Backpacking FAQ

Q: Do I need to be an AMC member to register for a backpack trip?

Absolutely not. But we do encourage people to become members in order to help support all of the conservation, recreation, and educational programs that AMC offers and the volunteers that lead them. You can join online using the AMC Membership Application. The application form describes the different membership options.

Q: I just filled out the online pre-registration form. Does this mean I am automatically registered for the backpack trip?

No. The leader may have questions about your experience or need additional information from you in order to confirm that your ability level is suitable for the difficulty level of the trip. You must receive a confirmation from the leader that you have been accepted on the backpack trip. If you do not hear from the leader after one week of submitting the pre-registration form, call them or send them an email. It is possible that they did not receive your pre-registration form. Please don’t wait until the last minute before the trip is supposed to start.

Q: Can I just show up for a backpack trip?

No. You must pre-register in advance, either by filling out the online pre-registration form found in the backpack trip description or calling the leader at least a few days before the trip. The leader needs to confirm that your experience and ability is suitable for the difficulty level of the trip. In addition, there may be a limit to the number of participants due to trail regulations or group management preferences. Learn how to prepare with our Backpacking Gear List.

Q: Can I come along on the trip and do my own thing and not have to interact with other group members if I don’t want to?

No, AMC backpacking trips are a social affair where we are each trying to enjoy our time in the outdoors and learn more about the activity. It takes a team effort to reach the objective while looking out for each other’s safety and if there were ever an accident, all of the group’s efforts and resources will be needed to address the event in the most productive way possible.

Q: If I have to cancel out of the backpack trip, can I just send an email to the leader on the morning of the hike?

No. The leader may already be at the trailhead and not able to check email messages. If you must cancel, please CALL the leader as far in advance as possible, in case the leader can contact someone from the waiting list and have them join the trip.

Q: I keep finding a lot of the backpacking trips full or with waiting lists. How can I find out about the trips sooner?

You can bookmark the link for All Backpacking Trips. This produce a report of all backpacking trips currently on the schedule in date order. Check often as we are adding trips all the time. We also promote our trips including short notice ones on the backpackers Facebook group which you can find at: AMC Backpackers of NY-NoJ

Q: If I hike at a faster speed than other participants in the group, is it okay for me to hike at my own pace and move ahead of the group?

No. The group needs to stay fairly close together in case someone becomes injured or lost, so that the leader can manage the situation. The pace of the group is set by the slowest person. If you get frustrated moving at a slower pace, try to find more challenging backpack trips on the schedule that are more suitable to your ability level.

Q: I’m interested in becoming a backpacking leader. Who do I contact?

Send an email to the Backpacking Chair at

Q: I’d like to go on backpacking trips but I don’t have a car. Can I still come?

Leaders typically will assist participants in arranging carpooling both to help participants get to trailheads and to reduce our impact on the environment. Our general practice is that the cost of gas and tolls should be split equally among all the people in a vehicle. Some leaders require passengers to pay for 100% of the gas and tolls as the owner of the vehicle has that large investment to cover the cost of.

Q: I’d like to report a problem I had with a leader on the backpack I went on or I would like to thank someone in authority about how well that trip was run. How do I do that?

Please send an email to the Backpacking Chair at We value your feedback about how well our programs are running and want to address any shortcomings as quickly as possible. Please provide as much information as you can as well as a way to contact you to follow up. Thanks!