Posted by: James Wapotich | March 14, 2015

Backpacking Made Easy

Backpacking made easy workshop Santa Barbara trails hiking Los Padres National Forest


Backpacking made easy workshop hiking trails Santa Barbara Los Padres National Forest


Backpacking Made Easy
April 11 – 25

Santa Barbara and Ojai are home to a variety of incredible backpacking destinations, and yet, often the biggest obstacle is simply having the knowledge and skills to get started.

Through this 3-week immersive class, you will learn the basic skills needed to comfortably explore and enjoy our local trails.

Hot springs, waterfalls, epic views, and unspoiled wilderness are just some of the rewards for those who are willing to make the journey.

Each class takes place on one of our local trails, and provides the skills and awareness to become a more relaxed and confident hiker.

Lay of the Land
April 11th 9AM-2PM

Learn how to orient yourself to the local landscape, and begin learning the skills that will help you remove the word lost from your vocabulary. Become familiar with maps and creating your own mental maps. Learn about the different gear options and how to choose equipment that suits you.

Nature Connection
April 18th 9AM-2PM

Venturing out onto the land is even more enjoyable when we take time to develop a meaningful connection with it.

Learn to see the natural world around you as an ally, rather than an obstacle to overcome, and shift your hikes from feeling like endurance contests to journeys of discovery. Practical skills include trail navigation, menu planning, personal care and basic first aid skills.

April 25th 9AM-2PM

Many of our local trails are overgrown, particularly those off the beaten path. Learn how to read the trails, practice route-finding, and develop your own sense of “body radar” to help you navigate in the wilderness. Practical skills include trip planning, campsite evaluation, water assessment, and  camp set up.

Optional free
Overnight Backpacking Trip
May 2 – 3

For those who are interested, we will help organize a free, optional backpacking trip. Here’s a chance to put all these great skills to use, and build on the material covered so far.

Length of the hike and destination for the overnight trip to be determined according to current conditions and the capabilities of the participants.


James Wapotich is a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with the Forest Service and the author of the Santa Barbara News-Press hiking column, Trail Quest. James leads guided hikes and has hiked many of the trails in our local backcountry.

Sierra Butler is a UC Certified California Naturalist, council facilitator, and nature connection guide. An alumna of Pacific Crest Outward Bound School, Sierra has backpacked in the Appalachians, Sierras, and our local backcountry.

3-week course is $160 per person, or bring a friend and both 20% off.
Limit 12 students

To sign up or for more information please contact:

James (805) 729-4250
Sierra (805) 708-4058


  1. Hello James, This sounds very interesting. Do you know the locations of the first 3 mtgs at this time? Rgds, RonW~ Date: Sat, 14 Mar 2015 16:50:03 +0000 To:

    • Yes, each of the trails I have in mind for the first 3 Saturdays are all within 30 minutes of Santa Barbara along Paradise Road and East Camino Cielo, and range from 2-4 miles in length.

  2. I am very interested in this workshop and I have a friend who is as well.

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