Back to Top

Carter Caves State Park, Kentucky

Backpacking Workshop and Overnight Trip


Backpacking Workshop and Overnight Trip
March 23 - 24, 2024
Carter Caves State Resort Park, Kentucky
Meets at 10:00 am.
Includes Saturday dinner
Limit 20 participants

Registration Fee: $130.00/person. Paid online.

WORKSHOP FULL. Join the waiting list.

Want to be added the waiting list?

Send us an email with your first name, last name, phone number and trip name to and we will add you to the waiting list. We can and do cancellations.

Ready to learn about backpacking? This is a perfect opportunity!

Description: This is a one night, backpacking trip for first time backpackers and beginning backpackers. It includes seven workshops on backpacking essentials that every backpacker should know. This trip is designed for those with little or no backpacking experience who have always wanted to try backpacking under the guidance of highly experienced backpackers. Experienced backpackers are welcome too! Share your tips and hints!

About Carter Caves: The beautiful setting of Carter Caves State Resort Park is the ideal setting for this backpacking adventure. Nestled in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, Carter Caves is 2,000 acres of wooded hills rich in plants, animals and geologic formations both above and below ground. Carter Caves is home to over 30 miles of hiking trails and over a dozen caves. We have special permission from Carter Caves State Resort Park management to conduct this workshop and this is the only backpacking workshop held at Caves State Resort Park. Park Web Site

The Plan: On Saturday we will hike 4-5 miles at a slow to moderate pace over varied terrain which includes some steep hills and rugged trail to our campsite where we will spend the night. On Sunday morning we will hike ~2 miles back to our cars arriving before noon.

During this backpacking trip we will conduct seven short workshops and cover these topics:

  • Proper Backpack Fitting and Trekking Pole Adjustment
  • Bear Bagging - Hanging Your Food In A Tree
  • Backcountry Sanitation & Hygiene In The Woods
  • Fire Building
  • Backpacking Stoves & Cooking
  • Leave No Trace Principles
  • Packing Your Backpack & Gear Organization

What Is Included? Your registration fee includes professional guides, all workshops, course instruction, camping, parking, permit fees, Saturday dinner and dessert around the campfire. Dinner will consist of sampling various backpacking food entrees. This is a great chance to check out different backpacking food choices and decide which you like best!

Not included: Gear, meals, (except for Saturday dinner), snacks, transportation and optional guide gratuity.

Required Equipment:

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag & Pad
  • Headlamp or Flashlight
  • Sitting Pad. Foam or Inflatable
  • Warm Clothes (warm hat, gloves & long underwear)
  • Rain Gear
  • Food: Saturday Lunch, Sunday Breakfast.
  • Personal medications: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Antacids, Pepto-Bismol, Prescriptions (as needed).
A pair of trekking poles, hiking stick or staff is highly recommended!

Don't Have Backpacking Gear? Rent Gear From These Places!

Five Rivers MetroParks - Dayton, Ohio

Five Rivers MetroParks now provides backpacking equipment for community use via weekend rentals. These equipment sets are a great way to try something new before purchasing equipment, access high quality equipment for a fraction of the cost, and eliminate obstacles for planning your next outdoor activity. Contact Angie Sheldon at 937-275-7275 with any questions.

FRMP Rental Gear Page

Wright State University - Fairborn, Ohio

The Wright State University Outdoor Resource Center offers outdoor equipment rental available to the public. Items available to rent include: Backpacks, Tents, Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Pads, Backpacking Stoves, Kayaks, Tarps, Helmets. Ask for the Outdoor Adventure Connection discount and get student rental rates which is 33% off the public rates.

WSU ORC Rental Gear Page

Wright Patterson Air Force Base - Fairborn, Ohio

WPAFB Outdoor Recreation offers a wide range of rental equipment which include camping equipment and more. See the Outdoor Recreation Price List for a full listing of rental items. A military id required to enter the base and to rent gear.

WPAFB Rental Gear Page

Roads Rivers Trails - Milford, Ohio

Not ready to go head-first into your equipment purchases? Do you have your first backpacking or paddling trip coming up? Want to test out certain brands and equipment before investing? Roads Rivers and Trails now offers gear rentals on backpacks, stoves, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, water filters, kid carriers, paddles, life jackets, trekking poles, headlamps, tents, cargo boxes, dry bags and more!

RRT Rental Gear Page

Ohio State University - Columbus, Ohio

Don't have the right gear for your camping trip? No problem! Outdoor gear is available to rent and pick up at the OAC. Rental equipment is available to Ohio State Rec Sports members only. A valid BuckID or Rec Sports membership card is required.

OSU OAC Rental Gear Page

Know of a place that rents gear? Let us know and we will list it here.

Your Guides:

Andy "Captain Blue" Niekamp. Andy Niekamp is the Chief Adventure Officer for Outdoor Adventure Connection, which specializes in backcountry adventures. Andy has backpacked over 20,000 miles including five end to end hikes of the Appalachian Trail and thru hikes of the Buckeye Trail, Ohio To Erie Trail, Florida Trail, Arizona Trail, Camino de Santiago, Sheltowee Trace, Long Trail, Ozark Highlands Trail, Colorado Trail, Superior Hiking Trail, John Muir Trail and the Bartram Trail. Andy is founder and leader of the Dayton Hikers group, the largest outdoor recreation group in Dayton, Ohio, and a Leave No Trace Master Educator. Andy Niekamp grew up and lives in Dayton and has a passion for long distance hiking which he shares with others. Andy brings his wealth of backpacking experience and his passion for hiking to this program. He has two rules for his backpacking trips. Number 1: Be safe. Number 2: Have fun!

Karen "Tag Along" Power. Karen began backpacking in 2014 after completing Outdoor Adventure Connection's backpacking workshop and overnight trip. Since then, Karen has become a backpacking enthusiast. She has completed 5 long-distance trails: Ohio's 1444-mile Buckeye Trail, the 1100-mile Florida National Scenic Trail, the 340-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail, the 350-mile Pinhoti, and 480 miles of the Camino de Santiago. Karen has hiked 800 miles on the Appalachian Trail and has backpacked the Grand Canyon, the Foothills Trail, the Twin Valley Trail, Red River Gorge, Big South Fork, Cumberland Gap, the Shawnee Backpack Trail and the Zaleski Backpack Trail. She loves the "living in the moment" feeling of backpacking and being outdoors. Karen is a retired college professor, mother of three sons, grandmother to four and has volunteered abroad in China,Costa Rica, and Italy in a variety of capacities. She is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist and is trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR/AED. She is also a professional writing coach. Read about Karen's Florida Trail adventure.

Glenn Roberts. Glenn has been backpacking for nearly 40 years, and still hasn't figured out whether he has 40 years of experience, or 1 year of experience 40 times. He is strictly a recreational backpacker; all his walking has been in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, with the occasional trip to the Appalachian Trail in Virginia and to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. Now in his mid-70’s, his “mountain days” are behind him; he backpacks less aggressively – mostly overnights or weekends along the Twin Valley Trail near Dayton, Ohio, or state parks. This lets him provide insight and perspective for older hikers, whether they are just taking up backpacking or looking for ways to continue at a less aggressive pace. In his younger years, Glenn led backpack trips for Scouts and troubled teens. Glenn is a gearhead, so don’t be afraid to ask him about gear and equipment – it’s a topic on which he can be boring for hours. (If you want a hiking companion to show you around the Twin Valley Trail or have gear questions, you can email him: Glenn is the author of two popular articles: How I Got This Way and Where Can I Backpack?.

Teri "Thong" Hupp. Teri started backpacking in 2017 with Outdoor Adventure Connection's one-night backpacking workshop and overnight trip at Carter Caves State Park and the Appalachian Trail backpacking workshop in the Roan Highlands of Tennessee and North Carolina. Every year since, she has completed a few backpacking trips. Her favorite backpack trip was hiking the length of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. In addition to backpacking several sections of the Appalachian Trail, Teri has completed sections of the Sheltowee Trace in Tennessee, the Pinhoti Trail in Georgia, the Arizona Trail in Saguaro National Park, and the Zaleski Backpack Trail in Ohio. She's summitted Mount Rainer in Washington. Teri is married and has two grown daughters. She works in the supply chain business.

Sarah Mayher. Sarah loves camping, hiking, kayaking, and backpacking. A few of her favorite adventures include backpacking the Grand Canyon and Laurel Highlands Trail in Pennsylvannia, hiking the Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire and Appalachian Trail Triple Crown in Virginia, and summiting Mount Elbert in Colorado and Katahdin in Maine. She is a world traveler and has travled to places such as Patagonia, China, and Greece. Sarah stays fit by taking Orangetheory classes, lifting weights, and practicing yoga. She completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification program and is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. She comes from a family of hikers and is known for planning "vacations" that require her friends and family to wake up well before dawn to hike 15 or more miles. Sarah's heart is somewhere adventuring even when she is behind the desk at her regular 9-5 job. She inspires others to embrace challenges and Type-2 fun. (Type-2 Fun: fun in retrospect, but not while it's happening.)

Here Is What They Say About Our Level 1 Workshops:

Great way to dip one's toe into the water of backpacking without having to make a full commitment.Emily O.

I enjoyed the entire trip. he entire group had a terrific attitude about all the unexpected challenges we faced because of the weather. I think it was fantastic that the guides were able to be flexible, and had extra supplies to help us contend with the weather.Krisy C.

Thanks for a great weekend! Cathy and I had a wonderful time and it was a good learning experience. We certainly enjoyed your enthusiasm and passion for hiking.Steve M.

I went on the trip to the Appalachian Trail. Awesome time as usual with Lucy and Yvonne!Joy W.

I enjoyed hearing from the guides about their experiences on the trails. Great group of people. Sharon H.

The guides did everything possible to make it an enjoyable and worthwhile workshop. They took special care to ensure everyone had a good experience.John L.

I was glad to finally see how much a 23 lb pack feels when hiking. It wasn't bad at all. The guides are very knowledgeable and enjoy sharing their experiences with others. Their personal touch with everything from breakfast to best practices was awesome!Jill B.

I loved everything. I came home and weighed everything in my pack. Teresa A.

We had an absolutely perfect weekend. The hiking pace was nice, the workshops were informative, and evening at the campfire trying out various types of freeze dried food and stoves was a blast. Thank you for a wonderful time.Sophia Z.

Thank you to the guides for the wealth of knowledge you provided. I definitely learned a lot and can't wait to apply this knowledge in the future.Jackie C.

Operated on Kentucky State Park lands in Carter Caves State Resort Park with special permission.


Cancellation & Refund Policy: Your registration fee includes a non-refundable deposit of 20% of the amount received. Your registration fee, minus the 20% non-refundable deposit, minus any online payment transaction fees, is refundable if you cancel 28 days in advance. Your entire registration fee is refundable if this event is canceled or rescheduled except online payment transaction fees which are not refundable under any circumstances.

Participants must complete an Application / Medical Form and sign a liability waiver.

Minimum age is 18. No pets are permitted. All of our events are non-smoking.

The pace of the activities planned was spot on. Enough time to enjoy each of them and enough down time in between to get ready for the next. I cant think of anything that could have been better.Ann Y.