You have questions, we have answers.
Frequently asked questions
Is Backcountry Unlimited for me?
Backcountry Unlimited participants are fun, enthusiastic and respectful individuals who are excited to try new things! Our small group sizes (maximum of 13 participants and 2 Trip Leaders) ensure that our community is cohesive and safe. The Backcountry Unlimited way of life is incredible, fantastic and phenomenal. Our goal is that your Backcountry Unlimited outing will become the best decision of your life.
How do I sign up?
Contact Backcountry Unlimited: Seven days a week, we encourage your calls or e-mails to answer your questions. Or simply click on the Escape Now button to register.
Interview: A ten-minute phone interview is required. This ensures your best experience.
Contact Us Again and Again! We understand and embrace our responsibility to answer your questions. It is our goal to exceed your expectations for communication.
What is included in each trip package?
There is no need to be a Gearhead to successfully travel with Backcountry Unlimited. You should be able to fully participate with very little to no additional expense. Enrollment includes accommodation, activities, transportation, meals, and group and specialized gear such as tents, stoves, cookware, climbing harness, PFD’s etc. Some of the best raincoats are simple trash bags. Our clothing list (included in each trip’s participation packet) do differ from one trip to the next. A complete packing list specific to your trip will be sent to you.
What is NOT incuded?
Round trip airfare, personal medical insurance, Trip Leader and Adventure Partner tips and personal items listed on the packing list are not included with the tuition cost.
What about spending money?
You should bring $50 for every week you’ll be on your Backcountry Unlimited Trip. Spending money will cover souvenirs, personal items, gratuities, and impulse purchases. We recommend you bring cash, or an ATM card. Yes, ATM machines are accessible on every Backcountry Unlimited trip. We will assist anyone who needs currency conversion upon arrival.
What will my first day be like?
Your Backcountry Unlimited Trip Leaders will meet you and your fellow adventurers at the airport of your arrival city. Please wear your Backcountry Unlimited tee shirt to make connecting in the airport easy. Many of our teens meet each other during their layover between flights. Once at your final destination there will be lots of new faces but don’t worry, after a few silly ice breakers and a good meal together you’ll have made new friends. The first night all Backcountry Unlimited participants will stay near the arrival city airport (in case of flight delays) either in a hostel or a beautiful campsite. We begin by learning about each other and introducing the new skills necessary for our first adventure: climbing, hiking, rafting, etc. Regardless of what that first adventure is, we will teach and empower you to learn awesome skills that might even develop into a newfound passion. On all of our trips, we’ll start with introductory activities and as you progress and gain greater comfort, we’ll teach you more technical skills. Every day of your trip will have a new adventure and be devoted to activities such as rafting, kayaking, bicycling, and rock climbing. Backcountry Unlimited will teach you the skills necessary to be successful and help you perfect those you already have.
What kind of experience will I need to participate?
No experience is necessary for Backcountry Unlimited programs. Backcountry Unlimited’s mission is to show people the wonders of the outdoors while teaching new skills and creating a deep connection to our wild places. We pride ourselves on our ability to accommodate all experience levels and make our adventures fun for everyone. As long as you are willing to try new things Backcountry Unlimited Trip Leaders will enthusiastically meet you at your experience level.
What skills will I need?
Activities that require special instruction are led by our professional Adventure Partners. Our Adventure Partners join our groups with the expertise and equipment necessary to provide the highest level of safe, fun instruction suitable for all skill levels.
Are Backcountry Unlimited Trip Leaders trained?
Once hired all our Trip Leaders take part in a detailed training program to continually develop their skills. Our staff’s professionalism and dedication to safety is a point of pride for Backcountry Unlimited! Here at Backcountry Unlimited we believe you can never be too safe. Before our staff is hired we screen and background check everyone in detail.
What if my family needs to contact me?
Our office is reachable by phone and e-mail 24 hours a day. All problems are handled immediately and the family is always contacted directly. Participants call home upon arrival and again mid-way through the trip to check-in.
What are the safety standards?
Backcountry Unlimited is certified by all state (Arizona) and local agencies. We also have all the correct permits and insurance required to operate.
What is the group size?
Small group size is what makes Backcountry Unlimited special and allows for bonding and meaningful connections. Most of our programs enroll between 8 and 13 teens. If it happens that your child is the only male or female teen on a trip, we will advise you of this prior to the adventure. If there are a small number of teens on a trip, we will contact participants and seek to place them in an alternative appropriate trip. If an appropriate alternative is not found, all fees will be refunded.
Does Backcountry Unlimited ever change trip itineraries?
Our intention is to follow our itineraries as precisely as possible. However, various factors may necessitate a schedule change. If an activity or area is altered for any reason, it will be replaced with a comparable substitute. The Backcountry Unlimited staff has put a massive amount of effort into planning fun, adventurous, appropriately challenging, and eye-opening experiences for our participants. Every effort will be made to run trips as planned but alterations are sometimes necessary and unavoidable for the health, safety, and enjoyment of the participants. We expect our teens, and their families, to be flexible in the face of unforeseen changes and to take advantage of any unexpected opportunities that might arise.
How will we travel?
Backcountry Unlimited travels from place to place in new passenger vans with equipment trailers. We may also occasionally use ferries or planes as well depending on the trip. Regardless of how we travel, our goal is to spend the majority of our time adventuring not traveling from one place to another.
Where will we sleep?
Sleep? Sleeping is easy and you’ll sleep like a baby because you’ll be so busy doing fun daytime activities. All our trips are a mix of sleeping in our two to three person tents and staying in hostels. All tents and hostel rooms are single gender.
In an effort to eliminate distractions among the group and to promote engagement in the Backcountry Unlimited experience, personal electronic devices, such as iPods, iPhones, iPads, handheld gaming devices, cell phones, etc., are prohibited on all of our programs. Digital cameras and GoPros are acceptable. If your teen travels with a cell phone, it will be collected by their leaders and held until the end of the program. We do encourage teens to bring a cell phone if they are traveling alone in order to easily communicate with their parent(s)/guardian(s) and the Backcountry Unlimited office should their travel plans change. Backcountry Unlimited will not be held responsible for any electronic devices that are lost, damaged, or stolen.
What will we eat?
Without a doubt, great food is essential. Cooking as a group in amazing places is an experience filled with laughter. Every few days we will shop as a group. Participants will be divided into cooking teams and you and your new friends will have the opportunity to make a tasty meal for everyone to enjoy. Common meals made include: chicken/vegetable fajitas, burritos, pizza, pasta, pancakes and even Dutch oven brownies.
Backcountry Unlimited recognizes that the number of people with life-threatening allergies has increased considerably over the last few years and protecting them from exposure to allergens is the most important way to prevent life-threatening anaphylaxis. Most anaphylactic reactions occur when a person is accidentally exposed to a substance to which he/she is allergic, such as foods, medicines, insects and latex. Because of the life-threatening nature of these allergies Backcountry Unlimited has created policies to ensure the safety of every person who attends a Backcountry Unlimited trip.
What is expected of participants?
Backcountry Unlimited wants you to have the time of your life on the trip of your choice. To do so, you will need to arrive both mentally and physically prepared. How much you enjoy your experience will be directly related to how well conditioned you are. If you are not playing sports currently, we strongly suggest you prepare with a regular jogging, bicycling or swimming program.
Will I need a passport or visa?
A passport is required for all international trips (outside the USA). Make two photocopies of your passport, leave one at home and carry one tucked away in your luggage. Your original passport will be held by your Trip Leader for safe keeping. Visa requirements vary by country and Backcountry Unlimited will notify you if one is required. Non-USA students must check local visa requirements.
Will I need a physical and/or country vaccinations?
Contact your family physician or your local travel clinic for the most up-to-date health information. We will tell you about any required vaccinations or precautions for the country that you are visiting.
What about travel insurance?
WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND TRIP CANCELLATION/TRIP INTERRUPTION INSURANCE, which covers your cost if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip for medical reasons, trip delay, lost baggage, and other unforeseen emergencies. In order to avoid disappointment and expense in the event that you must cancel your trip we strongly urge you to purchase some type of insurance coverage.
What are the terms of payment or refund policy?
A deposit fee is required with your Backcountry Unlimited application. Backcountry Unlimited is unable to secure your reservation until both the application and deposit have been processed. Your deposit will be applied directly towards your total tuition. Final tuition payments are due 10 days before the program departs. Backcountry Unlimited reserves the right to cancel unpaid applications.
Along with the registration fee, there are additional forms required to complete the application process.
Cancellation charges reflect the many expenses Backcountry Unlimited cannot recover, even if you cancel due to illness, injury, or personal emergencies. These fees are not meant to be punitive. The charges made reflect the expenses Backcountry Unlimited has incurred in administering your reservation and planning for your participation. We recognize that the majority of those who cancel their reservations do so out of necessity. Please note that we do not make any refunds for any unused portion of your trip, not arriving, arriving late, or leaving the trip early.
To qualify for any refunds, we must receive notification in writing, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your cancellation date is the date the notice is received by Backcountry Unlimited in writing by email. Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason. In the unfortunate event that you must cancel your trip, your refund will be determined according to the following formula:
Days prior to departure Refund
90+ days: All but $50.00 processing fee
90 - 30 days: All but deposit
30 days or less: No refund
Backcountry Unlimited reserves the right to cancel or alter a trip due to unforeseen weather, unsafe conditions, low registration or other circumstances. On the rare occasion that Backcountry Unlimited must cancel a trip, all payments received to date will be refunded, including the non-refundable portion of your deposit. Backcountry Unlimited is not responsible for expenses incurred in preparation for any canceled trips, including but not limited to airplane tickets, gear, etc.