NOLS Blog

Browse by Category

11 Essentials to Complete Your Backcountry Kitchen

By Sam Cook on 7/21/16 10:48 AM

Having a complete cooking for camping set does not come easy. Outdoor gear can be expensive, and usually has to be bought in small doses. You might have a stove, but no spice kit. You may have a knife, but no fry-bake.

It’s a smart idea to figure out which friends have which items so you can divide and conquer, but if you are on a mission to have your own complete cook set, here are the essentials you will need.

Read More

Topics: Expedition Prep, cooking, adventure, expedition, backcountry

The Backpacker’s Guide to Happy Feet

By Kim Freitas on 7/14/16 12:01 PM

If you like to adventure outdoors, you’ll know during backpacking trips that your feet are your primary mode of transportation. Spending extra effort to keep your feet happy and dry is well worth your time and attention. After all, your feet are essentially your “wheels” in the backcountry!

Read More

Topics: Expedition Prep, climbing, Backpacking, adventure, education, backcountry

7 Simple Items to Upgrade Your Backcountry Setup

By Sam Cook on 7/11/16 12:29 PM

Just because you’re in the backcountry doesn’t mean you need to stop being fabulous. You may think that your wardrobe is going to consist of khaki, black, and gray, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Read More

Topics: gear, Expedition Prep, Backpacking, adventure, expedition

10 Junk Foods to Indulge in after Your Expedition

By Sam Cook on 7/1/16 9:22 AM

Everyone has their food cravings, and being far out in the backcountry just makes them worse. We desire things like Starbucks frappuccinos, funnel cake, and fried chicken when we are miles away from them. We have hourlong conversations on the trail about what foods we love and hate, what our favorite home-cooked meal is, and where we splurge back home.

But this list isn’t about the foods you can’t get. It’s about what to do when you're done with your expedition.

Read More

Topics: Expedition Prep, cooking, adventure

10 Ways to Celebrate While in the Backcountry

By Sarah Buer on 6/30/16 12:44 PM

Just because you're camping doesn't mean that you can't celebrate any occasion with a little creative and a healthy dollop of fun!

Read More

Topics: Expedition Prep, adventure, backcountry

7 Musical Instruments to Take Backpacking

By Jacob Taswell on 6/27/16 9:55 AM

Of all the frontcountry comforts, music is one of the things I miss the most when I go into the wilderness. I can’t bring a piano out there, and even a guitar is pretty cumbersome.

Luckily, I don’t have to leave music behind altogether. 

Read More

Topics: Alumni, Expedition Prep, Backpacking, adventure

How to Keep an Epic Expedition Journal

By Katherine Boehrer on 4/27/16 9:15 AM

Journaling can be a great way to remember your trip into the wilderness and reflect after a long day outside. Not to mention that writing daily has numerous benefits that are great for any expedition, from improving your communication skills and emotional intelligence to helping you achieve your goals. But keeping a trip journal can be difficult!

Read More

Topics: Expedition Prep, adventure, expedition, education, backcountry

The Ethics of Cheap: Why You Don't Need the Newest Gear

By Allie Maloney on 4/22/16 2:26 PM

If you’re new to backpacking and are getting ready for your first trip, to find the right gear you have a couple of options.

Read More

Topics: gear, Expedition Prep, adventure, instructor, backcountry

How to Make Your Own Instant Backpacking Meals

By Katherine Boehrer on 4/20/16 10:27 AM

Sometimes we love the convenience of those pre-made, just-add-water backpacking meals. At the end of a long day outside, it can be great to skip the dishes and still enjoy a tasty and filling dinner. Not to mention that just-add-water meals are often lighter-weight than traditional bulk rations, and require less fuel for cooking since you only need to boil water.

Read More

Topics: Alumni, Expedition Prep, recipe, cooking, adventure, expedition, backcountry

7 Tips for Dealing with Smelly Gear

By Sarah Zimmerman on 4/8/16 1:16 PM

So you love to work hard and play hard? Is your best day when you go the extra mile and sweat it out, no matter the weather? We do too, so we know that you have smelly shoes, gear, and clothing—just like us.

Read More

Topics: gear, Expedition Prep, Outdoors, expedition

5 Steps to Plan a Camping Menu

By Molly Herber on 3/22/16 12:40 PM

We’re getting into expedition planning season, and one of the critical elements of a great camping trip is good food.

Read More

Topics: Expedition Prep, recipe, cooking, expedition

5 Strategies to Survive Mud Season

By Kim Freitas on 3/17/16 10:24 AM

As the snow begins to melt from the mountains, there is another season approaching as we transition into spring: mud season.

Read More

Topics: Expedition Prep, LNT, leave no trace, education, wilderness, backcountry

9 Tips to Help You Deal with Homesickness

By Molly Herber on 3/9/16 11:58 AM

No matter how excited you are about heading out on a trip, it’s likely that you’ll feel homesick at least some of the time you're away. Being away from family and friends can be tough. Luckily, there are a few things you can do before and while you’re on your trip to manage homesickness when it strikes.

Read More

Topics: Semester, Expedition Prep, adventure, backcountry

How to Plan for Your Gap Year

By Molly Herber on 2/26/16 2:45 PM

Taking a gap year is a big decision, and figuring out how to do it can be overwhelming.

If you’re struggling to make a plan for your gap year, take a look at these guidelines to get ideas for how to plan (financially, academically, and personally), a successful gap year.

Read More

Topics: Semester, Expedition Prep, adventure, Gap Year, education, backcountry, leadership

What to Know Before You Go: Common Pre-Course Questions

By Molly Herber on 2/22/16 1:24 PM

Before you go, a NOLS course can seem like a mystery. Below, you’ll find the answers to some of the common questions we get about our courses—we hope they help you out!

Read More

Topics: Expedition Prep, cooking, Backpacking, adventure, education, backcountry, leadership