So you want to be a Fatpacking guide?
Being paid to backpack provides an incredible quality of life. But remember that you are not
just being paid to experience the beautiful wilderness, you're also responsible for keeping
participants safe, happy, and inspired. Most times, you'll be blisfully happy, but other times,
you'll be expected to bust your butt in order to make sure clients are blissfully happy.
Read this, then apply below
- Are you OK backpacking as few as only 3 miles per day at what you might consider a very slow pace?
- Can you inspire a slow hiker who is physically and emotionally drained to continue?
- Are you willing to help 10 people hoist and adjust their packs after every rest stop?
- Will you do all camp chores (water filtration, tent set-up, cooking, cleaning) while participants
are learning to do these things?
- Can you handle loading your pack up with a tired hiker's personal items at the end of a long day?
- Are you OK escorting trip dropouts many miles to the nearest road and hiking back alone several miles to join the group?
- Can you shake-down a first time backpacker's gear and instruct them in proper usage?
- Can you anticipate clients' needs even before they are aware of these needs?
- Are you able to mediate disagreements among participants?
- Are you sensitive and compassionate? Can you put yourself in someone else's shoes?
- How is your disposition after 4 straight days of rain?
- How are you at predicting weather?
- Current Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT Certification (SOLO, WMA, WMI, NOLS)
- Current CPR / Basic Life Support Certification
- Versed in Leave No Trace principles, preferably certified as LNT Trainer or Master Educator
- Thorough knowledge of backpacking equipment
- At least 100 "bag nights" of backpacking / camping experience.
- Experience leading groups in an outdoor setting (preferably, but not necessarily backpacking). Leading NOLS, Ropes, Sea Kayaking, or
summer camp is OK, but leading a project development team in releasing an operating system isn't.
- Can backpack a minimum of 15 miles per day carrying 60 pounds
- Map & Compass Skills
- GPS Skills
- Valid driver's license
- An ability to relate to a wide variety of individuals
- Patience. Know how to listen.
- Certified Food Handler
- Excellent Cooking Skills
- Versed in nutrition and weight loss
- Difficult to upset
- MacGyver-like improvisational Skills
- Great sense of humor
- Good Videographer / Photographer
- Firebuilding Skills
- Knows some campfire activities
- Good Phone Skills
For Ultralighters Only
Many of you are no doubt ultralighters. You pride yourself on being able to hike
30 mile days with an 18 pound, 3300 cubic inch pack.
We have found that ultralighters typically like to evangelize their minimalism.
While this is fine, you should realize that the majority of our participants
have never slept outside in their lives, have never experienced total darkness, and have
never lived a day without electricity or plumbing. While you may be fine wearing a single
pair of pants for 2 weeks, some participants are freaked out by not being able to shampoo
their hair every day.
Because of this, we as a group tend to carry a lot more equipment than you would ever
consider carrying on your own. And when participants can no longer carry their own
loads, you may have to strap some of their equipment on your pack.
The point here is that when you guide with Fatpacking, you will be expected to give up
your ultralight pack and carry big, heavy loads as you are there to make things easy
on participants, not yourself.
How it works
To become a Fatpacking guide, we ask that you join us for a trip as an unpaid assistant.
If you are the type of person that we think would make an excellent guide, we will ask
you back for a future trip with pay.
We pay a pittance unfortunately, but there are worse things than getting paid to
backpack all day. We pay a set amount per week (up to $500 for your first 1-week paid trip,
more thereafter). This includes travel, lodging expenses, and all trail meals.
If you happen to have a flair or talent for marketing or a large social network,
we'd like to talk to you.