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National Outdoor Leadership School GoLite and Bozeman, Montana's Backpacking Light Magazine Team Up to Take Ultralight Backpacking Education Mainstream - UM offers Wilderness Outfitting, Packing Course

November 30, 2005View for printing

NOLS (The National Outdoor leadership School) , the leading school for outdoor skills and leadership in the world, has joined forces with lightweight gear and skills leaders GoLite and Backpacking Light Magazine to offer ultralight backpacking skills courses to their adult students.

These courses represent NOLS’ first foray into ultralight backpacking, the most recognized trend in the outdoors over the past decade.

“This is an ideal partnership,” said NOLS’ Executive Director, John Gans. “We’ve recognized the lightweight trend, and we’re very excited to be able to capitalize on NOLS’ world-class instructors backed up by GoLite’s and Backpacking Light’s enormous expertise and excellent products. We see this as the first of many lightweight NOLS courses to come.”

The new 14-day NOLS courses, “Light and Fast Backpacking,” will be offered in August 2006. Outfitted with backpack base loads of only 10 to 15 pounds (not including the consumables like food and fuel), course participants will hike with freedom and the added safety of a lighter pack to some of Wyoming's most remote and beautiful ranges. Students will learn the skills, knowledge, and philosophy behind “going light,” from cooking one-pot meals, to advanced body temperature regulation and stealth camping techniques.

“We’re honored to be working with NOLS,” said GoLite co-founder and CEO Kim Coupounas. “These courses can enable a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts to experience the fun and freedom that lightweight backpacking affords.”

“Teaching lightweight backcountry skills in the NOLS curriculum will improve the leadership quality of their graduates,” says Backpacking Light Magazine Publisher, Ryan Jordan. “They will not only take home the NOLS experience, but they will take home the most advanced techniques and trends that are shaping tomorrow’s outdoor experience.”

NOLS, GoLite, and Backpacking Light Magazine have been designing this course for the past six months. GoLite co-founder and president, Demetri Coupounas, and Backpacking Light’s founder and publisher, Ryan Jordan, both experts in lightweight backcountry travel skills, will be training NOLS instructors in spring 2006. GoLite and other companies will be supplying both instructors and students with optimal lightweight gear and clothing for the courses.

About NOLS

The National Outdoor Leadership School, the premier teacher of outdoor skills and leadership, offers courses 10 days to full semesters in the world's most spectacular wilderness classrooms. Since 1965, more than 85,000 people have turned to NOLS to learn sea kayaking, backpacking, sailing, mountaineering, kayaking, horsepacking and canoeing. College credit and scholarships available. See or call 800.710.NOLS.

About GoLite

GoLite sparked a lightweight revolution in 1999 when it introduced a full range of ultra-lite equipment and clothing for backpacking and other outdoor adventures that rocked the outdoor sports world. Today the company offers unique, innovative, and affordable outdoor products for a wide range of outdoor activities and sponsors more than 50 professional athletes in fast-packing, adventuring racing, thru-hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. These athletes regularly share “fast + lite” techniques in outreach seminars around the world. For more information on GoLite products, athletes, and outreach programs, visit or call 888-5-GoLite toll-free within the U.S.

About Backpacking Light Magazine

Backpacking Light Magazine is the outdoor industry’s most recognized and authoritative voice about lightweight hiking and backcountry travel. Backpacking Light is published as a quarterly print magazine and a comprehensive subscription-based website ( Both feature editorials, comprehensive treatises about technique and training, travel journals, and in-depth scientific gear reviews. In addition, hosts reader forums and gear reviews, gear buying guides, and a co-op style gear shop that sells some of the most innovative – and lightest – gear on the planet. For more information about lightweight backpacking, or subscribing to Backpacking Light Magazine, visit




An eight-week spring semester course at The University of Montana offers hands-on instruction working with packing equipment, horses and mules.

Smoke Elser of Wilderness Consulting Group will teach the course, which will be held at his barn located not far from the University in the Missoula Rattlesnake area.

Classes will be held once a week for three hours and run from the end of January through the second week of March. No prior experience is necessary. The fee for the course is $150.

Students have a choice of class days and times: from 2 to 5 p.m. or from 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays; and from 7 to 10 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays. Classes are limited to 10-12 students per session. One college credit for the course is available through UM Continuing Education.

Course topics include general horse handling, packing, and minimum impact horse use and camping techniques.

Students will receive an introduction to safe handling of horses and mules, main injury points, riding equipment, picketing, hobbling, emergency shoeing, and basic backcountry horse care. They also will learn to pack, cargo, load, string stock and travel with light-on-the-land techniques.

For more information or to register for the course, call Elser at (406) 549-2820 or e-mail him at ... 005&npa=993
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Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. Full copyright retained by the original publication. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

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