A long term trek might be up to 50 miles, and many reach alti­tudes of over 10,000 feet. These “high adven­ture trails” are not for just any­one. They require train­ing for both lead­ers and scouts.

A lot of hard work, trekking for 4–6 days, and endur­ing to the end are reward­ed by the grandeur of the nat­ur­al beau­ty, being in and part of the wilder­ness.

Most of the train­ing from this arti­cle comes from Hik­ing Aid 15 pre­pared by the Greater Los Ange­les Coun­cil. I thank them.


 All those on a long-term back­pack trip must be phys­i­cal­ly fit. If it is a strug­gle to com­plete a hike and/or spend two days overnight camp­ing, per­haps the high adven­ture trails are not for you. Those who choose this kind of trek, both lead­ers and scouts, should start a phys­i­cal train­ing pro­gram at least two months before depar­ture.


 It’s sug­gest­ed to start plan­ning as soon as cur­rent sum­mer pro­grams are over. Prop­er prepa­ra­tion is absolute­ly nec­es­sary to get the most enjoy­ment out of the hike.


You should only back­pack with what’s ade­quate and suf­fi­cient for the actions and con­di­tions of your trek. The desire to keep your pack light should not stop you from tak­ing some­thing which offers aid from the unex­pect­ed.

Light­weight tents to keep dry are price­less. Alter­na­tive­ly, you can use light­weight tarps and ground cloths.  Try them out before­hand. The weight of the equip­ment plus cloth­ing and food is ulti­mate­ly lim­it­ed by the car­ry­ing abil­i­ties of the par­tic­i­pants. Cut cor­ners where you can.

All equip­ment should be in good con­di­tion, and every par­tic­i­pant must be trained in the equip­ment being tak­en: stoves, water fil­ters, cram­pons, ice axes, climb­ing gear, etc. The safe­ty of every­one might depend on it.

A last sug­ges­tion regard­ing equip­ment was sur­pris­ing to me. Replace the down sleep­ing bag with one of the new­er syn­thet­ic bags. I had not thought about how heavy a wet down bag can be, and it takes for­ev­er to dry. Down vests might be okay but only if you have appro­pri­ate rain gear.


Obvi­ous­ly, you need to take a cou­ple of pairs of under­wear and sev­er­al changes of socks. Avoid cot­ton cloth­ing. Cot­ton takes for­ev­er to dry when washed. Bring syn­thet­ic fiber cloth­ing, a quick dry­ing rem­e­dy.

Cloth­ing should match con­di­tions. Ade­quate rain gear and a wide brim hat for rain and sun pro­tec­tion for sun­ny days are both musts. 


For a long-term trek, think fit, fit, fit when it comes to boots. When you buy boots, try then on with the socks you will be wear­ing. As you grow, wait to buy until close to trek time. A pound of footwear can feel like three pounds of extra weight to car­ry. A com­bo of syn­thet­ic and leather is rec­om­mend­ed.

I hope you con­sid­er going on high adven­ture hikes. Many have patch­es for com­ple­tion. 

I will dis­cuss food/water sources and purifi­ca­tion in a future arti­cle.

Joyce Olesen
is a grandmother, mother, and daughter of Scouters. She love kids, camping, country music and sport cars. Her Dad was a Scout leader in Chicago in the early 1920’s and having only daughters did not bolster his Scouting hopes. As his "Scout" she was tying regulation knots by the time she was 7.

One comment

  1. Tyler North
    Tyler North ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Anoth­er cool trick I used to always do right before a big hike is to eat a big pas­ta din­ner the night before. For per­form­ing well on the hike, you want to eat a gluten-heavy din­ner at night, like pas­ta (unless you can’t eat gluten). The carbs when bro­ken down turn into nat­ur­al ener­gy stores that your body can use the next day, and I can tell you I’ve felt the dif­fer­ence.

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