The weather is slowly warming, and we are ready for some outdoor adventures! If you want to do some backpacking in Colorado this summer, now is the perfect time to plan and prepare. To help, I’ve compiled a list of local resources for backpackers. Here are five ways to begin preparing for your summer adventure before the season begins.
#1 Read Backpacking 101
Are you new to backpacking or want to become more knowledgeable? Check out Backpacking 101: Choose the Right Gear, Plan Your Ultimate Trip, Cook Hearty and Energizing Trail Meals, Be Prepared for Emergencies, Conquer Your Backpacking Adventures – written by Colorado author and adventurer, Heather Balogh Rochfort. The book has everything you need to know about hiking and spending time in the Colorado wilderness including all the topics mentioned in the title in addition to navigation, interacting with wildlife, what to do if you get lost and so much more. To find out more about Heather, and to be inspired by her many adventures, check out her blog Just a Colorado Gal.
#2 Listen to These Fun & Inspiring Podcasts
While you are preparing for your summer adventures, listen to some adventure podcasts to fuel your wanderlust. Boulder-based podcast, The Trail Show, is all about hiking, adventure stories, beer, nonsense and fun! The Dirtbag Diaries is another interesting station to follow, with episodes covering a variety of outdoor adventures from backpacking to roadtrips. For inspiring female adventurists, check out She Explores, featuring more than 300 women’s outdoor adventure stories.
#3 Take a Backpacking Class
There are a handful of ways to learn the basics (and more advanced techniques) of backpacking in Colorado. REI offers free classes across the Front Range, including Rocky Mountain Backpacking, Beyond Backpacking Basics: What’s Inside Your Pack?, Women’s Backpacking Basics, and more in-depth paid classes ($89) that include an outing as well as demo gear: Introduction to Colorado Backpacking Skills. Women’s Wilderness offers multiple classes to women, including Backpacking Basics ($49) and Advanced Navigation Techniques ($49). Colorado Mountain Club also offers schools and clinics from the basics to advanced mountaineering that start at $75 to members (individual membership costs $70/year, more details here).
#4 Take a Survival Skills Class
Since backpacking trips typically lead to remote places far from medical assistance, shelter and cell phone range, taking a survival skills class is essential. Women’s Wilderness offers a Core Survival Basics Class ($99) to women in Boulder. REI offers a wilderness survival skills class for $109 ($89 Member) that include how to find shelter, locating and accessing drinking water, and how to make your own emergency kit. Colorado Mountain Club also offers a $45 Hiking and Survival Essentials class to members (individual membership costs $70/year, more details here). For more advanced survival skills classes, check out Boulder Outdoor Survival School with courses running 3 – 28 days in length ($445+).
#5 Join a Backpacking Group
Want to go backpacking in Colorado but don’t have anyone to go with? Try joining a backpacking group! These groups regularly plan trips throughout the state. Boulder-based CHAOS is an informal group of energetic, fun, non-competitive backcountry enthusiasts that plan backpacking and hiking trips on Meetup. Colorado Backpackers (and Campers) Meetup Group offers group backpacking trips throughout Colorado. Colorado Mountain Club offers a variety of group backpacking trips and other hiking outings to its members, as well as adventure travel across the US and abroad (trip costs vary, individual membership to CMC $70/year, more details here).