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

Join us on one or two of our exciting and fun Intro to Backpacking excursions to the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway in nearby New Hampshire or Wapak Trail in Temple New Hampshire.  As part of this 3 day, 2 night experience, you'll be introduced to the basics of backpacking, camping, finding and treating water, carry-in-carry-out, map reading, and Leave No Trace (LNT). This introductory backcountry-based adventure will build critical thinking and problem solving skills and develop basic survival skills through the incorporation of team building, adventure-based activities and some good old fashioned fun.

These hikes were choosing for all abilities from beginner, novice, and immediate.

Returning hikers and those with experience are encouraged to have a leadership roles of navigation, safety while hiking, water crossing, technique to proper way to pack a bag, food safety, bear bags, water safety skills and filtering, setting up sites, leave no trace, and taking a lead in cooking

No equipment is required, please let us know well in advance of any mountain gear requirements, though our partnership with the Appalachian Mountain group we will be able to provide it free of charge ! During our Pre Flights you will be introduced to the staff and be introduced to the hiking plan! We want this trip to be as stress free and fun as possible!

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!

Our program leaders, Tom Durfee and Jen Greeke, are experienced educators and passionate nature enthusiasts, trained in both CPR and Wilderness First Aid to ensure your participant’s safety throughout the trip.

  • Cost: NOW JUST $50! Includes meals (participants will purchase lunch on the way out and back), round trip travel, and all group.

  • Participants: Intro to Backpacking open to both boys and girls 13-16 years of age from Cape Ann and beyond.  Friends are encouraged to invite friends however there will be plenty of like-minded kids to meet and get to know!

  • Dates Wapack Trail:

  • Monday August 13th, 2018 to Wednesday August 15th, 2018

  • Rescheduled Rain Date:

  • Monday August 20 to Wednesday August 22, 2018

  • Pre Flight*: Friday July 23, 2018 

  • Locations: Wapack Trail, Miller Park rd. Temple NH: Pre flight: Stage Fort Park Gloucester - 6 pm. (Each pre flight is 2 weeks before actual hike date)



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

Monadnock State Park: 

116 Poole Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452

Phone: 603-532-8862



Wapack Trail:

Miller Park rd. Temple NH



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 (TBA); Review trip specifics, ensure proper gear
•    7:30 am: Depart for Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway
•    10:30 am: Arrive at lunch spot/Proper packing techniques
•    12:30 pm: Arrive at Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway trail head
•    1:00-4:30 pm: Hiking, lightning drill, adventure based activities
•    4:30-7:00 pm: Learning to set up camp, dinner, down time
•    7:00-8:30 pm: Team building games and activities
Day 2
•    7:00-8:30 am: Breakfast, morning yoga (optional), pack up camp
•    8:30-12:00 pm: Hiking, Finding and treating water lessons
•    12:00-1:00 pm: Break for lunch
•    1:00-5:00 pm: Hiking, map reading, emergency preparedness, adventure-based activities
•    5:00-7:00 pm: Set up camp, dinner, down time
•    7:00-8:30 pm: Team building games and activities
Day 3
•    7:00-8:30 am: Breakfast, morning yoga (optional), pack up camp
•    8:30-12:00 pm: Hiking, basic survival activity, hiking games
•    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



Meeting Location & Travel: The group will meet the morning of departure and return to the lower parking lot of O’Maley Middle School, 32 Cherry St, Gloucester, MA. We will be traveling by private van and/or cars to and from the backpacking location(s).  

Pre-Trip Meeting & Gear Check (TBD)

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.  

river crossing.JPG


Important Information about Clothing & Gear: The best plan is the one in which we are prepared for almost anything! The operative word here is “prepared!” That’s why a gear list must be complete with high quality and appropriate gear.  For your enjoyment and protection, all group gear is supplied by Seaside Sustainability and is thoroughly tested before departure.  As any efficient backpacking troop does, all group gear and food will be evenly divided between all the members of the group thus dividing the weight and responsibility evenly.

Required Camping Gear

Personal Gear: Each participant must supply all of his own gear, as noted in the required equipment checklist (located further in this information).

Clothing: 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: 

Be like an onion with 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. 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. You simply add or subtract layers as needed.

Synthetic & Wool: 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 still provide insulating warmth when wet.  Their cousin “cotton” has absolutely no redeeming qualities in the woods and should be avoided from the head to the toes!

Gear Owned by Seaside Sustainability: If you are using equipment owned by Seaside Sustainability, you assume responsibility for its proper use and returning it with “normal wear and tear use.”  Equipment that is damaged due to neglect will be paid for by the family of the participant.  Also, Seaside Sustainability is not responsible for any personal broken gear or equipment brought on the trip.  

Pocket Knives: For the safety of everyone, and for this introductory program - Intro to Backpacking, participants are not allowed to bring knives of any sort on the trip.

Footwear 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 shoes/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!

Required Gear: A quality and good fitting backpack is an essential component of a successful backpacking trip!  Other essential gear includes a sleeping bag made for the season of travel, a sleeping pad, and tent that can be used for backpacking (not a backyard, heavy, recreational tent).  Seaside Sustainability can provide this gear to each attendee, but we encourage those who have access to them or can borrow them to do that, since it will help you become more familiar with the gear you have!

  • 1 Backpacking pack (to carry all necessary equipment – i.e. clothes, water, group gear, food, etc.) - must be specifically a backpacking pack, no school packs, knapsacks, or similar
  • 1 Sleeping bag
  • 1 Sleeping pad
  • 1 Tent*

* We recommend those who have tents bring their own to help the become more familiar with their equipment. However, we can provide tents so please do not feel the need to purchase a tent specifically for this program. Prior to the trip, we will host a gear check night to assess whether the gear participants plan to use is functionally acceptable. For example, if you own a 6-8 person tent this would not be suitable for the trip due to space and weight concerns. As such, we would recommend 2-4 person tents only.

More Required Gear & Clothing:

  • 2 Water canteens or bottles (not glass - Nalgene bottles or similar, reused plastic bottles)
  • 1 Pair comfortable shoes or hiking shoes/boots
  • 1 Fleece sweatshirt or light jacket (not cotton)
  • 1 Pair of long pants (not cotton)
  • 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 - used for a wilderness lesson and can be cotton)
  • 2 T-shirts (not cotton)
  • 1 Pair camp shorts (not cotton)
  • 3-4 Pairs socks (not cotton)
  • 2-3 Pairs underwear (OK, cotton is OK here)
  • 1 Brimmed hat (for protection/cover from the sun)
  • 1 Winter hat and gloves/mittens (not cotton - in case of cold weather)
  • 1 Rain jacket or poncho (unless light jacket is waterproof)
  • Flashlight or headlamp (check the batteries)
  • Toiletries - toothbrush & paste, tampons, sanitary napkins (go minimal and low waste -remember we carry in and carry out)
  • Compact pencil and paper in small plastic sealable bag
  • 2 Large heavy duty trash bags or backpacking equivalent  
  • Sunglasses

Optional Gear & Clothing:

  • Sunglass cords
  • Personal (little) First Aid kit
  • Optional toiletries – small bottle hand sterilizer, lip balm, hair ties
  • Extra batteries for flashlight/headlamp
  • Bug Spray
  • Bathing suit
  • Very lightweight close toed shoes for camp
  • Bandana
  • Low waste and non-sugar snacks i.e. granola bars, dried fruit (nothing perishable – please keep these to a minimum)
  • Camera (disposable is recommended as it is possible it may get damaged on trip)

Our Group Gear Sponsors:

Questions About Gear & Clothing?

Tom Durfee Picture.jpg


Questions About Gear & Clothing: We strongly urge you not to purchase gear if you don’t need to but should you have any questions or need personal advice regarding gear and clothing, please reach out to Trip Leader(s): Tom Durfee: durfeet@seasidesustainability.org


"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


In the case of foreseeable inclement weather, the trip will not be postponed unless our program leaders determine the potential exposure to the elements could become hazardous. For example, if the forecast calls for heavy rains/flooding, severe lightning, or similar conditions in the area we will make the call to postpone ahead of the trip. The call to postpone will be done prior to us departing for your convenience and for overall trip satisfaction.

Trip Leaders:

Together, North Shore, MA, residents Tom Durfee and Jennifer Greeke 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! 

Jen & Tom 2.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

Jennifer Greeke (Co-Leader): Jen is an artist focused on fashion and clothing design, along with metal/welded art. Jen enjoys being physically active, being outdoors, and recently retired from the Boston Roller Derby. This will be Jen’s second year leading the backpacking trip and she is trained and certified in CPR, helping to ensure safety during the trip. As an artist, Jen finds inspiration for her creative works from being outdoors and in the wilderness. Jen has experience in teaching as well, having taught some high school and college art/fashion classes.