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How to Prepare for a KSS Adventure Program?

Preparing for a KSS Adventure Program can sometimes feel like a challenge but it’s our goal to set every camper and family up for success. Each Adventure is designed to inspire the novice adventurer to learn more and a seasoned adventurer to gain more skills. Similar to every new experience, the more one prepares the easier an experience may be, but there is never a need for an expert-level training plan. See some of the outlined steps to help your camper better prepare for their KSS Adventure.

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Physical Preparation

Pre-program Conditioning - Outdoor Adventures can be hard work, so it is important to prepare your body. In the time before your trip, go on long walks and hikes while carrying a backpack. Slowly increase the weight of your backpack and the difficulty of the trails you hike on. If you don’t have access to hiking trails, a treadmill or walks around the neighborhood will do the trick too! Make sure to wear the shoes you plan on hiking in to break them in and avoid blisters. Every bit of practice helps you build muscle and feel confident in your hiking skills.

Make sure you have the appropriate gear - Outdoor Adventures involves spending an extended amount of time outside and sometimes in remote areas; having gear to help you stay safe, warm, and dry is essential. You’re going to need warm layers, preferably synthetic or wool because cotton absorbs twice its weight in water and dries very slowly. Synthetic layers are much better at wicking moisture away as you sweat while hiking or sleeping. You are going to want to pack a few extra pairs of socks so you can put on a fresh pair once you finish hiking for the day. Other essential items include a raincoat, hat, sunscreen, and chapstick. We will have plenty of gear for you to borrow, so don’t worry about going out and spending money on the bigger, more expensive things like sleeping bags, backpacks, or sleeping pads if you don’t already have them. For a more detailed packing list, review the Getting Ready for Camp webpage.

Hydrate - It’s important to stay hydrated anytime you are exercising or spending time outside. In the days leading up to your KSS Adventure, make sure to drink between 2-3 liters of water a day, and continue to do so throughout your trip too. If you are traveling in a remote area, KSS staff will bring the necessary materials to filter water to make sure it is safe to drink. 32 oz water bottles, like a Nalgene or similar, are great for backpacking and any outdoor adventure!

Mental Preparation

What to Expect - It’s totally normal to feel anxious before any outdoor adventure or backpacking trip, so mental preparation is important too. Learning more about what to expect can help. KSS Adventure trips generally consist of hiking or other outdoor activities during the day with breaks for water, rest, and snacks before traveling to a designated campsite. Once at your campsite, your group will need to set up camp and cook dinner. After eating, your group might play a game or have some downtime before heading to bed. In the morning, you will wake up, pack up camp, eat breakfast, and head on to your next adventure!

Instructor Qualifications - This might be your first time on a KSS Adventure or backpacking trip so you may be wondering what happens if someone gets hurt or sick. All our staff are trained as Wilderness First Responders and CPR and have had extensive training on risk management and backcountry travel. Each instructor carries first aid kits and a satellite communication device to talk to KSS admin on-campus or emergency personnel if needed. They are there to take care of the group, so if something feels wrong, just let your leader know so they can help! Learn more about how we prepare our instructor and counselor team.

Have fun preparing for your KSS Adventure program! If you have any questions or concerns about how to prepare for your backpacking trip with Keystone Science School, feel free to call 970-468-2098 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we are more than happy to help!