Bikepacking Camps

Watch “Wild Virtue” from our 2019 camp

Bikepacking camps have been
postponed until 2021

The Oregon League believes the mountain bike enables teens to be adventurous out in nature while establishing skills for self-reliance, preparation, responsibility,  and risk management. Attendees of this bikepacking camp will have the opportunity to enjoy the NICA programming we already provide plus allow them to camp, be creative, and ride together around the backcountry of Oregon.

These camps will be offered to middle and high school Oregon League riders and will take place in July in central Oregon. We’ll start the camp at Horse Creek Lodge and spend the first two days there demonstrating what to take on an overnight bikepacking trip, how to pack, how to filter water, how to make an alcohol stove, and how to make dehydrated meals. On Tuesday, we’ll be shuttled to the trail and ride around 15-20 miles to our campground in for the night. On Wednesday, we’ll wake up and make breakfast, casually pack up, and then ride the remaining portion of the trail into town where parents and guardians will meet us to pick up their riders.

If you have questions about this camp, get in touch with Heather Wolfgang:

How does bikepacking benefit Oregon’s youth?

The Oregon League aims to provide programming (aside from our race series) that allows youth to be outside on their bikes in a non-competitive environment. This bikepacking program will benefit our youth by:

  • Instilling resilience
    Hike-a-bike. Water sources. Layering for cold, wind, rain. Pushing through to the end. Bikepacking inherently instills resilience due to the nature of the beast and having to  to deal with whatever one encounters.
  • Demonstrating true accessibility to the outdoors
    The Oregon League will demonstrate that there is true accessibility to the outdoors by showing youth how to build their own equipment, how to rent items available at local stores, and how to make meals based on bulk items from regular grocery stores. The outdoors is for everybody!
  • Exposing youth to trail stewardship firsthand
    We are fortunate to have the Oregon Timber Trail (OTT) here. It’s 669 miles and spans the entire height of Oregon, following the Cascade Range from the northern section of Oregon to the top portion of California. These trails have been maintained by stewards of OTT, some of whom will be joining us at the camp. Being a mountain biker means being a land steward, and our attendees will learn, ride, and see what the hard work of trail stewards in Oregon provides for the mountain biking audience.
  • Inviting creativity
    Unexpected things are likely to happen on a bikepacking trip. A broken pedal. Disabled zipper. Newfound blisters. Things like this beg for creativity to find a solution, and gets some solid problem-solving theories to be tried and tested. Some of these issues may have very obvious answers, but either way, it will give riders a platform to find what works for them in their experience.
  • Deepening the heart’s connection with nature
    There are numerous studies (like this APA one or this one from Science Daily) that show that being outdoors improves psychological health. With the demands on our youth to perform well in school, to keep up with social pressures and images (offline and online), and to combat obesity, it’s critical that we find ways to deepen their young hearts with a connection to nature to keep them moving and happy.Note: CDC statistics show that teen suicide rates are higher than ever. From 2006-2016, American youth suicide rates from ages 12-18 went up 100% in girls and 50% in boys. These stats are a symptom of something horribly wrong with our current system, culture, and society – but there is hope. CDC cites, “While its [suicide] causes are complex and determined by multiple factors, the goal of suicide prevention is this: Reduce factors that increase risk (i.e. risk factors) and increase factors that promote resilience (i.e. protective factors). Ideally, prevention addresses all levels of influence: individual, relationship, community, and societal.” All of our programming, and especially this camp, directly connects to these preventative methods.