Accept the Challenge with NC Backpacking

by Andrea Wackerle

Our 38th summer camp season is on its way! To celebrate, we’ll be highlighting each course over the coming weeks. This week, we’re featuring NC Backpacking. This 12 day course is a traditional outdoor adventure experience that allows campers to experience life at its simplest. 

Are you looking for something exciting and challenging to peak your child’s interest this summer? Look no further. NC Backpacking is the traditional model for an outdoor adventure, full of high adventure and physical activities. This course is ideal for campers who generally like the outdoors and being active, and who could benefit from learning to apply basic skills learned in the outdoors to real life.

Accept the Challenge

As the original North Carolina course at SOAR, NC Backpacking challenges campers to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. While backpacking can be more strenuous than some of our other activities, it is without a doubt one of the most rewarding activities as well. This course is ideal for campers who are looking to push the adventure envelope with some traditional outdoor activities. During the course, campers will spend 4 days and 3 nights backpacking through Pisgah National Forest. During this time, campers will learn to unplug and live only with what they need, which can be a powerful experience for many of our campers. Then it’s on to two days of rock climbing 5.4 and 5.5 climbs (Learn more about the Yosemite Decimal System if you aren’t familiar). After an elective day, campers will wrap up this adventure whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River before heading back to camp for an end of course celebration.

Basic Outdoor Skills

During NC Backpacking, campers will experience life at its simplest. Before heading out, campers will determine which routes to travel and plan and prepare for meals during the trip. Once on the course, campers will develop basic map reading skills as they make their way through their 4 day journey. After the backpacking phase, campers will set up camp in Pisgah National Forest and experience primitive camping, think tents, campfires, drop toilets, technology-free zone. Fun fact: Pisgah National Forest happens to be one of the top 26 places to pitch a tent in the US, along with quite a few of our other adventure locales.

Elective Day

NC Backpacking is one of two courses that offers an elective day where campers can choose which activity they want to participate in. Options include fishing, learning about and implementing primitive skills, archery and tomahawk tossing, mountain biking, and paint ball.


With most summer camp experiences, campers walk away with new found friendships. For our kids, who often struggle with social skills and making friends, this can be a process. There is something about backpacking through the forest with your team that makes this process a little easier. Campers work and move together as a group and in turn learn to be patient with one another and support each other. At the end of each day, campers will come together to reflect on the challenges and successes of that day, allowing them to experience the reward of their hard work together. At the end of the course, campers will return to base for their end of course celebration, and relive their adventures through photos of their trip.

Ready to enroll? Submit your child’s application today! Still have questions? We would love to help! Give us a call at 828-456-3435 or email us at