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Ignite Outdoors Wilderness Backpacking

Dates:

June 7-10, 2019

June 14-17, 2019

June 21-24, 2019

June 28-July 1, 2019

July 12-15, 2019

July 19-22, 2019

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FAQ About Backpacking Trips

We want everyone to get out and experience the outdoors regardless of whether you grew up playing outside or have never been hiking or sleeping in a tent.  “Wilderness” events, like our backpacking and canoeing trips, provide an opportunity for you to experience what’s often called “primitive” or “backcountry” camping. This means you (as a group) find your own campsites in the woods, carry and disinfect your own water, and really get into the spirit of roughing it in the wilderness!  On the backpacking and canoeing trips, you carry everything you need for 3 nights on your back or in the canoe, travel deep into the wilderness, and set up camp in new and exciting locations every night!

We are happy to teach you! It is more common than not for participants to have little to no experience backpacking.  We camp for 3 nights which is enough time to get used to it and to find all the reasons to love it. We also provide high-quality name brand backpacking equipment (the pack, sleeping bags, and pad, rain jackets/pants, etc.) so you don’t have to worry about the gear.

We will hike 4-7 miles. Over 15+ years we have found this to be the ideal distance for those new to backpacking; you’ll feel tired but this is a totally doable distance. If you already backpack, we often do hikes from camp once we reach it so if 4-7 miles seems too little; there is the option to do more.

Our hiking speed is called the conversational pace. You and your new friends can easily chat as you hike. Hiking too fast means we won’t be able to talk. We generally hike together but with 3 trip leaders, we can sometimes break into smaller groups if we want or need to. You won’t be rushed or hold anyone back.


Definitely!  We want to check over your gear just to make sure it’s appropriate for this trip and if it is, then you can use it. However, you need to use our tents as there is a space limit (park regulations) on the number of tents.  If you have your own backpack, please make sure it is a 70L – 85L backpack and in working condition.
Email us at utop@utk.edu if you are unsure.

If you have hiking boots or shoes made for hiking, definitely use those.  If not, no need to go buy something. Most athletic shoes have enough support and cushion. Shoes for casual wear usually do not have enough support or cushioning. It’s recommended to also bring a pair of comfortable open toed shoes with a heel strap, (ex: Teva sandals, Chacos, Crocs, etc.).  We call these “camp shoes.” We’ve found that many participants enjoy wearing camp shoes around camp at the end of a hard day, and are useful when the trail crosses over a stream (which will happen pretty frequently). And yes, you must wear shoes/boots – no bare feet. Why no bare feet? Most likely your feet are tough but if you hurt your feet, it impacts everyone else.
Email us at utop@utk.edu if you are unsure.

Most likely yes! The trip is kind of like life, most days life is good but some days, not so much. You might be rained on or become dirty, but when the 4 days end, you’ll be super glad to have been backpacking and looking forward to the fall. After 15 years of offering overnight trips, we have yet to have someone who didn’t enjoy the experience!experience.

We bring plenty of tasty food for everyone. We can easily accommodate most food restrictions and will ensure you do not go hungry. Nowadays food restrictions are common so our menu can account for most things. If you have a particular diet, just email us at utop@utk.edu and we can figure it out.

Some are surprised that there are no toilets or showers. We’ll teach you how to stay clean enough without showers and how to poop in the woods (it’s fun…amazing views!).

In the Big South Fork of the Wilderness National River and Recreation Area! Just 1.5 hours north of campus. But please note the location may change due for a variety of reasons.