Chesapeake Bay Sea Kayaking & Appalachian Backpacking


The Chesapeake Bay: the largest estuary in the nation, is the meeting point where 400 rivers, creeks and streams spanning from NY to VA all travel to the Atlantic Ocean.  It boasts 4,600 miles of tidal shoreline perfect for kayaking. Settled by the Powhatan Indians and first explored by Captain John Smith in the 1600’s, history and nature intersect in the Chesapeake Bay to create a place with endless potential for discovery.

The Appalachian Trail: America’s Favorite trail; the Appalachian Trail is a footpath that runs from Georgia to Maine, and is the crowned jewel of trails in the US. Students will Backpack for five days in the wilderness of the western Maryland and southern Pennsylvania while learning important values of teamwork, perseverance, and their abilities as leaders.


Your course starts at the Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School where you’ll meet your teammates and prepare your expedition gear with your instructors. Your instructors will help you re-pack your gear into dry bags we provide. The first night will be filled with introductions, both to your team and to your equipment.   Depending on the conditions, you might paddle, swim or spend some time sitting around your first campfire as you enjoy your first trail-meal together.  As nightfalls and after evening meeting it’s probably time for bed.  Crawl into your tents and sleeping bags and start getting used to the sounds of the Bay and forest as you drift off to sleep for the night.

Over the next 12 days  you’ll learn to pack everything you need into your boats, make sure your kayak is fitted to your body and practice rescue and paddle techniques. When you transition to backpacking you’ll trade in your water gear for trail gear. You’ll learn to wear the proper clothing, pack your backpack so it is comfortable, and read a map for direction. You’ll learn how to hike, set-up camp, cook camp meals, and navigate with a map and compass. You and your crew will encounter a splendid real rock outcrop along the Appalachian Trail and spend a day trying to get to the top. As you and your team overcome numerous expedition challenges, you’ll also develop a greater belief in yourself and trust in one another.  Successful completion of your course will require more than the mastery of technical skills; teamwork will prove to be as important as everything else combined.

Towards the end of your expedition you’ll have your Solo experience.  Solo is an opportunity to practice the skills you’ve learned and reflect on your expedition.  You’ll set-up your own shelter and spend some time reflecting on your experience.  Your instructors will check-in on you, but don’t be surprised if you’re doing just fine without any help.  The self-reliance you practice during your solo can be one of the most profound and rewarding aspects of your expedition.

After Solo and final challenges you’ll exit the wilderness and make your way back to the Baltimore base.  You’ll clean up and return your equipment and then enjoy a piping hot shower, perhaps the most memorable and enjoyable shower of your life, before joining your group for a graduation ceremony to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished.


Sea Kayaking


Rock Climbing

Expedition Style Travel and Camping

Outdoor Camp Cooking

Basic Survival Skills

Navigation with Map and Compass

VHF Radio Use

Rules & Regulations in the Marine Environment

Leave No Trace ethics