Outdoor Education

Ask Cath: Advice for Nervous Campers

By Wilderness Adventures May 8, 2023
Girl at the top of a rock climbing route looking over her shoulder at vast landscape of pine trees in a valley below her.

Dear Cath,

My birthday will be on my WA trip this summer, and I am really nervous to be away from my family. Will anything special happen on my trip for my birthday? I hope so!


Birthday Boy

Dear Birthday Boy,

Believe it or not, birthdays on a Wilderness Adventures trip are actually a ton of fun! I talked to a few folks in the WA community to get some insight for you:

Bea, a WA alumni student said: “I have spent 2 birthdays with WA – one in California and one in Alaska – and I can say confidently that those were two of the best days of my life. On my birthday in Alaska, I woke up to the only clear view of Denali during the entire trip. In addition, in California, my trip leaders got a bunch of cake and candy to celebrate. My friends and I stayed up all night talking and laughing. I am looking forward to once again spending my birthday with WA this summer in the Alps & Pyrenees! Hiking through the Pyrenees for your 17th birthday – what could be better than that?” 

Three people smiling in the mountains.

Jake, a veteran Trip Leader said: “To me, birthdays on trips are times to pull out all the stops to make that specific student feel so incredibly special on their day! Whether it be secretly backpacking or sea kayaking with a couple cakes (it has been done!), or bringing a balloon, crown, and fun glasses out of nowhere, it’s a time to focus on that student! It’s also great for the leaders because they get to let all of their creative juices flow to help that student have an incredibly memorable special day! Seeing the surprise on the student’s face because they didn’t know the leaders had any clue it was their birthday is such a great feeling. Being somewhere different and exciting on that day is inherently really awesome but making it even better by doing these fun things really helps that day stand out!”

Group of students by the ocean in Alaska celebrating a birthday.

So, whether it’s surprising you with your favorite treat, or bringing out some fun birthday accessories, we try really hard to make students feel extra special on their birthday! And don’t worry, our team will capture photos and send them off to your family as well. Plus, maybe you can celebrate again when you return home!

We can’t wait to celebrate your birthday with you this summer!





Dear Cath,

I just got the packing list for my trip and I am feeling overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start and there are so many options at REI. Please help!


Stressed Shopper

Dear Stressed Shopper,

We know shopping for gear and tackling your packing list can be an overwhelming and even intimidating task. But no need to stress! We are here to help. 

A great way to start is to print off your packing list and see what gear you already have at home – maybe you have some synthetic shirts from sports you’ve participated in, or maybe your cousin has a backpacking pack that you could use. 

Employees at places like REI or your local gear store can also be great resources when it comes to checking items off your packing list. Places like these usually have folks who can help you find the gear you need and can make sure things like your backpack or hiking boots are a good fit for YOU. You can also check out WA’s online store, The Canteen!

Girl wearing a Wilderness Adventures baseball cap.

Lastly, read about some of our team’s tips and tricks here, and as always, feel free to give us a call at 307-733-2122 and we will be more than happy to assist with any gear questions you may have. Embrace the Adventure of Packing!

Happy shopping!


P.S. Don’t forget to make sure you get your hiking boots in plenty of time to break them in before your trip — this will help prevent blisters and ensure your comfort!