2 comments on “Lightweight Backpacking at NOLS

  1. “In my opinion, the greatest value of NOLS is as a leadership school first, and an outdoor skills school second, so the specific type of skills you go to NOLS to learn are probably less important than the length of course you take, although I know most students probably don’t sign up for courses thinking that.”

    Found this post while researching NOLS courses. I am torn between the 23+ courses and the classic courses, also whether an 8 day 23+ course will give the experience I am looking for. I would be interested if you could elaborate a little on this point?

    • Oh man, I could go on for hours about that. The short version is that it seems to me an 8-day course would be just enough to get you a solid base skill set in the outdoors, but not much more. The 14-day course went a little beyond, and gave us some more opportunities to engage the students in more depth, but there’s something about the longer courses that really puts you in a different mindset by the end. The leadership curriculum is especially hard to teach well in shorter courses, since part of it involves the group being stuck together for a long period of time with no major contact with anyone else– there’s a lot of practice with how to make a group work well together despite the inclination for conflicts to arise from that situation. And, of course, more time in the backcountry does allow for more practice and learning of the “hard skills”, too.

      Since I don’t know exactly which experience you’re looking for, give me a shout at guthookhikes at gmail and I’d be happy to continue the conversation through email.

Comments are closed.