Enjoy Happy Trails, the free monthly newsletter from Hiking For Her

Plan Your Backpacking Trip 
Course: A Great Opportunity
From Hiking For Her

By Diane Spicer

Planning a backpacking trip? Use Hiking For Her's 10 week course to get ready and have a great trip. #backpackingcourse #backpackingtrip #backpackingplans #howtobackpack #hikingforher

UPDATE: This course is not available at this time.

To learn how to be a safe, prepared day hiker is one level of commitment.

To become an accomplished backpacker is another kettle of fish (or pile of hiking gear) altogether.

There are two approaches to planning a backpacking trip:

  • Embrace the unknown and make your mistakes over time until you're a confident backpacker (which is what I did).


  • Plan to succeed from the very first backpacking trip you take, using resources and guidelines from a trail veteran.

Because you're reading this, I'm guessing you're the "Fail to plan, plan to fail" sort of hiker who will benefit greatly from this How to Plan Your Backpacking Trip course

Hiking For Her breaks it down and makes it simple, but it's a process that involves work on your part. So this course is not for every hiker.

Let's answer all of your questions to see if it's right for you.

When does this 10 week course start?

This course is no longer available.

What does it cost?

This 10 week course costs $129.99.

This gives you 24/7 access to 10 weeks of the course, a private community of hiking women, access to a knowledgeable instructor, and the peace of mind of knowing what you're doing as you plan your backpacking trip.

You can request a full refund within 7 days of the beginning the course if you decide it's not the right approach for you.

  • This is a firm refund deadline.

The cost works out to less than $15 per week. 

Where else will you find all of this information in one place, condensed and organized for your convenience?

But if you're not serious about learning

how to plan your backpacking trip,

please don't invest this money right now.

Instead, read these free tips on planning a trip.

  • It's a longer route to achieving your goal to go backpacking, but it might be what you need right now.

What is the purpose of the course?

To get you ready to take a backpacking trip of any length without overlooking anything, plain and simple.

Even if you've gone backpacking before, you'll learn lots of tricks, tips and hacks to make planning your trail adventures easier.

You could do all of your planning on your own, but this course streamlines the process and breaks everything down into small, manageable steps in a logical sequence.

  • It sets you up for backpacking success, in other words.

It also creates an environment to sustain you through those days when you might feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the decisions you need to make about shelter, food, gear and the realities of preparing for a backpacking trip.

And let's not forget the purpose of joining an established hiker community for the course: it builds in accountability and support, while giving you access to hiking wisdom you won't find any other way.

  • What a great bonus!

What's covered in this
Plan Your Backpacking trip course?

To succeed as a backpacker, coming home with plenty of great memories and photos but no horror stories, you have to have a method.

And that means meticulous planning.

This course breaks down that planning into modules.

Each module focuses on a particular topic you need to get right in order to have a great trip.

If you're familiar with the way Hiking For Her rolls, you know that you will receive detailed information, excellent resources, and even more than you expected on each topic.

  • The course makes good use of the extensive HFH knowledge base, giving you additional links to trustworthy resources.

Course overview

Module 1: Pre-trip Planning For Backpackers

Module 2: How To Choose The Right Trail Gear 

Module 3: Smart Backpacking Food Decisions

Module 4: Best Backpacking Camping & Cooking Gear

Module 5: Your Comfort & Safety As A Backpacker

Now it's time for a closer look at the course contents.

Module 1: Pre-Trip Planning
For Backpackers 

There is no "right" order to accomplishing this pre-trip planning. Some things can be done simultaneously, others need to be done in a sequential fashion.

But every single one of these actions need to be taken well in advance of your trip.

In the first module, you will be introduced to the decisions and choices you face before you even begin to think about backpacking gear and food.

  • How to identify and set your goals: trip length, who to hike with, your hiking style (ultralight, light enough, low budget, etc.)
  • A method to set up your planning timeline
  • Use good resources to choose a backpacking destination
  • Select your "back home" trusted contact(s)
  • Steps to plan your daily itinerary: style of trip, mileage per day, rest days, campsites, water sources
  • How to create a Plan B
  • Locate the paperwork & get it filed on time
  • Arrange the trail head transportation you'll need
  • Begin training for a backpacking trip (physical conditioning)
  • Set appropriate expectations (mental preparation)
  • Manage the stress of planning (quality of life)

What Module 1 gives you

At the end of this Module, you will have a realistic, prepared stance toward making decisions about how to pull off a fantastic backpacking adventure.

You will also have these priceless documents in hand:

  • A starting point for a firm itinerary, with a backup plan
  • Your planning timeline
  • Your conditioning plans
  • Tips for accomplishing all of it with minimal stress

You should be pretty excited at the end of Module 1!

Module 2: How To Choose
The Right Trail Gear 

There are some pieces of gear you can re-purpose from your day hikes.

But some gear will have to be purchased, borrowed or rented for your big trip. Example: a larger volume backpack.

You also need to consider how much weight you want to carry, which depends in part on your conditioning level but also upon your own weight.

Module 2 is where we go over the decisions you need to make for this backpacking gear:

  • Backpacking backpack: volume, style, features, brand
  • Trail footwear: types of boots versus trail shoes
  • Trekking poles
  • Hydration choices
  • Navigational gear
  • Communication options

Module 2 materials

This module comes with checklists to keep you organized.

You also receive "decision charts" to keep track of your options as you work out exactly what you're going to bring on your trip.

This will create a shopping list so you can round up everything you need.

To stay within budget, you'll enjoy the tips on how to find used gear, where to rent reliable gear, and more.

Module 3: Smart Backpacking 
Food Decisions

Food is fuel. Another way to say it: calories are gold on the trail.

  • If you don't plan carefully, you'll run out of energy, deplete your reserves, and have a not so great hangry trip.

Food also becomes your psychological safety zone on a lengthy trip, so it pays to slow down and make good choices.

You might also have to work around food issues, like allergies, intolerance, sensitivities and strong flavor preferences or aversions.

Not to worry!

This Plan Your Backpacking Trip course goes into detail about fresh, freeze dried and dehydrated food choices for a variety of diets, including standard, vegan, gluten free, paleo or a blend.

It gives you a tool for calculating calorie requirements.

It also shares backpacking nutrition tips and flavor hacks.

This allows you to pick and choose exactly what will work for you on the trail, and how much to carry.

Why guess and hope for the best? That's a disastrous approach to backpacking.

This course gives you a method for making those important food decisions.

At the end of Module 3

Now things are getting real, right?

You're well acquainted with realistic backpacking food options, and you know how much food you'll need per day.

Amazing knowledge to have, and it eliminates the dreaded but sadly common "Experimental Meal" fiasco on the trail.

Module 4: Best Camping & Cooking Gear
For Backpackers

A backpacker needs to create a home away from home every night.

And she needs to get hydrated and fed after a long day of hiking.

There are lots of tricks to making a functional and comfortable camp kitchen and shelter, but at a minimum, you need this gear:

  • Tent, tarp, hammock or bivy sack
  • Sleep system: bag versus quilt, pad, pillow, clothing
  • Illumination options
  • Stove, fuel, windscreen
  • Firestarter materials
  • Water transport and storage gear
  • Clean water equipment
  • Kitchen equipment: pots, bowls, utensils, knife and more
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Critter proof food and food waste storage options

Module 4 takeaways

No guesswork for you!

At the end of the fourth module, you will know exactly what you're going to bring as the best camping and cooking gear in the backcountry.

After making so many mistakes as a newbie backpacker, I consider this module alone well worth the price of the course. 

  • And I'm happy to share my tips and trail secrets with you in this course!

Module 5: Your Comfort & Safety
As A Backpacker

Think about what the trail will demand from you:

  • the smarts to face variable weather conditions, elevation gains and losses, long distances between camps, sweat, bugs, pooping and peeing outdoors, hunger, fatigue, and (use your fertile imagination).

Now think about the gear you'll need to keep yourself safe, happy and comfortable no matter what.

Yup, that's the backpacking equipment this course helps you select for your personal safety and comfort when you can't take a shower and don't know what's waiting for you around the next bend in the trail.

Module 5 covers:

  • Appropriate clothing layers for your destination
  • Head and hand coverage options
  • Ten Essentials baseline gear
  • Emergency gear
  • Gear repair supplies
  • Animal & human encounter equipment
  • Essential first aid supplies
  • Personal hygiene kit
  • Self care items

What does Module 5 give you?


Go through that list above again, and realize how easy this course makes your life as you're in the planning phase.

No guesswork, no forgetting something really important.

And because it builds upon the decisions you make earlier in the course, it is a highly personalized module.

  • Your decisions around comfort and safety depend upon your destination, your temperament, your hiking budget and your motivation to avoid suffering as a backpacker..

In other words, you can get creative here.

This module shows you how, step by step.

Bonuses in the 
Plan Your Backpacking Trip course

If you walked away with 5 modules of material, you'd be well prepared to tackle a backpacking trip.

But that's not good enough for Hiking For Her! Expect plenty of "extras" sprinkled throughout the course to surprise and delight you.

A few examples of the bonus material included in the cost of the course:

  • Packing tips: stuff sacks, nesting strategies, gear placement in your pack
  • Comfort items to consider: camp shoes, sitting cushion/chair, recharging equipment, hiking umbrella and more
  • Backpacking technique tips to make your gear perform at its best
  • Last minute "to do" list so you can leave for the trail head without that "what did I forget?" feeling
  • Fun extras (they're a surprise!)
  • Weekly recaps to summarize each topic
  • A Course Notebook to keep you on track and organized

Whew! This Plan Your Backpacking Trip
course covers a lot of information!

No kidding!!

And it was acquired the hard way, over the 5 decades of trail time I've wracked up.

  • Blood, sweat, tears, gear failures, wrong turns and a few cuss words may or may not have been involved!

Here's the thing.

If this planning strategy seems daunting, you're half right.

  • Yes, it is a lot of work to plan meticulously for your safety, comfort and enjoyment when you're away from home.

But it shouldn't be a chore.

If this Plan Your Backpacking Trip course looks like a long, boring, laborious chore to you, I'd advise against enrolling right now.

You might not be ready for the responsibilities involved in planning a big backpacking trip, and that's totally okay.

  • Wait until you've got the energy and sustained drive for this lengthy, necessary task.
  • Meanwhile, use the course outline to chip away at what you'll need, at your own pace.

This course is geared for a rapid entry into the world of backpacking, and might not work for you. 

What I'm trying to say is that this course should look like a lot to tackle, AND it should get your creative and daydreaming juices flowing strongly.

You're going to go backpacking!!! Hurrah!

At the end of the 
Plan Your Backpacking Trip course,
you've got a wealth of hiking resources

If you keep pace with the weekly decisions you need to make, and consider all of your options in each of the 5 modules, by the end of the 10 weeks you will have:

  • A detailed timeline, counting down to the first day of your backpacking trip
  • An itinerary, filed with the appropriate people
  • Checklists to keep everything on track as you pack
  • A food plan tailor made for yourself and your hiking companions
  • The right backpacking gear to hit the trail (or at least a shopping/rental/borrow list)
  • Gear and supplies to create a comfortable home each night
  • A relaxed, confident mindset

Is that worth $15 per week to you? Only you can decide.

More to appreciate
about this backpacking course for women

Think of the convenience for your next backpacking trip.

And the one after that!

By going through this course, you have invested money, time and energy to create a detailed, customized backpacking plan.

  • Just tweak it a bit, and you're all set for your future backpacking adventures!

I hate to bring this up, but...

All of the material in this course is copyrighted.

If you'd like to recommend the course to other hikers, please do, and thank you for your vote of confidence.

But sharing the course materials with all of your hiking buddies?

  • Please don't. 

The course is a labor of love, and I love sharing it with enrolled students. 

  • But it's not for distribution beyond our circle.

I'm sure you understand!

How is this course set up?

The course design focuses your time and attention on tightly defined topics, in a carefully planned sequence.

It takes you through exactly what you must pay close attention to for a successful backpacking trip.

  • Each week, new materials are posted.
  • Set aside a few hours per week to spend on the topics.

If you feel like you're falling behind, just download the materials in your Course Notebook and get to them when you can, no worries!

  • The modular design means you can skip things, or skip around as the modules are posted, and not be at a disadvantage for the next topic.

The course has an easy electronic interface which is accessed via computer, tablet and smart phone via your password.

Once you enroll in the course, you can:

  • Log in 24/7 and see what's new: materials, comments, opportunities to engage with others, and messages from the instructor.
  • Use the articles, resources, polls, pdf downloads, videos and other materials to craft your backpacking plans.
  • Interact with other students via chat and messaging. Who knows who you'll meet?
  • Post your questions to the community members.
  • Send private messages and questions to the instructor, and received a detailed private reply.

No questions go unanswered, because the instructor is right there, every week, making sure you get what you need.

How tech savvy do I need to be?

The course platform has a small learning curve (probably 10 minutes) to figure out how everything is arranged.

You will need to create a password and use it to log into the course to download and store materials to your own electronic device(s).

  • The instructor cannot send you the materials in a different format. 
  • If you cannot access and navigate the course platform within the first 7 days of the course, you will be refunded your full fee.

But take heart! No one has failed to master the learning platform thus far!

Why is the Plan Your Backpacking Trip
course accessed through a private
hiking community?

Many courses are "stand alone", meaning that they are unsupported and self paced.

  • You pay, and then it's up to you to make progress.
  • The instructor is nowhere to be found.

Be honest. How many of those have you paid for, but never used? (Yeah, me too.)

That's why this course is accessed inside the Over Forty Hiker private community, and has a definite time line.

  • It's similar to a university course with a start and end date, and a dedicated instructor.

Over Forty Hiker private community

This is not a supposedly private Facebook community.

It's not a "see who shows up" space that isn't curated by a dedicated host.

Instead, it's a group of hiking women who choose to interact and support each other in hiking endeavors, using the Mighty Network platform.

What if you're not 40?

It doesn't matter! For the 10 week duration of the course, you're a valued member of our community.

  • Enjoy the wisdom of other hikers who may have a few more years (or decades) on the trail than you. 

The membership cost (about $15) is included in your enrollment fee.

You can decide to stay with us when the course is finished, which we hope you will do so we can share in the excitement (and photos) of your backpacking trip!

Or you can leave us, knowing that you had a great 10 week experience.

The many advantages of this approach

Learning how to plan your backpacking trip within a private community gives you freedom from trolls and spam, and the ability to share what's on your mind without being judged.

It's wonderful to feel the warm support of a circle of hiking women who are devoted to hiking.

  • We "get it", while others in your life are left wondering why you want to get tired, sweaty, and dirty "for fun".

Take advantage of the deep knowledge base, too.

  • Post questions and comments, and interact with female hikers who share viewpoints and tips beyond what the instructor (or your social media channels) can provide.

There is no pressure to interact with others, but doing so will maximize your learning in this course.

Offering the course within a community platform also keeps the cost low, by bringing you streamlined, round the clock access to course content, packed with multiple resources, on an easy to navigate platform which already exists in the Hiking For Her universe.

Here's what one woman had to say after taking a HFH course within our community:

I took what I learned from this very experienced instructor and hit the trail as a novice female hiker with the right gear, the right mindset and no surprises—I’m grateful to have found a resource that prepared me so well. Thanks!

– Diane H.

Why a scheduled course
instead of a self paced course?

As a retired educator, I know one thing for certain about human nature: we all start a course with the best intentions, but life gets in the way.

If your goal is to take a backpacking trip within the next 3 - 6 months, you've got to get a handle on things, and right now.

So if you're under a bit of pressure to complete this course within a set period of time, you're going to make it a priority.

  • Each week, you'll make time to look at the course materials, if not explore the resources, checklists, and student interactions.
  • There's nothing hard or overwhelming, but it requires a time commitment, week after week.

It's my gentle but effective Tough Love Approach to getting your goals accomplished this year.

Let's not wait around, let's get you on the trail!

Will I have access to this course

Not unless you continue as a member in our Over Forty Hiker community, for the low monthly fee of $4.99 ($39 annual).

Otherwise, you need to have the self discipline to download the course materials each week, and store them in whatever way makes sense to you for future reference.

  • More tough love, no apologies.
  • This course puts you into Get 'er Done mode.

You'll be able to use the provided Course Notebook as a handy outline to store everything for future reference.

  • Customize your course experience by picking and choosing what to keep.
  • Take notes.
  • Keep track of questions and answers.
  • Create a record of your insights and aha!s.
  • Capture each week's Big Ideas via weekly recaps.
  • Build a visual reference of your progress and your backpacking plans for future reference.

Plan Your Backpacking Trip Course:
costs explained

You value what you pay for.

What you're paying for in this 10 week course is exclusive access to all of this:

  • a step by step decision making process, covering all the parameters of a safe backpacking trip
  • carefully chosen course materials to maximize your time and get you on the trail with confidence
  • a private community of hiking women for support and trail tips
  • a knowledgeable instructor who is both a professional educator and a long time hiker, available for your questions and concerns

Spending $129 on your safety, comfort and happiness is a smart investment in your future as a backpacker, don't you think?

  • Use what you learn over and over again, because you're going to crave more long trail time when everything goes well the first time.

Is that cost too high right now?

Then I invite you to continue to use all of the free resources right here on the Hiking For Her website.

  • Enjoy 700+ pages of free useful tips and detailed reviews, ready and waiting for you whenever you need them.
  • Every week, more information is added, updated and curated for your use. 
  • Sign up for the free monthly newsletter, too.

See the TOP button over there on the right? Pop a topic into the search box at the top of any page, and away you go, into the Hiking For Her encyclopedia of free information.

But here's the truth about the cost of the course: there will never be a lower price.

In fact, it will need to be higher next time around, because technology will be more expensive.

So jump on it this time around. There's no guarantee it will be offered again, at any price. 

  • The course shows you how to save money on your backpacking plans, so factor that into your decision.

Your instructor for the course

That would be me, Diane Spicer.

I created Hiking For Her in 2008 as an online resource for hiking women of all backgrounds and levels.

You can read more about my educational and hiking expertise here

Or take a peek at where in the world I love to hike. I've hiked under all kinds of conditions, and I share my tips with you in this course.

Female backpacker surrounded by mountainsHere I am, practicing what I preach in the wilds of Northwest Territories, Canada

What are your questions about this
Plan Your Backpacking Trip course?

I'm here to help you succeed with your hiking goals.

I've done my best to anticipate your questions, but if you still have some, contact me here.

If you'd rather ease into the hiking world with my How To Day Hike course, you can get the details here.

Either way, I'd love to spend time with you and help you toward your hiking goals!

  • My goal: to get as many women as possible onto trails, with the shortest learning curve possible.

If you've spent time on this website, you already know that you can expect detailed, trustworthy and practical expert hiking advice on Hiking For Her's website.

Imagine what this Plan Your Backpacking Trip course can give you!

Looking forward to sharing some (virtual) trail time with you in this course!

Home page > Best Hiking Resources >

How To Plan Your Backpacking Trip Course