Expedition Backpacking Oregon - 7th to 8th Grade - Expedition Camp

Built for campers looking for a backcountry experience, our weeklong Expedition Backpacking Summer Camps are ideal for beginning backpackers and expedition enthusiasts alike. 

In a tight-knit group of up to 13 campers and 2 skilled, supportive instructors, expedition backpackers will spend up to six hours hiking and exploring the area’s spectacular terrain. Routes may include longer hike days and also “layover” days where campers get an opportunity to carry light day packs on excursions to nearby peaks or high alpine lakes. Throughout the week, they’ll make camp in picturesque places, pitching tents and cooking meals together on backcountry stoves. They’ll learn to adapt to a range of weather conditions and environments, use backpacking best practices, hone their interpersonal skills, and develop an increased appreciation for the natural world.

Away from the comforts of home, this camp fortifies campers with self-reliance, imparting the skills and confidence they need to fuel many future journeys—and even lead your family’s next outdoor adventure.

Difficulty Rating: 2 – Single Sport Specialty: For campers seeking more specialized activity days and excelling in technical skills in a single sport.

Wilderness Rating: 3 – Backcountry Wilderness Camping: Campers sleep in backpacking tents. No access to showers, toilets, or running water. All water will be filtered from water sources in the area for drinking, hand washing, and food preparation. Campers will learn Leave No Trace principles in how to properly dispose of their human waste through burying in the ground or carrying it out.


Camp Length One Week
Price $1,299
Total Camp Hours 125

Add-Ons Price
Airport Camp Shuttle $40 one-way
$80 round-trip
Backpack Rental $20



Entering 7th-8th


1-Week Session
Sunday Check-In: 10:00 AM
Friday Check-Out: 3:00 PM


Drop-Off/Pick-Up: Catlin Gabel School East Campus - 8245 SW Barnes Rd, Portland, OR 97225

Camp Location: Olympic National Park


Location Grades Dates
Expedition Backpacking 7th-8th #OREX073023-1WEX Oregon Expedition 7th - 8th 07/30/23 - 08/04/23 Register Now

The Week's Adventures

Gear Management

Backcountry Cooking

Expedition Skills


Campers will get familiar with the equipment they need for backpacking—from compact cooking, cleaning and sleeping gear to camping basics like bear protocols and water treatment systems—learning how to set it all up, break it all down and pack it efficiently. They’ll spend each day’s hike with group equipment, food, and personal gear on their backs, experiencing the empowerment that comes with carrying everything they need for the week on their own. Campers should expect to carry an additional 10 – 25 lbs of food or group gear in addition to their personal equipment weight.

Camping in the woods means cooking and eating in the woods, and campers learn everything that entails, from menu execution to food storage to lighting a camp stove. Backpackers will take turns cooking and cleaning up energy-packed meals for the group.

As they explore and adventure, campers will practice important interpersonal skills like communication, problem solving, and teamwork. They’ll gain experience leading as they guide the rest of their group on a hike, and may spend some time alone reflecting during a brief, structured “solo” experience (varies based on the trip). They will also gain valuable skills using a map and compass. Coupled with their other adventures, these experiences push their comfort zones, build their confidence and give them a sense of independence that lasts well beyond the camp week.

Throughout the week, campers will practice important interpersonal skills like communication, problem solving and teamwork. Through games during downtime, stories around the campfire and time alone reflecting, they’ll build confidence and comfort within the group and as an individual.

Sample Schedule

Every camper’s schedule is a little different. However, to get an idea of a typical day, here’s our rough schedule:

7 AM
Rise and shine!
7:15 AM
Morning Circle
7:30 AM
8 AM
Camp Pack Up
9 AM
On Trail Lunch
1 PM
5:45 PM
Set Up Camp
6 PM
7 PM
Evening Circle
8 PM
Tent Time / Bedtime

Expedition Pre-Camp Guide

Already registered? All the information you need about your expedition backpacking adventure – where to go, what to bring, camp photo links – is waiting for you in our Pre-Camp Guide.

View Now


While no outdoor adventure is totally risk-free, we work hard to keep your kids safe. Every activity starts with a discussion about the risks involved -- what they are, how to prevent them, how to respond if something goes wrong -- so kids learn how to approach challenges with intelligence and skill.