Trail Mavens


Skill-based camping and backpacking trips for groups of extraordinary women. Ready to build fires, read maps, pitch tents, hike, laugh, and drink wine around the campfire? Join one of our weekend adventures.

yosemite backpacking
trip details

Wahoo! We're so pumped you're registered for one of our backpacking adventures to Yosemite National Park.

While you'll find most of the info you need to prepare for your trip on this page, we'll email you the week of the trip with final details about our meeting spot, carpools, and bios from the other rad ladies who'll be joining you.

backcountry camping

We'll be sleeping in the Yosemite backcountry!

We can pitch our tents wherever we want to within the bounds of Leave No Trace principles (choosing spots more than 200 feet away from trails and water, and trying to find spots that already look impacted).

We'll gather water from lakes and streams and purify it for drinking, and dig holes in the ground to poop in.


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Lunch / dinner on Day 1, breakfast / lunch / dinner on Day 2, and breakfast / lunch on Day 3 will be provided. The group will share in cooking and cleanup responsibilities. Please arrive on Day 1 with breakfast and coffee already in your bellies!

We’ll eat tasty hot meals for breakfast and dinner. Each Maven will create her own ‘snack bag’ at the start of the trip, with dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, jerky, granola bars, etc. To keep our energy up, we’ll snack throughout the day on trail, rather than having a single lunch meal. We’ll have more than enough snacks for you (think: bars, nuts, dried fruit, jerky for meat eaters) but if you’ve got any favorite trail treats, feel free to bring them.

bear awareness

Between 300 and 500 black bears call Yosemite home, and Trail Mavens takes every precaution when traveling in bear country by storing food, drinks, toiletries, and trash in bear-resistant containers. 

While it's unlikely we'll spot a bear on our trip (we'd be lucky if we did!) you can be prepared by reading Yosemite's brief on bears. No one has ever been killed or seriously injured by a bear in Yosemite National Park. For more information on bear-resistant food containers and packing, click here.

Packing List

Our group will pack together before setting off on the trail. In addition to your personal items, you'll carry some group gear and group food. Your leader will teach a packing lesson, and help you decide which gear to carry and whether you may have brought something extra. 

As noted above, Yosemite is bear country, and we must store anything scented in our bear-resistant canisters, including toiletries. The canisters have limited space, so plan to leave behind non-essentials. We recommend toothpaste, a toothbrush, contact lens supplies (if needed), and lip balm (if needed).

The group will share sunscreen, insect repellent, and hand sanitizer. Feel free to bring those on the trip, but we may end up leaving yours in a bear-proof locker at the trailhead. Please do not bring deodorant, makeup, or large packs of disposable wipes. 

Each Trail Maven should plan on packing the following items.


  • Lightweight shoes/sandals for hanging out at our campsite that can be worn with socks (like Crocs/Tevas/Chacos rather than flip-flops)

  • Health insurance card & ID

  • Tampons/pads/Diva Cup as needed

  • Toothbrush/mini toothpaste

  • Personal medications

  • Glasses/contacts with solution

  • A pen

  • Field Notes notebook (Trail Mavens alumnae only)

  • Optional: hiking poles (esp. if you have knee issues), lightweight backpacking pillow, earplugs, camera, bandana or Buff to keep sun off your neck, small bottle hand sanitizer, mosquito face net (the mosquitoes are especially bad this summer due to the wet winter!)

  • Sleeping bag rated at 30° or colder

  • Sleeping pad

  • Headlamp with fresh batteries/spares

  • 60L backpack (or larger) with rain fly

  • Sleeping bag liner (if borrowing a Trail Mavens sleeping bag)

  • Backpacking bowl, mug, and utensil (a Tupperware bowl, heat-proof cup or mug, and any fork/spoon/spork set is just fine!)

  • Personal clothing (see below)

  • Sturdy, broken-in walking shoes

  • Water bottles and/or hydration bladder with a minimum 2L capacity (we prefer a bladder to drink out of while hiking, and a separate water bottle to drink out of at camp)

  • Sunscreen/sun hat/sunglasses

Items in bold will be provided for those women who indicated they needed them during registration. 

SHARED ITEMS, PROVIDED BY TRAIL MAVENS: Tents, food, bear-resistant canisters, stoves, fuel, cookware, camp chairs, utensils, and basic First Aid. 


This trip is a great opportunity to practice your minimalist packing skills! In all cases, please avoid cotton (i.e. no cotton socks, no cotton sweatshirts/sweatpants). We recommend the following:


  • One wool/synthetic shirt (no tanks due to shoulder chafing) [example]

  • One 'relaxing at camp & sleeping' tee (the one exception to the cotton rule!)

  • One synthetic long-sleeved lightweight shirt [example]


  • One pair shorts or capris for hiking during the day (your choice)

  • One pair leggings or long underwear for warmth at night (we love fleece-lined leggings or wool long underwear) [example]

  • One pair warm long pants for warmth at night (we love fleece pants) [example]


  • One synthetic long-sleeved wool or fleece mid-layer, ideally with hood [example]

  • One down puffy jacket or similar, ideally with hood [example]

  • Waterproof jacket (mandatory) and pants (recommended) [example]

  • Warm hat [example]

  • Lightweight gloves [example]


  • Three pairs socks (two pairs thin wool/synthetic for hiking, one pair thick wool/synthetic for nighttime)

  • One or two pairs underwear

  • One or two sportsbras

  • Swimsuit (if the weather is warm enough and the lakes look appealing)


  • A clean set of clothes to change into for the drive home! You'll leave these in the car so they're waiting for you when we leave.

Weather & Conditional Packing

Click here for the Yosemite weather forecast as we approach our trip! Note that weather at high altitudes is changeable, and storms can roll in quickly.

Since everybody is different, it’s up to YOU to check out the weather forecast and judge your personal comfort levels, and plan accordingly! Please use your own judgement when packing: if you’re always cold, pack heavier extra layers (i.e., leggings to go under pants).


Except in the most extreme cases, we run trips rain or shine! If rain or snow is in the forecast, here's what you should be bringing in addition to the items in the packing list above:

  • Waterproof rain jacket (you should bring this on every trip regardless of forecast)

  • Waterproof rain pants

  • Waterproof hiking boots (tennis shoes or trail runners should NOT be worn on rainy trips)

  • Three pairs of wool socks (one pair on your feet, one pair that's dry and ready to change into, and one pair that might be drying off from an earlier hike)

  • Rain cover for your backpack, if you have one (we'll provide trash bags for anyone who doesn't have a cover, but the real deal is always best)

  • As much wool, synthetic fleece, or down layers as possible, and as little cotton as possible (cotton won't keep you dry or warm enough in rainy weather)

Leave No Trace

Trail Mavens is committed to following and teaching Leave No Trace principles. To get you started, watch this video on LNT Outdoor Ethics from the National Parks Service. 


Trail Mavens often enjoy wine or whiskey together in the evenings. Participation in drinking is welcome but of course not mandatory.

We ask that Trail Mavens leave recreational drugs at home. If you’re a smoker, please be respectful and partake in a manner that doesn’t bother other group members, and adheres to Leave No Trace principles.


This is an internet-free weekend (plus, we won’t have cell service)! If you’d like to share your pics on social media, go for it, but only after we get backhome. Then, feel free to go crazy tagging @trailmavens on Instagram or Twitter.

Gear Care

Trail Mavens provides its adventurers with $800-1000 of fantastic backpacking gear. Read on for a couple tips on how to keep gear in fantastic condition:

Your tent is your home for the weekend, so you want to keep it clean and tidy! Keep the door zipped shut unless you’re getting in or out. Consume only water inside your tent to keep it scent-free, and store anything smelly, including toiletries, in a bear canister. High-end tent fabric is very delicate; keep shoes and anything else dirty or sharp outside.

Set up your sleeping bag inside your tent to keep both your bag and your tent clean.

Our pads are inflatable, meaning they’re a) quite comfortable and b) can pop if they meet a sharp rock. Be sure to unpack, inflate, deflate, and pack your pad inside your tent, away from anything sharp. This will ensure a comfortable night of sleep for you and a clean tent.

Make sure to remove all food, trash, and scented items from your pack as soon as we arrive at our campsite.


Whether this is your first or fortieth backpacking trip, here are a few tips to make sure you're prepared mentally and physically to backpack in Yosemite:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! We dehydrate more quickly at altitude. Start off on the right foot by drinking a lot of water starting the day before your trip, and thinking about drinking even more than you would ordinarily while out on the trail.

  • The sun's more powerful at altitude; bring plenty of sunscreen with a high SPF (we love sticks like these for their small size and weight).

  • If you've never been backpacking before, consider going on a few training hikes carrying a weighted pack before our adventure. You'll be carrying 30-35 lbs. on your back, and it's good to know what that feels like!

    You can load your pack with water bottles, canned food, and bags of rice to begin to approximate backpacking weight.

Still scratching your head about something before the trip?