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Basic Backpacking & Outdoor Leader

Backpacking-in-Silhouette2Basic Backpacking and Outdoor Leader is offered as a combined training course.

The Basic Backpacking training course is designed to help prepare the new Trek Leader for taking scouts into the wilderness or provide updated information for the veteran Trek Leader. Basic Backpacking classroom training is followed with a backpack field experience with a map and compass and a weekend overnight hike to let you experience what you’ve learned.

The Outdoor Leader training course is designed for Scout leaders at all levels to gain the basic knowledge and skills needed to plan and execute fun, safe and rewarding outings. It covers general information needed for planning all types of outings, from a trip to the local park or zoo with Cub Scouts, to week-long wilderness outings for older Scouts.

Who should attend?
All Scout leaders that help plan or participate in unit outings. Taking your unit backpacking requires more than just having the right equipment! It requires qualified leaders to ensure a safe trip. The Outdoor Leader and Basic Backpacking training courses will help build your confidence to take Scouts out into the wilderness safely.

The course goal is to ensure that you can safely and effectively manage a backpacking program for your camp, district or unit. It will help you to solidify your knowledge of backpacking and to teach you the current policies of the BSA.

1. Attend a scheduled indoor training session.
2. Attend a scheduled outdoor training session. (Basic Backpacking course only.)

What will I learn:
The Basic Backpacking & Outdoor Leader training course is designed to teach:
• Planning all types of outings.
• How to instruct others in backpacking activities.
• What BSA guidelines are related to backpacking.
• To effectively and safely supervise and administer the technical aspects of a backpacking activity.

Topics Covered:
• Outing preparation
• Trek Planning
• Leadership and Risk Management
• Health and Safety
• First Aid
• Evacuation
• Food Planning and Preparation
• Wilderness Navigation (Map and Compass)
• Leave No Trace
• Equipment (Personal and Group)
• Weather
• Stoves and Fuels
• High Adventure Team (HAT) Awards

Upon successful completion of this course, individuals satisfactorily demonstrating the skills and knowledge will receive a sign HAT Training Card (or signature on an existing card). Certifications will be granted at the successful completion of the course, and with the approval of the training staff!

Training Dates:
See our Training Schedule for upcoming dates and registration information.

Ten Essentials: (Click here for more information on the ten essentials.)
1. Navigation (map and compass)
2. Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat)
3. Insulation (extra clothing, rain gear, outerwear)
4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
5. First-aid supplies
6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
7. Repair kit and tools
8. Nutrition (extra food)
9. Hydration (extra water)
10. Emergency shelter

Beyond the Ten Essentials: (Click here for an excellent resource.)

Individual Items:
• Backpack (Internal or External)
• Sleeping bag
• Sleeping pad
• Ground cloth
• Tent
• Pocketknife
• Mess kit (plate/cup/bowl, knife/fork/spoon/spork)
• 1 liter Nalgene bottle, Platypus/bladder/water container
• Pack rain-cover (large trash bags will work)
• Small plastic trowel (For digging personal latrine)
• Appropriate backpacking clothing (Synthetic preferred. Avoid cotton.)
• Hiking boots/shoes (“tennies” OK depending upon weather conditions)
• Cold trail lunch (for Saturday)
• Trail snacks

Crew Items:
• Cook kit (Pot(s) and utensils)
• Backpacker’s stove and fuel
• 3 liter (minimum) water container
• Group first-aid kit
• Dishwashing soap & scrubber/sponge
• Food for four-man crews
• One-pot meal for Saturday dinner
• Hot breakfast (for Sunday)


Course prerequisites:
• Be a registered Scouter.
• No backpacking experience is required.
• Bring a current copy of your Youth Protection Training that is appropriate for your BSA membership.
• Bring a current copy of your Annual Health and Medical Record. (Parts A, B & C)

For questions, please contact Rich Rasmussen at