Get Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Learn about common questions we receive from guests and find the best answers or sources of information.
We invite you to read below to find answers to more obscure questions, or questions that may be difficult to find answers elsewhere on our website. Everything from travel and logistics questions to training and more are covered here. We have organized the questions by multiple subcategories. As always, you can call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to talk to an Adventure Consultant 7 days a week.
How Far in Advance Should I Register For a Trip?
You can never register too early, but the ideal booking window is usually the 3-5 month time frame. Some areas, like Grand Canyon and Yosemite, have very unique permitting systems so registering early has significant benefits. Other areas, like Yellowstone, have lodging with 45 day cancellation windows, so it’s important to register before that cutoff.
Bottom line, if you know you want to do a trip go ahead and register as soon as you know!
What is Your Cancellation and Refund Policy?
Please refer to our terms and conditions page, which details our cancellation and refund policy and other booking terms.
Does Wildland Provide Travel Insurance?
No, we do not provide travel insurance, but we do work with an excellent broker who can help you find the policy to fit your needs. Please click here to learn more.
What If I Get Injured or Sick Right Before the Trip?
It is always a very unfortunate situation when someone gets injured or becomes sick right before a trip. We do not offer refunds or trip credits for last minute cancellations and always strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect your travel investment, not just with us but also with the airlines, hotels…etc. Also, be sure to understand what your travel insurance policy covers, because some policies do not include “cancel for any reason” coverage.
What Happens if a Park or Trail is Closed Due to Natural Disaster or Government Shutdown?
In extreme situations that are out of our and your control, we offer 100% trip credits so you can reschedule your trip at a future date. These situations can include government shutdowns, forest fires, floods, earthquakes, public health emergencies and more.
I've Never Hiked or Backpacked Before - Is that a Problem?
No, prior experience backpacking or hiking is not required or expected to join any of our trips. What is important is that your physical fitness matches the difficulty of the trip you choose. We recommend looking closely at the difficulty rating system and matching that with the level of trip you’d like to tackle.
Can I Contact a Previous Guest for Their Experience On This Trip?
We’re very sorry, but we do not connect prior guests with prospective guests. We can connect you with Wildland guides, program managers, screeners and others who can give you a very good idea of what the trip entails. Also, looking through online reviews for comments about the trip in question can be a good source of information.
I'm a Solo Traveler and Don't Want to Slow Others Down - Advice?
This can be a common concern of solo travelers. We will do our best to help you find a trip with guests that have similar ages and fitness levels, but ultimately there are no guarantees. The best strategy here is to register 3-4 months early and train seriously for the trip so you’re prepared. A final note is that part of joining a group tour is understanding there may be discrepancies in hiking pace of fitness and respecting the other people in the group
Do you Accommodate Single Travelers?
Absolutely! Most Wildland trips that aren’t private have multiple solo travelers. On all camping-based tours (backpacking trips, basecamp tours, llama treks, portered treks…etc.), solo travelers are offered single tents for no additional charge. On most inn-based tours, a single supplement is required.
Can My Kids Join a Trip?
Absolutely! We love having kids on Wildland trips. Kids 12 and older can join scheduled trips with mixed groups. Kids 11 and younger must join private trips.
Can I be Added to a Waitlist If My Trip Is Unavailable?
Yes, we do keep waitlists for trips that have filled up and continue to have interest. We will take your information and if someone on the trip cancels, we will contact you immediately to offer you the available spot(s).
I Have a Disability. Can I Join a Tour?
We have Essential Eligibility Requirements to join any Wildland trip. Click here to read those requirements.
Do You Offer a Military Discount?
Yes, we offer USA military veterans a 10% discount of all Wildland trips. Thank you for your service!
Can I Book My Spouse/Friend/Child as a Surprise for Him/Her?
Yes, we can accommodate this request. You will book your companion under your email address and complete their registration information for them.
Can I Book 3 or 4 People in one Room on an Inn-based Tour?
Yes, absolutely. On some trips, putting more than two guests in a room will discount the price of the tour.
Can You Tell Me About the Other Hikers on a Trip I'm On or Interested In?
The short answer is “no.” We are not permitted by law to give out any guest information. We can tell you how many people are on a given trip.
If you’re concerned about hiking pace disparities or differences with the other guests, we strongly recommend booking a private trip.
Do I Need to Bring Everything on the Packing List?
Our packing lists are geared toward helping guests be prepared for all potential weather and environmental situations. It’s a very real possibility that you may not end up needing everything on the list, but it’s better to have it and not need it than vice versa.
Your guide will contact you before your trip to answer your questions, and that’s a great opportunity to get clarity on what you’ll need based on current weather forecasts and seasonal considerations.
Might I Need More than What's on the Packing List?
If you follow our packing lists closely you will be prepared for all potential weather and environmental situations. If you feel strongly about bringing something that is not on the list, we recommend checking with your guide either during the pre-trip contact or at the pre-trip orientation meeting (if your trip includes one.)
Can I Bring My CPAP Machine Or Special Medication?
We always do our very best to accommodate special requests when it comes to medical equipment or medications. Please email us or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to see if your specific needs are possible on the trip you’re interested in.
How Fit Do I Need to Be?
All of our trips require guests to be physically active and healthy. The Difficulty Ratings will give you a more nuanced idea of the requirements of each trip and exactly how fit you need to be. A Level 1 trip for example is going to be with light day packs and on good trails, but it doesn’t mean it’s “easy.” It can still include significant elevation gains and losses or hikes with considerable distances. Level 5 is for extremely fit guests who are up for an adventure and are willing to work very hard physically and mentally. Levels 2, 3 and 4 are in between those two bookends.
If you’re unsure, we recommend starting on a trip with a lesser difficulty rating. For example, if you’re interested in a Level 3 trip but are unsure if you can handle it, our direction is to start at Level 2. If Level 2 feels easy enough for you, then try Level 3 after that.
How Should I Train for My Trip?
We have a training section of our website with recommendations of how to best prepare for your trip. The pages are categorized by Hiking (porter/llama treks and inn-based, basecamp and day hike tours) and Backpacking (backpacking trips); and also by Grand Canyon and non-Grand Canyon.
How Can I Train For Elevation If I Don't Live At Altitude?
If you live at sea level, you obviously can’t easily train for a hike at 12,000 feet, and you don’t necessarily need to. Instead focus on these two steps:
- Increase your physical fitness. You can train for elevation gains and losses on flights of stairs and come to the trip stronger and fitter, which will allow you to adapt to elevation better. Every flight of stairs is about 10 feet in elevation change. Ascending 50 flights of stairs is like hiking up a 500ft of ascent.
- Arrive at elevation early. Whether it’s Estes Park, Colorado; Cusco, Peru; Jackson, Wyoming; or Kathmandu, Nepal, arriving 2 days early to the town of origin for your hike will help you acclimatize. On some trips, notably in Peru, we require all guests to arrive a minimum of 2 days early, but it’s a very helpful step for any trip that takes us over 10,000 feet.
Where Do We Meet Before the Trip?
Under “Logistics” on each trip page you will find the specific instructions for where/when to meet your guide and group. This rendezvous is often the night before your trip begins, but can also be the morning of Day 1 on select trips.
Where Should I Stay Before My Trip?
For trips in the USA, we have recommended lodging which is detailed on the individual trip pages and in the trip packets. For many destinations, Wildland guests receive discounted rates at the recommended hotel.
For most trips outside the USA, lodging is included for the duration of the tour.
Can I Miss the Orientation Meeting?
Most of the time we can accommodate this request. It can vary by trip though, so please email us or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more based on your specific circumstances.
Can I Meet You at the Trailhead or Other Alternative Location?
The answer to this question varies tremendously by destination and by trip. Please email us or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to get information specific to the trip you’re interested in.
Where Can I Leave My Luggage/Car While On My Trip?
We recommend asking the hotel you utilize before your trip if you can leave your car or luggage at their facility. Most of the time this is possible, especially if you’re staying at a Wildland-recommended hotel. If it isn’t possible, please let us know as you may be able to store your belongings at a Wildland facility.
Some trips include pre-trip camping. On these trips you can leave your vehicle at the pre-trip camping location or the trailhead, and your luggage in your vehicle or the Wildland vehicle during the trip.
Please Note: If you store your belongings at a Wildland facility or in a Wildland vehicle, we do not take responsibility for the security of these items.
Does Wildland Pick Up at the Airport?
For trips in the USA we rendezvous at a designated location, which most of the time is not a local airport. Guests are responsible for transportation from the airport to the meeting location.
For most trips outside the USA, we include airport pick-up as part of the itinerary.
For more information on this question, please refer to the Logistics section on each individual trip page.
What Time Does the Trip End?
Each trip has an estimated ending time. You can see this information on the trip page (under Logistics – Start/End Times) or in the PDF trip packet you receive when you register. You can also download the PDF before booking from the trip pages.
How Do I Go to the Bathroom and Stay Clean in the Backcountry?
Bathroom facilities vary by trip, and range from backcountry flush toilets to nothing but nature. We provide instruction and resources to appropriately “use the bathroom” in the backcountry on all trips. This topic is almost always a non-issue for guests once the trip has begun, even if there was trepidation beforehand.
Means to staying clean also vary by trip. Inn-based and basecamp tours very often have access to showers. Backcountry trips (backpacking, llama treks, portered treks…etc.) may have rivers, creeks or lakes to swim in and rinse off. Bringing wet wipes with you on your trip is a great way to clean up a bit each day, regardless of whether extra water is available.
Will There Be Bathrooms/Showers/Running Water?
In general, you can expect backcountry camping trips (backpacking trips, llama treks and portered trips) to not have bathrooms, showers or running water. Some trips, particularly in the Grand Canyon’s Corridor area (Rim to Rim, Grand Canyon Classic, Indian Garden) have backcountry toilets and running water, but this is the very strong exception.
On inn-based and basecamp tours you can expect to have running water, bathrooms and – on most trips – showers.
Please check with our Adventure Consultants for questions about the bathrooms, water and shower situation on the specific trip you’re interested in.
How Are Emergency Situations Handled?
All Wildland guides are certified Wilderness First Responders (WFRs) or Wilderness Emergency Medical Technicians (WEMTs). These certifications are the same that first responders (firefighters, policemen, EMTs) have but geared toward wilderness settings. Also, all Wildland trips carry emergency communication devices, which include a satellite phone and/or a GPS locator/texting device.
When there is an emergency in the backcountry, we utilize the National Park Service, local sheriff departments, county service and/or other resources to execute evacuations and get the person to help as quickly as possible.
Is it Dangerous to Hike/Camp in Bear Country?
There are inherent dangers in all outdoor environments, and bears are one of the potential hazards in most mountain destinations. If the right precautions are taken this danger can be minimized significantly. We have strict safety protocols when in bear country, which include:
- Never having anything scented in your tent. This includes food, toiletries, food wrappers…etc.
- Always storing food and scented items in bear proof containers, within bear fencing or in tree hangs.
- Hiking in groups and never having guests go off completely alone. When needing to “use the bathroom” we ask that a fellow guest or guide to accompany you and stay 50-100 feet away to stand guard.
- Carrying bear spray. In black bear country it is most often just the guide who carries bear spray. In grizzly country we issue a canister to each guest as well.
- Making noise when hiking through thick foliage. The most important factor when hiking is to avoid surprising a bear, so we make noise to make them aware of us.
Trip Experience Questions
What Will the Weather Be Like on My Trip?
On each trip page, under Logistics, you can find average high and low temperatures and precipitation by month.
We also recommend using our Weather Forecasts page to find a 5-day forecast prior to your trip departing.
Will I See Wildlife On My Trip?
We never, ever guarantee wildlife sightings on any trip. That said, most trips do see wildlife, which can vary from large mammals to birds of prey, small animals, reptiles, amphibians, or unique insects.
How Much Will My Backpack Weigh?
On inn-based tours, basecamp tours and day hikes, backpack weights are usually 10-15 pounds. Portered and llama treks have pack weights of 15-20 pounds. Backpacking trip packs weigh 25-45 pounds, depending on the length and nature of the trip.
Click on the Difficulty Rating description on each trip page to see an accurate idea of what the pack weight is for that trip.
How Fast is the Hiking?
Hiking pace varies by trip, and understanding this is a critical component of enjoying a group tour. If you are adamant about hiking at a certain pace, we recommend booking a private our.
On Inn-based Tours Will My Room Be Quiet?
Although we do not have control over the noise level at our accommodations, you can generally expect it to be quiet and peaceful. We utilize a variety of hand-picked private and national park lodges, hotels, motels, cabins and inns for our inn-based tours, and since 2005 we have had very few comments or complaints about noise levels at our lodging.
What Sort of Shoes Should I Buy/Wear?
Our recommended footwear for each trip depends on which destination you’re hiking, what trip type you join (i.e. backpacking, inn-based, basecamp…etc.), and what time of year you go.
For example, for backpacking trips we mostly recommend ankle-high boots, but for inn-based, basecamp, portered trips, llama treks, and day hike tours it’s fine to wear boots or low-top hiking shoes.
On winter trips and some wetter areas (like the Pacific Northwest) we recommend having waterproof boots with gaiters.
Please check the packing list for your trip (in the PDF trip packet) to know for sure what’s recommended for the trip you’re joining.
Can I have a Tent to Myself?
On almost all trips, we can easily accommodate solo tent requests. There are a few exceptions, which are most often trips that utilize campsites with limited tent capacity. When you register, please let your adventure consultant know that you’d prefer to have a tent to yourself.
Can I Bring My Own Gear and Is There a Discount?
Guests are welcome to bring and use their own gear. Your guide will review these items at the pre-trip orientation to ensure they are appropriate for the trip.
There is no discount for bringing your own gear because guest gear often creates more work and uncertainty for Wildland guides.
What If There Isn't Rain in the Forecast, Should I Still Bring Rain Gear?
Yes, we always recommend having rain gear. Depending on the destination and time of year, you may be able to bring a simple poncho. Many destinations require a quality rain jacket and pants year round. Your guide will contact you approximately 10 days before your trip, and they will be able to give you more precise direction on this point.
What Gear Does Wildland Provide?
On all camping-based trips we provide tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacks, trekking poles, hiking crampons (when necessary), kitchen/eating supplies and specialized equipment such as bear safety gear, rodent-proof storage sacs, emergency communication devices, first-aid kits and more.
The main gear items guests are asked to provide are a headlamp or flashlight and water bottles or a water bladder.
To learn more about exactly what gear we provide on backpacking trips, check out our backpacking gear page.
What Brands of Gear Are Provided and How Much Do They Weigh?
We use top of the line gear from companies like Osprey, Deuter, Sierra Designs, Big Agnes, Kelty, Black Diamond, Thermarest, Leki, MSR and more. Check out our backpacking gear page for specifics on the products we provide.
I'm Tall - Do you Have a Backpack and Sleeping Bag That Will Fit?
The short answer is most likely. If you are taller than 6’6 please call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) before registering.
Will I Be Able to Recharge My Phone/Device?
In almost all relevant instances to the categories below, the answers are as follows:
- On backcountry camping trips (backpacking trips, llama treks and portered trips) you will not have this ability unless you bring a portable recharging device (recommended).
- On hut to hut treks, please check with our Adventure Consultants, as it will depend on the trip.
- On basecamp tours you will be able to recharge your device in the company vehicle(s). It’s still recommended to bring a portable recharging device.
- On inn-based tours you will be able to recharge your device each evening.
Will There Be Cell Service On My Trip?
On backcountry trips (backpacking trips, llama treks, hut to hut treks and portered trips) the answer is almost always no. There may be exceptions, but in general we recommend not expecting to have cell service on these trips.
On frontcountry trips (basecamp tours and inn-based tours) you can expect to have cell service some of the time but not all the time. When we are in camp or at remote lodges or on the trail, you will not have cell service some or much of the time. But you can expect to have cell service some of the time, which could be during drives or in the evenings/mornings.
What Will the Food Be Like?
At Wildland we take an enormous amount of pride in feeding our guests like royalty. What to expect on your trip depends on what type of trip you’re joining.
On camping-based trips (backpacking trips, llama treks, portered trips, hut to hut treks and basecamp tours), your guide(s) will prepare all the meals using fresh, dehydrated and specialty ingredients. You will not be eating pre-packaged dehydrated backpacking meals. Examples of some of our favorites are chicken, beef and veggie fajitas; potato gnocci with cheesy tomato sauce, salad and garlic bread; creamy tortilla soup with chips and salad; Thai coconut curry with chicken or shrimp and veggies; chicken curry and cashew wraps; Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce; breakfast burritos; breakfast scrambles; pancakes or crepes with fruit and nuts; and more.
On inn-based tours we will enjoy lodge or restaurant meals for most breakfasts and dinners, and your guide(s) will prepare delicious picnic lunch spreads. Some breakfasts may be continental-style, “on the go” meals to get the group out on the trail early; and on some inn-based trips we provide one or more outdoor sunset dinners (weather permitting.)
Can Wildland Cater to Special Dietary Needs?
Yes, we cater to most special dietary needs. There may be limitations with certain diets or on certain trips, most notably with some of our international trips. We can always tell you beforehand if we’re able to accommodate your specific requirements, and there may in some cases be additional fees for doing so.
Can Wildland Accommodate a Kosher Diet?
Yes, we have accommodated the strictest of kosher diets, even using brand new cooking and eating supplies and utensils on some trips. There may be an additional fee for this dietary requirement, depending on what is required.
What is a Typical Meal/Menu on a Backpacking Trip?
At Wildland Trekking, the guides create the menus based on the preferences and limitations of their groups. We have an extensive database of recipes and inventory of ingredients to enable the quality of food our guests are accustomed to. We are able to accommodate nearly all dietary preferences and restrictions such as vegan, gluten free, kosher and more.
A sample menu on a backpacking trip could look like this:
- Breakfast Day 1: bagels and cream cheese, fruit, yogurt, coffee/tea and juice
- Lunch Day 1: turkey sandwiches with chips and fruit
- Dinner Day 1: potato gnocci with mozzarella and sausage spaghetti sauce, garlic bread, salad
- Breakfast Day 2: tea/coffee, breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage and cheese
- Lunch Day 2: cashew and chicken wraps with dried fruit
- Dinner Day 1: chicken and vegetable fajitas, cookies and tea
- Breakfast Day 3: tea/coffee, oatmeal with fruit and nuts
- Lunch Day 3: crackers, cheese, preserved meats, dried fruit and nuts