Advanced Wilderness Backpacking

Our 3-day advanced overnight backpacking trip into E.C. Manning Provincial Park during the Perseid Meteor shower allows you to build your backpacking experience with one of our lead Backpacking guides. We have selected a hiking route that allows you to work on advanced backpacking skills, while also enjoying the amazing display of the Perseid Meteor shower each night!

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Aug 12-14, 2024 (Evening Zoom on Aug 1)
Includes an essential Zoom planning session at 7 pm on Thursday, August 1

  • Cost: $495 + GST
    Aug 12-14, 2024 with an Evening Zoom session on Aug 1

    If you have a group that wants to do this course together, Private Custom programs can easily be arranged as well on dates of your choice, please contact our office for more details by E-mail to

      Cost includes the following:
    • All guiding services with ACMG certified Hiking Guide
    • All BC Parks Campsite and Wilderness camping fees
    • Satellite communication device with daily check-in available for each participant

      Participants are responsible for the following:
    • All personal backpacking gear and clothing (see Backpacking Gear List)
    • All meals and snacks (breakfast, lunch and dinner) starting with lunch on day-1
    • Camping gear as needed (tents, stoves, cooksets, etc.)
    • Transportation to/from E.C. Manning Park trailhead
    • Any costs associated with early departure are the responsibility of the participant
    • Tips and gratuities are not included
    • Cancellation insurance is recommended to protect your trip investment

  • The Advanced Backpacking course will allow you to build on your previous knowledge and experience, developing your skills as a wilderness backpacker and trip leader! The emphasis is placed on making sure that everyone will be comfortable planning and leading their own multi-day, wilderness backpacking trip by the end of the course, while enjoying the annual Perseid's Meteor shower each night!

    This trip will be held in E.C. Manning Provincial Park, which is a dark sky sanctuary and has the least light pollution in SW BC, while still close to the lower mainland. The trip dates coincide with the annual Perseid Meteor Shower in August, known as the best of the year; at its peak it can produce 60 meteors per hour! This year there will be a 1st quarter moon that will set at midnight, providing optimal nighttime viewing.

    When not stargazing, the course is designed to help you build on the backpacking skills either learned in previous courses or from other personal backpacking and hiking experience. Students who have been out for a 1-night trip on our Intro to Backpacking or Wilderness Survival courses, will learn how to plan, prepare and safely enjoy longer 3-day/2-night trips into the backcountry. In addition, a portion of the course will occur away from established backcountry campgrounds where you will be using ‘Leave No Trace’ practices in remote wilderness areas.

    The trip is student led, giving everyone a chance to practice their leadership and navigation skills. The team will travel off-trail and traverse through mountainous terrain, allowing you to develop advanced hiking and backpacking skills while under the supervision of one of our lead ACMG Backpacking Guides.

    Underlying all of the many skills to learn is the main objective of having fun (because why else do we do this stuff?) Simply put, it’s 3 engaging days in the backcountry with similarly minded people - like a summer camp for adults!

      Key topics include:
    • wilderness trip preparation
    • off trail and advanced navigation techniques
    • map, compass & GPS use
    • camp-craft tips and techniques
    • route planning for on-trail and off-trail travel
    • hazard awareness for hikers and backpackers
    • equipment selection and proper clothing

    A pre-trip live Zoom evening seminar is held one week in advance of the field sessions, giving participants an opportunity to plan the trip with their Instructor and the rest of the Team; learn about the equipment needed; and, ask questions. For a positive learning experience, your three days in the field focus on skill development rather than distance travelled.

    The Advanced Wilderness Backpacking Course includes instruction on Mountain Navigation skills, after you register you will be enrolled in our Virtual Classroom "Online Backpacking Course" and "Online Navigation Course" in order to help prepare for the weekend course.

    Maps and compasses are supplied, but if you are interested in getting your own compass here is a link to our online tutorial "Compass Essentials". This tutorial will help you to choose a compass if you wish to bring your own.

    All skills during the overnight field session are covered in a hands-on, practical approach that will keep you busy and learning while still having fun! This advanced level course gives you the confidence to go further!

    • Zoom Session,Thursday evening: The group will meet for 1-2 hours to get to know each other, review logistics, discuss pre-trip planning details, and answer any questions.
    • Day-1: You will start the trip with meeting in E.C. Manning Park with the team and your Instructor. The specific location to be decided during the Zoom planning session. After a review of the trip plan, gear check, and conditions update, you will head out to the trail-head and start your adventure! Your specific camp location will be decided based on current conditions and group objectives, but plan on being near treeline with a great view of the night sky!
    • Day-2: After breakfast, your team starts the day travelling on easier trails before venturing off the main trail and into the true backcountry wilderness of this amazing region. You will camp this night above treeline near the ridge crests, soaking in the breathtaking views and of course, another night viewing the meteor showers.
    • Day-3: Your final day will be spent route finding your way back to the trail-head, wih sections of off-trail travel. This day will allow everyone an opportunity to "put it all together" as a team while travelling back to the trail-head.
  • You can view and download a PDF document of the Canada West Mountain School Backpacking gear list here - CWMS Backpacking Gear List

    In addition to the general guidance provided by this Backpacking Gear List, there will be a detailed package of pre-trip planning materials sent out to each participant in advance of the trip with comprehensive advice on how to plan and pack. Trip planning will take place by email, the live Zoom session, and phone calls in advance as well, providing ample time and opportunity to ensure everyone is properly prepared.

    The equipment required for the Overnight Backpacking course is listed below. This Gear List is the minimum required for a successful and enjoyable multi-day backpacking trip in Southwest British Columbia. Please keep in mind that depending on conditions and objectives, on your trip you may be at elevations of up to 2,100 meters above sea level; weather conditions may include below zero temperatures, rain, snow, and high winds as well as high summer temperatures; much or your travel will be in off-trail and rough terrain; and, consider the weight factor as you will need to carry all gear for multiple days.

    Maps and compasses are supplied, but if you are interested in getting your own compass here is a link to our online tutorial "Compass Essentials". This tutorial will help you to choose a compass if you wish to bring your own.

      Basic personal equipment

    • Backpack: An internal frame backpack with a capacity of 60-80 litres will allow you to carry all your gear
    • Boots: Sturdy backpacking boots, must provide good ankle support and fit well
    • Outerwear jacket: An outer layer waterproof/breathable shell with hood (Gore-tex, etc.). Non-insulated is best
    • Outerwear pants: waterproof/breathable shell, non-insulated. Full zips are ideal for venting and ease of on/off with boots on
    • Personal clothing layers: layering works best; avoid cotton. Below is a suggested guideline, personal preference will affect choices: • Baselayer for top
      • Baselayer for the bottom (may not be required if weather is warm and/or short trips)
      • mid-weight softshell synthetic climbing/hiking pants
      • lightweight sweater/mid-layer for top
      • Softshell jacket (fleece, windstopper, etc.)
      • Insulated jacket with hood, synthetic or down, depending on temperatures and weather conditions
      • Socks & underwear, numbers based on trip length
    • Gloves: medium to lightweight gloves. Depending on weather conditions a spare pair of light gloves may be recommended as well
    • Gaiters: ensure they fit over your boots
    • Toque/warm hat: wool or fleece
    • Hat with sun visor: baseball cap, etc.
    • Sunglasses: must have 100% UV blockage and ideally provide full protection
    • Headlamp: small size with extra batteries
    • Water bottle/hydration system: 1 litre minimum, 2 litres is ideal
    • Small thermos: optional, but nice to have
    • Lightweight camp shoes: optional, good on longer trips for around camp after a day in the boots; also useful for creek crossings
    • Knife: small folding style knife or multi-tool
    • Personal kit: (hand-sanitizer, toothbrush, toilet paper (+Ziplock bag), foot-care supplies, candles, etc.) Keep kit to a minimum and bring only essentials
    • Sunscreen: minimum 30 SPF
    • Insect repellant: pack in a plastic bag and keep separate from the rest of your gear
    • Note pad and pencil: optional
    • Hiking pole(s): optional, much of the travel is on rough terrain and off-trail so poles are helpful
    • Compass & map: put maps in waterproof bag. Consider a GPS app for your phone as well. Contact your Guide/CWMS Office for map #s in advance

      Camping Equipment:
    • Sleeping bag: Synthetic or Down, rated to at least –5 degrees Celsius
    • Sleeping pad: Therma-rest style inflatable, or closed cell foam (Ensolite style)
    • Tent: as necessary, suitable for 3 season or 4 season conditions
    • Gas stove: include fuel as needed, matches/lighter, basic stove-specific repair items, small platform or base for the stove if on snow
    • Cooking set: bring pot sizes that are appropriate to the meals
    • Food storage kit: storage sack (ideally animal resistant) + 15-20 meters lightweight rope for food hang (Instructor will also have rope)
    • Eating utensils: cup, bowl, spoon

      We will supply the following gear included in the course fee, participants must request it in advance if needed:
    • Map copies and compass
    • Animal resistant food storage bags

    Note that some items may not be required on your specific trip due to weather or seasonal conditions. Please discuss this list with your Instructor during the Zoom session, or with our office staff in advance, to make sure you are prepared for the field session. If you need to purchase or rent equipment, make sure to contact stores well in advance to ensure that what you require is available!