What is car camping vs. backpacking?

Car camping means you park your vehicle at an established campground, so you don’t need to worry too much about bringing extra comforts. Backpacking means you have to carry all of your gear wherever you go, so what you bring becomes the ultimate concern. For both types of trips, we will provide specific packing lists and guide your preparations.

What if I’ve never gone camping or backpacking?

Shoestring Adventures brings together people with all levels of experience. We empower you with the skills you need to become more confident planning your own adventures, including how to pack a backpack, prepare food, read a map, minimize your impact on the environment, and more.

How old/young do I need to be to go on a Shoestring Adventure?

Most of our participants are between 25 and 60, but we’ve had participants between the ages of 20 and 65 join our adventures. Our trips are appropriate for participants who are 18+.

How do I choose a trip that’s right for me?

We offer trips for every level. These guidelines will help you decide which trips are right for you:

Easy: This adventure is suitable for novice hikers.

  • Activity: 2-5 hours most days
  • Distances: Hike up to 6 miles most days
  • Trail Condition: flat or rolling terrain with some steep ascents/descents and uneven trails
  • Elevation change: up to 2,000 ft/day
  • Altitude: up to 6,000 ft
  • Backpack Weight: Day packs only

Moderate: This adventure may challenge those who are not accustomed to much physical activity.

  • Activity: 2-5 hours most days
  • Distances: Hike up to 8 miles most days
  • Trail Condition: flat or rolling terrain with some steep ascents/descents and uneven trails
  • Elevation change: up to 2,000 ft/day
  • Altitude: up to 6,000 ft
  • Backpack Weight: Day packs only

Moderately Strenuous: This adventure requires hikers to be physically fit.

  • Activity: 4-6 hours most days
  • Distances: Hike up to 10 miles most days
  • Trail Condition: rolling or mountainous terrain with some steep ascents/descents and uneven trails
  • Elevation change: up to 3,000 ft/day
  • Altitude: up to 10,000 ft
  • Backpack Weight: 30-40 pounds

Strenuous: This adventure will challenge the most experienced of hikers. Advanced training on long-distance hikes with a pack is required.

  • Activity: 5-8 hours most days
  • Distances: Hike up to 12 miles most days
  • Surfaces: mountainous, exposed terrain with steep ascents/descents and uneven trails
  • Elevation change: up to 4,000 ft/day
  • Altitude: up to 14,000 ft.
  • Backpack Weight: 30-40 pounds

What if I don’t know anyone going on the trip?

No problem! We offer a community for anyone who wants to experience the outdoors. If you don’t come with friends, you will definitely leave with some!

How do I prepare for the trip?

Before your trip, you will receive a Welcome Kit through email, which includes introductions to your fellow campers, a detailed packing list, itinerary, weather forecast and everything else you need to know to prepare for our trip. We are available to answers all questions and guide first-timers every step of the way.

What should I pack?

You are responsible for bringing your own camping gear. Check out our Car Camping Checklist and Backpacking Checklist for recommendations.

The following group items are provided by Shoestring Adventures:

  • group first aid kit
  • group cooking gear
  • stoves and fuel

If this is your first camping trip and/or you are traveling from out of town, we’ve got you covered! The following items can be provided at no additional cost if you don’t have your own:

  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • headlamp and spare batteries
  • tents (2 and 3-person tents will be shared with 1-2 other campers of the same gender)
  • trekking poles (highly recommended for balance and to help reduce strain on knees)

What is included in pricing?

  • Wilderness First Responder/CPR Certified Trip Leader
  • Gourmet camp meals
  • Campground reservations and/or wilderness permits
  • Group photographer to document the trip, so you can stay in the moment, plus edited images 3 weeks after your trip ends
  • Shoestring Adventures is an authorized outfitter service permit holder in state and national parks where we host our trips. A portion of your ticket goes toward protecting and preserving our parks for future generations.

What is not included in pricing?

  • Transportation is not included. We will help facilitate carpools for the group after you register.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for trip leader and photographer (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

What is the food like?

Our car camping trips feature fresh, delicious food. Our backpacking trips feature a combination of fresh and freeze-dried/dehydrated food. We also provide an assortment of snacks, like trail mix, energy bars and dried fruits for you to stay fueled throughout the day. All water used for cooking and drinking is purified by filter or it’s boiled. We can also accommodate special dietary needs (vegetarian, gluten-free, food allergies, etc.). Please refer to the specific trip itinerary for a list of which meals are included on your trip.

What is the cancellation policy?

By Participant

Should you decide to cancel your trip for any reason, Shoestring Adventures is able to offer refunds at the following rates:

  • 21+ days prior to trip departure date: 50% of trip cost refunded.
  • 14-20 days prior to trip departure date: 25% of trip cost refunded.
  • 0-13 days prior to trip departure: No refunds.

To protect your investment, we recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance.

By Shoestring Adventures

In addition to altering itineraries, Shoestring Adventures reserves the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or unforeseen circumstances (such as closures or unsafe conditions due to snowpack, landslides, etc.).

  • In the event Shoestring Adventures decides to cancel a trip, you will receive a full cash refund of your trip fee.
  • Shoestring Adventures is NOT responsible for any other expense incurred by participants, such as airfare or lodging, in the event of a trip cancellation.
  • Shoestring Adventures may cancel trips up to 5 days before a trip is scheduled to begin.

Shoestring Adventures does not offer refunds after a trip has already been completed.

Should I purchase trip cancellation insurance?

Sometimes life happens, and you need to cancel your trip or return home early. Shoestring Adventures cannot issue refunds in many cases. Travel insurance helps protect against last-minute cancellation, trip interruption and to cover medical treatment or emergency medical evacuation during your trip. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance in advance of your trip.

What are my expectations as a trip participant?

  • Leave no trace
  • Be inclusive, respectful and welcoming to all
  • No tolerance for illegal drugs or firearms of any kind
  • No incendiary smoking devices

How do you manage health and safety in wilderness settings?

We regularly travel to remote destinations with delayed access to emergency medical care. All Shoestring Adventures trip leaders hold current Wilderness First Responder/CPR and Food Handling certifications.

In remote destinations, we carry a DeLorme inReach Explorer Satellite Messenger to contact authorities and Shoestring Adventures HQ in case of emergency. Before registering, please read the conditions of Shoestring Adventures’ release.

Shoestring Adventures has invested time and resources in risk management practices because the health and well being of our participants is one of our highest priorities. Contact info@shoestringadventures.com with any questions about participant health or risk management on our trips.

Where can I contact the organizer with my questions?

We’re here to help! If you do not find the answer you are looking for or have more questions, please contact: info@shoestringadventures.com