kit prep (note: this is not a wilderness first aid certification course)
  • 10 essentials
  • backpacking food/nutrition and cooking/stoves
  • sleep systems
  • shelters

  • water treatment and hydration
  • personal protection options for women
  • Emergency situations/float plan (satellite messenger, personal locator beacon options)
  • feminine hygiene, peeing and pooping in the woods
  • lightweight packing techniques
  • special considerations (winter backpacking, shoulder season backpacking, off trail, desert)
  • how to pack your pack
  • campsite selection
  • preparing for the unexpected
  • lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
  • camp efficiency (how to break down your campsite quickly and efficiently)


Twanoh State Park, Union Washington. Learn more here.


Day 1: This will be a completely “hands-on” classroom day (in a covered picnic shelter), followed by camping in the campground in the evening.  I will reserve 3-5 campsites for the group, so day 1 will be “car camping” – including a campfire in the evening for the group (optional). Due to the logistics of cooking for 10 people and accommodating dietary preferences in a campground, full meals are not provided (but I will bring S’mores and snacks).

Day 2: On this day we will finalize our prep-work, pack our packs, and hike to a remote camping area for a mini backpacking trip. This will be a real backpacking trip where you will get to practice all of the skills that we learned the day before, and you will have the experience of hiking in, selecting a campsite, setting up camp, cooking, etc…  There will also be built in time for relaxing and just enjoying the opportunity to connect with being in the wilderness. Dinner will be provided (we will be making a backpacking meal the day before!).

Day 2.5: We will pack up camp, hike back down to the cars for our closing ceremonies and depart – with a revitalized sense of confidence, accomplishment and empowerment!

Also included: 30 minutes of post-course backpacking training/coaching either on the phone or via Skype/Zoom (i.e. I will help you plan your first backpacking trip), a copy of the Ultimate Hikers Gear Guide, Food Cozy, other goodies and secret items that you will get throughout the weekend, lifetime access to my virtual backpacking course (one it is released online – currently in progress – $199 value)

Required Gear

I have limited gear to provide for participants to borrow (i.e. backpacks, stoves, tents, sleeping bags and pads, etc…). When you sign up for the course, please let me know what you have and what you do not have, and I will make sure that your individual gear needs are accommodated.  Since this is more of a “mini backpacking trip”, it will allow for some deficiencies in gear (i.e. if your tent is extremely heavy, we can facilitate transport for your tent to the backcountry camp area), with the knowledge that you are taking this course in order to have a better understanding of what gear you will likely want to purchase before you set out on your own trip.

The Investment

Deposit required: $50 to hold your spot, non-refundable within 7 days of the course.
Total cost of course: $425 (including deposit), due 7 days prior to start day of course.

Prior to course, I will be sending all participants a waiver form and a gear list of what to pack, including all logistics.

Register Now!

Please select which session you would like to register for in the form below. All courses will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. You can pay for the deposit via Paypal using this form.

Sorry, this event already happened but check back for future dates!