Escape the trappings of everyday life and become immersed in a wilderness experience

Join us on an exciting and fun Intro to Backpacking excursion to the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway in nearby New Hampshire.  As part of this 4 day, 3 night experience, you'll be introduced to the basics of backpacking, camping, finding and treating water, carry-in-carry-out, map reading and orientation, and Leave No Trace. This introductory back country-based adventure will build critical thinking and problem solving skills through the incorporation of team building, adventure-based activities and some good ole' fashioned fun! Our program leaders, Tom and Emily, are experienced educators and passionate nature enthusiasts, trained in both CPR and Wilderness First Aid to ensure your safety throughout the trip. 

No experience is necessary, however participants should be prepared for the challenges that accompany “roughing it” in the wilderness.  The trails and area selected for this excursion were chosen specifically to ensure that we will always be relatively close to civilization; during the trip we will not be hiking deep into the back country.  Attendees should anticipate an intermediate level of physical exertion with prolonged physical activity.  Throughout the expedition, safety is our principle concern, as enjoyment of the trip and safe return is paramount to the success of all Seaside Sustainability youth adventure programs!


Transportation and essential gear provided! Bring a friend or come alone for an awesome backpacking experience! 

View from Summit of Mt. Monadnock   Photo Credit: Eric Blanche

View from Summit of Mt. Monadnock   Photo Credit: Eric Blanche



Our backcountry excursion with embark from the Monadnock State Park in New Hampshire.  We will be parking at Monadnock State Park, 116 Poole Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452

We will register our final itinerary with Monadnock State Park.  Feel free visit their website for more detailed information about camping and hiking in the region: www.nhstateparks.org State Park Phone: 603-532-8862


Sample Itinerary 

This is a sample itinerary of the Intro to Backpacking program and is subject to modifications dependent upon safety, weather, and conditions.  This is intended to serve as a guide and may not reflect the exact activities or timeline that will be followed.

Day 1
•    7:00 am: Meet at central location; Review trip specifics and logistics; Ensure proper gear
•    9:00 am: Depart for Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway
•    11:30 am: Break for Lunch
•    12:30 pm: Arrive at Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway
•    1:00-5:00 pm: Hiking and Adventure based activities
•    5:00-7:00 pm: Set up camp, dinner, down time
•    7:00-8:30 pm: Adventure based games, team building
Day 2
•    7:00-8:30 am: Breakfast, morning workout (optional), pack up camp
•    8:30-12:00 pm: Hiking, Finding and treating water lesson, Adventure based activities
•    12:00-1:00 pm: Break for lunch
•    1:00-5:00 pm: Hiking, Finding and treating water cont., Adventure based activities cont. 
•    5:00-7:00 pm: Set up camp, dinner, down time
•    7:00-8:30 pm: Adventure based games, team building activities
Day 3
•    7:00-8:30 am: Breakfast, morning workout (optional), pack up camp
•    8:30-12:00 pm: Hiking
•    12:00-1:30 pm: Break for lunch, down time
•    1:30-4:30 pm: Load up and return home
•    4:30 pm: Parent pick up

river crossing.JPG


The best plan is the one in which we are prepared for almost anything! The required gear list was created with this in mind, and for your enjoyment and protection, it is essential that all participants have appropriate gear; individuals who don't have access to any items on the required gear list should reach out to expedition leaders. All group gear is supplied by Seaside Sustainability and is thoroughly tested before departure.  All group gear and food will be evenly divided between all the members of the group, dividing the weight and responsibility evenly. 

Required Camping Gear

A quality, well-fitting backpack is an essential component of an enjoyable backpacking trip!  In it you will carry EVERYTHING you're going to need for the 3-day excursion.  Other essential gear includes a sleeping bag, appropriately rated for the season of travel, and a sleeping pad (Therm-a-Rest inflatable pads are nice for back country travel, though foam pads get the job done as well).  Seaside Sustainability will provide this gear for each participant, but we encourage those who have access to these items to utilize that opportunity.  Participants do not need to supply a tent.  If, however you have a tent that you'd like to familiarize yourself with, bring it to the pre-trip gear check and we will assess whether it is functionally acceptable to bring on the trip. 

  • 1 backpack: must specifically be a BACKPACKING pack
  • 1 sleeping bag
  • 1 sleeping pad

required Personal Gear


Considering we will be hiking for extended periods throughout the day, your comfort and safety are paramount. The wrong clothing can really take away from your experience and potentially put you and the group in danger!  Here are a few ideas to keep you comfortable and safe while on the trail:  

  • WEAR LAYERS: layering your clothing is a tried-and-true way to maximize your comfort in the outdoors. The beauty of this simple concept is that it allows you to make quick adjustments based on your activity level and changes in the weather. BE LIKE AN ONION!!!  Each layer has a function:
    • THE BASE LAYER (against your skin) manages moisture
    • THE INSULATING LAYER protects you from the cold
    • THE SHELL LAYER (outer layer) shields you from wind and rain
      When you come prepared with layers, throughout the trip as conditions change you can simply add or remove layers as needed!
  • WOOL & SYNTHETICS: In the world of outdoor recreation, two materials rise to the top: those made of synthetic fibers like fleece and those made of wool.  They both wick water away from the skin and are able to provide insulating warmth even when wet.  Their cousin “cotton” has ABSOLUTELY NO redeeming qualities in the woods and SHOULD BE AVOIDED from the head to the toes! 

Required Personal Gear:

Each participant must supply all of his/her own personal clothing and supplies listed below. Please contact trip leader Emily Arthur as soon as possible so that she may provide guidance towards acquiring necessary gear (contact below).

Clothing listed includes what you are wearing on Day 1

  • 2 Water canteens or bottles: Nalgene bottles OR a Camelbak (NOT glass or disposable bottles)
  • Flashlight or headlamp (check the bulb & batteries!)
  • 1 Pair hiking boots or comfortable shoes with support
  • 1 Fleece sweatshirt or light jacket (not cotton)
  • 1 Pair of long pants (not cotton) - zip offs work 
  • 1 Pair camp shorts (not cotton) - zip offs work
  • 1 Pair of bottom thermals or equivalent (not cotton) 
  • 1 Long sleeve shirt (not cotton)
  • 1 Old t-shirt: this will be destroyed by the end of the trip (is for a wilderness lesson)
  • 2 T-shirts (not cotton)
  • 3-4 Pairs socks (not cotton) 
  • 2-3 Pairs underwear (alright, cotton is OK here)
  • 1 Rain jacket or poncho (unless light jacket is waterproof)
  • 1 Winter hat and gloves/mittens (not cotton): it will be cool in the evenings/night and early morning
  • Sun Protection: your choice of brimmed hat, sunglasses, and/or sunscreen
  • Toiletries
    • Think MINIMAL (remember we carry-in & carry-out):
      • toothbrush & paste
      • small amount of toilet paper
      • feminine products
  • 2-3 Large heavy duty trash bags or backpacking equivalent  

Optional Personal Gear:

  • Camera (disposable is recommended as it is possible it may get damaged on trip)
  • Lightweight close toed camp shoes
  • Bandana
  • Personal (little) first aid kit
  • Extra batteries for flashlight/headlamp
  • Small journal & pen/pencil in seal-able plastic bag
  •  Low waste and non-sugar snacks i.e. granola bars, dried fruit (nothing perishable – try to keep these to a minimum, we have PLENTY of food!!)
  • Optional toiletries – bug spray, small biodegradable soap or hand sanitizer, lip balm, hair ties, etc.
    • Do NOT bring:
      • shampoo or conditioner
      • makeup or perfume
      • scented products of any kind
      • shaving products

Questions About Gear & Clothing?

If you're seeking guidance or personal advice regarding gear and/or clothing,
please reach out to trip leader Emily Arthur:  arthure@seasidesustainability.org

PREPARATION: Pre-Trip Meeting & Gear Check

Tuesday June 6, 2017
6-7:30 PM @ Ocean Alliance
32 Horton Street Gloucester, MA


Two weeks prior to departure, participants and their families will come together to meet fellow backpackers & trip leaders, to ask any lingering questions, and to collect (and check) all required gear and clothing for the trip.  

We don’t want to take participants into the woods with improper, insufficient or unsafe gear; the primary focus of the pre-trip meeting will be to inspect participant clothing and gear to ensure it is suitable and safe to use on the trip.  This meeting serves as a final check that all gear is appropriate for the expedition; should you have questions or concerns leading up to the meeting, please reach out to trip leader Emily Arthur.  The sooner we communicate the better in order to determine individual gear needs; by letting us know which items you need ahead of time, we can make sure those are ready for you at the gear check.  For those in need of packs, we will use this time to fit participants to a pack from our own available supply.  


This gear check is held two weeks prior to trip departure in order to provide participants time to make adjustments, locate loaner gear, or, if necessary, make purchases.  If the gear check reveals that you are in need of one or more required gear items, we will work with you to determine possible options for attainment of this gear.  whether it is something we can provide for you to borrow. or if it will be necessary to pursue other outlets.  

We will break into tent groups to assess gear, determine how shared group gear is being distributed, and to learn how to set up tents.  We will also introduce proper backpack-packing techniques.  


DEPARTURE: Meeting Location & Travel

Monday June 28, 2017
7 AM @ O'Maley School (lower parking lot)
32 Cherry St. Gloucester, MA 01930

The group will meet at the O'Maley Middle School lower/side parking lot in Gloucester early in the morning to prepare for departure.  
At this time we will have a brief group check-in, divvy up all group gear and food, and be introduced to the first essential skill in backpacking: how to pack your backpack!  Once we are loaded up, we will travel by private car or van to our trail head in Monadnock State Park.  



For the safety of all group members on this Intro to Backpacking excursion, participants will NOT be allowed to bring knives of any kind on the trip.  Trip leaders have the right to confiscate any such items at any time during the trip.  


While participating in Intro to Backpacking, we urge participants to unplug from their electronic world and fully immerse themselves in the local environment. We will be instituting a no phone policy while we are on the trail. While you may want to stay in contact or take a few selfies, we believe this takes away from the overall experience. As such, we will require that all phones be left in the van or car prior to setting out on the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway trail. We understand that students may want their phones for pictures. However, we recommend bringing a digital or disposable camera instead. Also, our trip leaders will also bring camera(s) to take photos which we can share afterwards.   


"Unplugging and spending time in nature can reduce stress, soothe the mind and boost creativity and complex thinking skills."

Check out the peer reviewed article:  Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings


The choice of hiking shoes is an essential concern for both safety and comfort. No one wants to get a blister the first day, or have their feet feel sore and uncomfortable. Unless you already own a pair of hiking shoes/boots, a good pair of running shoes will do the trick. If you purchase new boots, please allow yourself plenty of time to break them in and follow the manufacturer’s break-in procedures.  Unless you absolutely know the boots fit well, do not borrow boots to wear on this trip!  No cotton socks!  


This is the most common question we get from those that have never done an overnight hike or camped in the woods before, and rest assured, although there are no bathrooms in the woods, going #1 or # 2 is much easier than you may imagine.  Your leaders will teach you the 6-D’s of going in the woods: Desire, Distance, Dig, Do, Disguise, Disinfect. EASY! 


Water is one of the most important things to consider while backpacking. For extended backpacking trips, we are not able to carry all the water necessary for drinking and cooking. This means we will be locating natural sources of water and treating it (one of the major skills we will teach). We will be using three methods for treating water: boiling, water filter, and the tablet technique.  Boiling water for drinking or cooking is acceptable. The hiking water filter is a small system that purifies water which is very effective (although slow). The tablet technique uses iodine or chlorine, which sometimes is not the tastiest, but at least makes it safe to drink.  Please let us know if you child has an allergy to iodine or chlorine.  Each child will be responsible for his/her own personal water containers and will use the group gear to treat it.  


Since we are backpacking we will be traveling light, this will limit the variety of food we carry. Rest assured, we always pack more than enough food! Participants are welcome to bring their own snacks. However, we request that they are low in waste as well as nutritious; snacks loaded with sugar are not only unhealthy but are counterproductive while the body is under exertion for prolonged periods.  Below are a few likely meals and snacks we will provide (food allergies and dietary restrictions may affect this). We will do our best plan our meals so that participants with allergies and/or specific dietary needs are able to enjoy the provided meals and snacks.

Breakfast: oatmeal, granola (can be made nut free), breakfast rice & beans
Lunch/Snack: dried fruit, dried meats, trail mix, cheese, nuts, peanut butter, granola, pita, etc. 
Dinner: veggie couscous, chicken veggie & orzo soup, cheesy bacon taters

Trip Leaders:

Together, North Shore, MA, residents Tom Durfee and Emily Arthur have years of experience in adventure trips and education!  They will provide a safe, fun, rewarding, exciting and memorable experience, leaving participants with wanting to engage in another trip! 

  • Emily Arthur (Trip Leader): Emily is our organization’s Director of Development and Business Operations who has several years of experience leading trips in the wilderness.  Emily is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR and has a passion for the woods and sharing her knowledge.  Emily has always been ardent about ecology and environmental literacy, and received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Environmental & Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming.  arthure@seasidesustainability.org
Tom Durfee Picture.jpg
  • Tom Durfee (Trip Leader): As a former physical education teacher Tom has an affinity for all things physically active. Tom has many passions including studying muay thai and expanding his skills in wilderness survival. He is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR to ensure safe adventures into the wild. In a world where things are becoming easier and more connected Tom believes we should still be the master of our environment and have the ability to disconnect and enjoy being lost in the moment. durfeet@seasidesustainability.org