Montana Backpacking


“This trip taught me lots of stuff about the wild but not just that, about myself too. I found new ways to give feedback and how to be a leader. Let me just say that it was an amazing trip!”
—Laine, Alpine Adventure student

Expedition Overview

Dates: August 11-20, 2024
Age: 14-16
Group size: max 10 students/2 instructors
Length: 10 days
Tuition: $3,150
10-day adventure through a remote area of the Montana wilderness, developing leadership, outdoor skills in navigation, camping, backcountry cooking and teamwork.
Packing List 
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Expedition Highlights

  • Backpacking in remote wilderness areas
  • Navigation, orienteering, and wilderness travel skills
  • Wilderness decision-making and communication skills
  • Experiencing abundant wildlife and ecosystems

Expedition Description

The Montana Backpacking Adventure is an introductory backpacking course designed for 14-16 year old students. This 10-day adventure focuses on teaching students to become competent in fundamental backpacking skills such as cooking, camping, and map and compass navigation while developing a variety of leadership skills as members of an expedition team. Students will be challenged physically—at appropriate introductory levels—and will hike with moderately heavy packs in a beautiful alpine environment with some stunning views of surrounding ranges. 

The expedition team will engage in lessons about area ecology, backcountry cooking, navigation, and Leave No Trace® land stewardship principles. Instructors will engage the group in a leadership development progression, emphasizing how to communicate effectively and work together to accomplish common goals. Each student will have an opportunity to lead the group as the Expedition Leader of the Day to gain experience with newly acquired leadership skills.

For more information about MWS core curriculum and expedition progression, check out Expedition Life. If you have additional questions, please check out our FAQ page or reach out to

Expedition Objectives and Learning Outcomes

Teamwork and communication skills

  • Learn positive communication skills with diverse group members to create a healthy community, build trust, and make sound decisions in the backcountry together
  • Develop an expedition philosophy, apply it to the course, and understand how it can transfer back to the student’s home environment

Safety and wilderness based decision making

  • Backcountry hazard evaluation and risk reduction guidelines and tools
  • First aid awareness for backcountry settings: identification and treatment of common backcountry illness and injuries
  • Learn to collaboratively make decisions in remote environments that prioritizes individual and group safety

Conservation Ethic

  • Use basic observational and interpretive skills to demonstrate an understanding and respect for the natural environment
  • Discuss the history, facts and potential solutions to pertinent environmental and social issues affecting the wilderness in the expedition area
  • Reflect upon and discuss the conveyance of wilderness conservation ethics into personal life and build a capacity for commitment and stewardship to wild places
  • Develop comprehensive understanding of Leave No Trace© ethics and apply them during the expedition

Backcountry camping and navigation skills

  • Use safe backcountry kitchen practices to cook nutritious meals on a camp stove or fire
  • Demonstrate an ability to select an appropriate campsite and set up a shelter while minimizing the impact on the ecosystem
  • Understand and demonstrate how to stay healthy, warm, and comfortable in the backcountry
  • Understand and demonstrate techniques for camping and traveling in bear habitat
  • Use various navigation and route-finding tools and methods for on and off trail travel
  • Travel efficiently in the alpine environment using map and compass skills

Technical Skills

  • Learn to properly pack and adjust a backpack
  • Become competent in backpacking in alpine environments
  • Travel off trail and discover unpopulated areas of the Montana wilderness
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Montana Wilderness School
PO Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771

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