Ryan Jordan

Benefits of Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp (Why I’m Passionate About Education)

I enjoy a lot of different things.

Scouting, entrepreneurship, fly fishing, making fires, packrafting, trekking, the wilderness, wildflowers, remote places, my truck, coffee, making my own gear – these are a few of them.

But two things that get me as excited as anything else are teaching and ultralight backpacking.

The motivation for me to develop Backpacking Light’s Wilderness Trekking School, and the online and field courses at Ryanjordan.com, was borne out of the fact that these reflect core passions of mine.

I’ve done lots of different things in my career, but I’ve been teaching for a long time.

Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp will introduce you to the state of the art gear and technologies - and skills - that allow you to travel with a very light pack in comfort and safety.

I was elected as a Patrol Leader, as a Boy Scout, more than 30 years ago. I remember taking the job very seriously – I was committed to making sure my patrol members knew how to tie the square knot, tautline hitch, and bowline, and that they knew how to do it faster than any other patrol in the troop.

When I was 17, I started working at Camp Parsons, where I taught pioneering skills, first aid, wilderness survival, and other Scout skills to younger scouts with a thirst for learning. I worked at CP until 1992 in various capacities, all of them involving some sort of teaching as a trekking and mountaineering guide, area director, and program director.

By the time I graduated with my M.S. at Wazzu, I had more teaching experience under my belt, from fundamentals of engineering to calculus to rock climbing to blackjack dealing. I loved it all, and was thrilled to see my students excel at what they were learning.

More time in the university system in Montana seeded my passion for teaching even more, giving me the opportunity to participate in the founding of both the Biofilm Institute, and Cytergy, two companies dedicated to developing online education for the medical science community. When I realized the potential to seed, and create community around information and education with the Internet, I founded Backpacking Light, and the rest is history I suppose.

My passion for education has not changed so much, even though who and how and what I’m teaching have evolved through the years.

Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp is not about minimizing weight for the sake of minimizing weight - it's about exposing you to options from which you can choose from to define your own ultralight style. Here, I'm cooking stir fry in a titanium pan over a wood burning stove, which gives me the cheer of fire, and the satisfying taste of fresh foods.

Here’s why I love doing courses like the Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp, and why I think this course could provide some benefit for you:


  1. You’ll have the opportunity to go through a lot of material. I think there are about 30 individual lessons in this course. The result of opening the floodgates during an intense training period will allow you to rethink how you look at ultralight backpacking, and perhaps most important, energize (motivate) you to take a big step towards growing your skills.
  2. If you participate in the mentored or field course options, the benefits you get in #1 will be magnified. Through mentoring, we solve problems together in a private, one-on-one environment. Through a field course, we solve problems together in real time in real conditions with real people in a collaborative environment.
  3. Courses like this always cause you to ask more questions, stretch your perception of what you are capable of, and challenge your existing preconceptions. These are three elements of personal growth that fuel real change.

What do I really get out of it?

You are helping me make a living at doing what I love to do. Of course, you’re helping anyone make a living wherever you spend your dollar, right? But have you wondered if you are fueling the passion of the kid who made your last hamburger at the drive in, or the clerk at the license & title desk at the courthouse, or some unknown shareholder of the bank to whom you pay your mortgage interest?

What I get out of this is a little bit different. I get the opportunity to serve you, and to know you. You give me an opportunity to make a commitment to your learning. I give you an opportunity to be teachable and to grow. My commitment to you is simple: let’s make this a win-win deal.

A happy participant from a May course, trekking in ultralight style across a high mountain pass. Who said ultralight backpacking has to wait until the snow melts? In the Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp, you'll be exposed to a wide variety of lightweight skills and gear that will allow you to trek year round.


This course session is going to be an exceptional one if you go through either the mentoring option, or the field course option, with me.

The reason that the timing for a mentored option is going to be unique right now is that I’ve been exploring a number of new new skills and styles in the past few years and continuing into this summer, and I’m very eager to share with you what I’m learning.

The reason that the timing for a field course option is going to be unique right now is that I’ll be taking you into one of the most beautiful, and awe-inspiring locations in the world: high on a massive alpine plateau dotted with trout-filled lakes, jutted with dramatic granite peaks, and lined with soft-on-the-feet tundra. By the time we break out of the treeline, you’ll know that these types of vistas, and the opportunity to trek through such a beautiful location, just doesn’t come around very often.

In particular, I’m really excited to share with you what I’m learning about the Canadian Rockies, where I’ll be trekking in July in ultralight style, but with a pack that includes glacier trekking, fly fishing, and packrafting gear, too!

Ultralight Backpacking Boot Camp comes with my personal guarantee. If you finish the online course, went through the material, and think you totally wasted your time and money, I’ll refund your online course fee. I’m not interested in seeing you waste money – that’s something that completely negates my own principles of living an ultralight life (i.e., the principle of exercising monetary discipline).

Moreover, if you’re on the fence, don’t be afraid to ask me any questions. I’m happy to work through them with you via email, chat, Skype, or phone. Just drop me a line.

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