GDTA Spring 2021 Webinars

by Charlene Deck

This spring, the Outreach Committee presented two webinars to help hikers prepare for the trails this summer: one on trip planning and safety and one on gear selection.

Trip Planning and Safety

Keri Bowzaylo, an ultra-runner, fitness professional, and apprentice interpretive guide, showed us how to plan a multi-day hike with safety and self-reliance in mind. She shared resources for setting up an itinerary and discussed the safety measures and equipment needed to ensure a successful journey. Keri will apply these principles when she runs, then backpacks on the GDT this summer.


Gear Selection

The Gear Webinar provided a look into the packs of three hikers with distinctly different approaches to backpacking and gear selection. Through these perspectives, we learned how gear choices are influenced not only by the objective but also by the intended experience on the trail.


Jeff Schroeder, who supplied the ultralight viewpoint, has completed most of the GDT and numerous multi-day treks in the Pacific Northwest. Jeff prefers to travel in the most minimalistic way possible without sacrificing the basic comforts needed for recovery. This simple approach allows him to comfortably spend long days on the trail and be immersed in the environments through which he’s moving.

webinars_2Ultralight backpack

Charlene Deck is a two-time GDT thru-hiker who has been exploring the Rockies through backpacking adventures for decades. She shared a set-up that aims to strike a balance between comfort on the trail and comfort in camp for trips of various lengths. Her version of balance means never compromising on gear that will keep her warm, choosing simplicity over convenience, and knowing when good enough is good enough.

webinars_3Thru-hiker “lodging”

Robert MacLaine is a GDTA board member and backcountry equestrian guide who plans to ride the GDT. When he’s on his feet, he enjoys exploring off-trail as well as spending time in camp. Robert’s gear choices reflected his preference that backcountry travel be comfortable rather than merely tolerable. He acknowledges this may mean carrying more weight, but if that weight provides significant comfort and satisfaction, it’s worth it.

webinars_4Loaded down with trail comforts

Missed Either Webinar?

You can check out notes from the Trip Planning and Safety Webinar and the video presentation from the Gear Webinar below.

Trip Planning and Safety Notes

Click to view Trip Planning and Safety Notes

  • 0:06 – Robert MacLaine
  • 12:45 – Charlene Deck
  • 24:40 – Jeff Schroeder

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