Backpacking Trip Planning for Groups

Planning a successful group backpacking trip includes considering the experience levels and preferences of each participant, as well as clearly communicating plans.

backpacking trip planning for groups

Experience levels should influence trip type

When planning a group trip, consider the experience level of the participants. Trips for beginners may need to be based on an easier style than a trip planned for experienced backpackers. Find out whether the group prefers to hike long days covering many miles, or whether they prefer to spend more time at camp relaxing… or a mix of both. Ask about previous backpacking experience, first aid training, or other expertise. And discuss the type of gear needed for a trip and whether or not anyone prefers to share gear with others to help lighten their loads.

Group size considerations

To determine the optimal group size, consider area regulations and campsite availability. Most wilderness areas limit group size for hiking and camping to 12 people. However, it would be very difficult to find campsites suitable for such a large group. Backcountry campsites vary greatly in size, with most being optimal for only a couple of tents. While it is possible to find sites suitable for groups of 6-8 backpackers, it’s not as common and could present a challenge. My preference is to go on trips with no more than 3-4 people so that it’s easier to find campsites and keep track of one another on trail.

planning backpacking trips for groups

Communicate the plan

Clear communication is key for success on group trips. Share the trip itinerary with everyone and hold pre-trip meetings to go over logistics and discuss trip expectations. Group trip plans should also include carpooling logistics and a list of any necessary fees. When everyone has an understanding of what a trip will encompass, misunderstandings are less likely to happen.


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