Frequently Asked Questions

Never hesitate to ask us any question that you have … nothing is off limits. We walk, sleep, eat, pee and poop outside. We may be creating the first of many experiences of a lifetime for you … make sure you are comfortable with what we have to tell you!

Learn more about our COVID Policies and Restrictions.

As of July 2020, our basecamp is located in Derby, Vermont.  We travel to various locations in the country for backpacking adventures, as well as training and workshop offerings.  

Each of our offerings are listed on the website under the Featured Offerings page and include a payment option.  Skills training, such as first aid or land navigation, are scheduled based upon available dates and require inquiring with us prior to registration to confirm availability.  Any dedicated dates for you or your organization are just for your group.

For customized adventures, we encourage you to have a conversation with us to discuss your goals and expectations and we will prepare a Summary of Opportunity. Refer to the Customized Offerings page.

Price includes all essential equipment and gear. Essential equipment includes, but is not limited to, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, water filter, stove and fuel.  Backpacks, though traditionally the final piece of gear you would purchase, are not provided.

Price includes all in the field meals. Hungry you will not be! In the field meals begins with lunch on the first day and concludes with lunch on the last day (unless listed otherwise). Meals consists of vegetarian fare with organic components. This includes bulk staple foods such as: rice, pasta, cheese, dried beans, nuts and dried fruits. You will have ample choices from which to choose.

Our offerings are not cookie cutter offerings. Instead, we customize and tailor your adventure to meet and exceed your goals, work winthin your fitness and experience level. We aren’t going to make the adventure easy, we want to test the edges but you will be successful. To customize your adventure we will prepare a Summary of Opportunity that provides an exceptional overview of what you can expect.

No problem. We reserve dates on a first request, first reserve basis. You just have to tell us when you want to go.  The per day pricing is a tad higher – but, you expect that increase.

We do not want you to have to purchase stuff to have an outdoor experience. We would rather you learn from the items we provide and when you go to the gear store to make purchases you do so with a strategy and plan to buy only what you need and not what the salesperson wants you to buy.  Most of the clothing items you need will already be in your closet. Once your dates are confirmed you will receive a booklet with required items. And, we always have extra stuff in our closet too!

No problem. Each adventure has its own specially designed menu based upon a questionnaire you complete weeks before the start of your trip. You are asked to review the menu prior to the hike and modifications can be made at that time.

That is entirely up to you. We can recommend accommodations based upon your specific overnight requirements. Remember, the Meet and Greet is the night before departure. Sometimes the Meet and Greet takes two hours, sometimes five hours.

That is entirely up to you but a car rental may be in your best interest. We are unable to refer any transportation or shuttle service.

Specific extended hikes will often incorporate airport pick up and drop off for group ease.

For the safety of our clients, Step Outdoors discourages the use of drugs or alcohol prior to your participating in our offerings. Drugs nor alcohol is tolerated while in the field.  In several states where we guide there are retail establishments for marijuana purchases.  It is still a federal violation to have on your person, or use, marijuana on public lands.  Please do not try the baked goods or weed flavors before your adventure.  And, for goodness sake, if you do, don’t eat two brownies!  We do not tolerate your impaired judgment from the use of marijuana while in the backcountry.  

Likewise, for the safety of you and your hiking partners, please do not bring firearms or pets.

At Step Outdoors we understand that most people feel more comfortable having their phone but, we ask that you leave your cell phone in its “off” capacity throughout your hike. Please do not put your Trip Leader in the position of having to ask you to get off your phone.  Frankly, it just pisses us off.

Step Outdoors believes in the value of Leave No Trace for outdoor enthusiasts as a set of ethics, not a set of rules. As a set of seven principles, each promotes and inspires responsible outdoor recreation – a common courtesy and hospitality to other visitors. Each of these principles is discussed and practiced as a part of every adventure we lead.  Click here to read more about Leave No Trace.

For any of our Colorado or northern New Mexico offerings it is important that you acclimate prior to departure from the trailhead.  Build into your itinerary a couple of days exploring local sights to assist with this acclimatization.   Drink lots of water, minimize your caffeine and alcohol use and be patient with yourself.

If you are accustomed to hiking out west, New England hiking and backpacking will be much more challenging.  First, there exists more water – lots more water.  From access to fill your water bottle to puddles and thick muddy muck on the trail.  Secondly, trails are rugged and riddled with rocks, roots, moss and fern and are not graded for stock which means they are more likely to climb quickly up and quickly down.  

If you decide to wear running style shoes for any of our New England offerings you will be expected to hike in the middle of the trail.  Your feet will be wet.  You are encouraged to wear gaiters.  

We like to hide our eyes, kick the dirt and say, “Ahh, that isn’t necessary,” but deep down inside we really wish you would.

Yes, a lengthy one.  Ask us and we will provide you with a list of names and phone numbers.

Yes, we understand that word of mouth is the best acknowledgment we can receive and most of our business comes from friends recommending to friends. We reward any individual who has referred us and the result has been a booking and participation in our offerings.

We hope you don’t want to cancel your adventure but if you do, our cancellation and refund policy reflects the investment in time and purchases related to each offering. Every registered participant fee includes a $100 non-refundable application fee.  Occasionally there will be a designed trip that will have a higher non-refundable application fee.

Refunds are given in accordance to the following guidelines, unless noted differently on a specific offering:

  • 75 days, or less, before course start date: 100% of course fee, minus the non-refundable application fee.
  • Less than 75 days and up to 45 days: 75% of course fee, minus the non-refundable application fee.
  • 45 days, or less, and up to 30 days: No refund, but 50% of the course fee can be credited towards another course offered within the next 12 months.
  • 30 days, or less:  No refund or course credit.

Extended adventures or adventures designed out of the traditional use area of Step Outdoors, require special permitting application and fees and will require a higher non-refundable application fee. These trips are designed specifically for an individual or group of persons with a per person rate in congruence with being in the field for the time designed. Individuals who withdraw from an extended trip, once it has begun, receives no refund or course credit and are responsible for their own lodging, meals and transportation when not in the field. Further, the cancelling individual is responsible for any and all costs of lodging and meals of the Trip Leader, or their designee, needed or required because of individual withdraw.

We hope you don’t want to cancel your single-day training or workshop, but if you do, our cancellation and refund policy reflects the investment in time and purchases related to each offering. Our day offerings include a $25 non-refundable reservation fee. Refunds are given in accordance to the following guidelines:

  • More than 72 hours: 100% of registration fee, minus the non-refundable reservation fee.
  • Less than 72 hours: No refund or course credit.