At Overland, the goal is always fun, friends, challenge and accomplishment. One of the keys to achieving this goal is to try new things with the support of your group and your leaders—and that’s what Northwest Adventure is all about.
We’ll start with day hikes in the beautiful Oregon wilderness. Cape Lookout State Park, Tillamook State Forest and Oswald West State Park offer us the perfect combination of coastal and forest landscapes for exploration. We’ll focus on building our fitness, getting to know each other and playing games on the trail.
Next, we will hop into sea kayaks. With local guides leading the way, we’ll learn new skills and view the area and its wildlife from the water. For many, if not all of the group, it will be the first time in sea kayaks. That’s okay—we’ll learn and grow together (and have fun and chat and sing and laugh, too!).
The adventure continues with Crater Lake and a rafting trip. Having built up our strength and become closer as a group, we’ll be ready for more challenging hikes in the renowned Crater Lake National Park. We’ll also be ready to try rafting on the Deschutes River—a fun and exciting way to end our trip.
After two weeks, we’ll have met our goals. We’ll have tried new things, we’ll have built new friendships, we’ll have become stronger and more confident as individuals and as a group. And that, ultimately, is what Northwest Adventure—and Overland—is all about.
I have the utmost confidence in your organization and its trip leaders to take care of my child.
- Natalie Green Giles, Brooklyn, New York
Day 1: Trip Start
Once everyone has arrived, we will drive to Cape Lookout State Park and go for a short hike, settle into our campsite and start preparing for two weeks of hiking and adventure in the beautiful state of Oregon. We will learn about our trip itinerary, get to know one another and cook our first meal together.
Days 2-4: Explore Tillamook State Forest
During our first three days, we will go on day hikes in Cape Lookout State Park, Tillamook State Forest and Oswald West State Park near the northern Oregon coast. We will take these first few hikes slowly, building fitness and teamwork. We’ll hike as a group, swapping stories and playing games, as we adjust to walking on new trails.
Day 5: Kayak the Coast
From the trails of Tillamook we will move to the coast and kayak with local guides to explore the landscape and wildlife of the surrounding area.
Days 6-10: Hike Crater Lake National Park
After dipping our feet in the water, we will move inland and explore Crater Lake National Park. Here we will build off the strength we built on our initial hikes to gain elevation and take in breathtaking views of Crater Lake and the surrounding mountain ranges.
Day 11: Raft the Deschutes River
To wrap up our trip, we will take in the beautiful scenery while rafting the Deschutes River. The river will provide us the chance to see wildlife on the shores and travel through a new part of the state.
Day 12: Trip End
After rafting, we will return to Portland to celebrate our two weeks together of exploration, adventure and accomplishment in the beautiful state of Oregon.
12 nights of frontcountry camping with access to bathroom facilities.
Things to know
- We travel light on Overland trips; please only bring items on your packing list.
- Please do not bring any electronics (including your cell phone). See FAQs for more information on our cell phone and electronics policy.
- Your group will have access to laundry periodically.
- Do not bring any type of knife or multi-tool (such as a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool).
- There are no reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen items.
- Please wear the navy Overland shirt that you will receive from the Overland office to your trip start location.
- Medium-Sized Duffel Bag or Backpack
3,000-5,000 cubic inch (50-80 liters) duffel bag. You will leave the duffel bag and any extra items in our van during the trip and use your day pack for hikes and daily activities.
- Fleece Pants (1)
Please do not bring cotton sweatpants (they are heavy and bulky and will not keep you warm if wet).
- Synthetic Long Underwear Top & Bottom (1)
- Synthetic Shorts (2)
- Navy Overland Shirt (1)
We will send students an Overland shirt prior to their trip, and we encourage students to wear their Overland shirt to trip start. We highly recommend this for students flying to their trip start location.
- Synthetic T-Shirt (3)
Short-sleeve T-shirt or tank top.
- Long-Sleeve T-Shirt (3)
Lightweight for sun protection.
- Underwear (6)
- Athletic Socks (pair) (6)
- Winter Hat (1)
- Pajamas (optional)
Students sometimes prefer to sleep in shorts and a T-shirt instead of bringing pajamas.
- Gloves or Mittens (pair)
To stay warm in camp on cool nights.
- Hat with Visor (1)
For protection from the sun. Baseball hats are acceptable.
- Fleece Jacket or Pullover (1)
Medium to heavyweight and reasonably compact.
- Packable Synthetic or Down Jacket (1)
Lightweight, compressible, synthetic (Primaloft or similar) or down jacket. Full zip or 1/4 zip are acceptable.
- Waterproof Raincoat (1)
Waterproof material required (not just water resistant). Rain coats provide protection from wind and rain and serve as an extra warm layer. Your jacket should be large enough to allow layers underneath. We recommend hoods and breathable materials. Gore-Tex is a well-known waterproof and breathable fabric but there are many other quality fabrics. Ponchos are not acceptable.
- Waterproof Rain Pants (1)
Waterproof material required (not just water resistant). Rain pants provide protection from wind and rain and serve as an extra warm layer.
- Day Pack
Basic two-shoulder backpack large enough to hold your lunch, two water bottles, snacks, extra layers and rain jacket. Use your day pack as a carry-on for your flight and for daily activities or hikes. A standard school backpack is usually fine (no satchels or shoulder bags).
- Sleeping Bag
A lightweight, compact sleeping bag rated to 30 degrees Fahrenheit or less. We recommend either synthetic or treated down material. Your sleeping bag should compress into a stuff sack no larger than 20" in length.
- Sleeping Pad
Full- or ¾-length compact sleeping pad. We recommend closed cell foam that is thin and firm (e.g., RidgeRest) or self-inflating (e.g., Therm-a-Rest).
- Flashlight or Headlamp & Extra Batteries (1)
Headlamps are preferable because they free up your hands.
- Water Bottle (1)
One 1-liter bottle (a smaller size is acceptable).
- Bowl, Mug & Utensils
6" to 8" plastic dish or bowl with top, insulated plastic mug, spoon, fork and knife. These don't need to be special camping utensils (a Tupperware dish and regular utensils are fine).
- Sneakers (pair)
Comfortable shoes to wear on daily activities. Shoes should be supportive and have a good tread on the bottom for traction.
- Water Shoes
Closed-toed sport sandals, water shoes or old sneakers to wear on the water.
- Unaccompanied Minor Fee Receipt (if applicable)
For students travelling as Unaccompanied Minors, please print a copy of the UAM fee receipt for your child's leaders to keep on file.
- Baggage Fee Receipt (if applicable)
Some airlines allow passengers to input credit card information to cover checked bag service charges when checking in online prior to the trip. To reduce hassle at the airport, we encourage you to pay for checked baggage beforehand and supply your child with a copy of the receipt for his or her leaders to keep on file.
- Synthetic Camping Towel
A medium-size synthetic camping towel (synthetic camping towels dry much faster than regular towels).
All items should be travel size (if necessary, you will be able to restock during the trip).
- Sunscreen (SPF 15+) & Chapstick (with SPF protection)
- Insect Repellent
- Spending Money
$30 per week in cash or a debit/ATM card.
- Pillow (optional)
Compact, travel-size pillow recommended.
- Camera, Charger & Extra Batteries (optional)
A digital or disposable camera and, if necessary, a charger and large enough memory card to accommodate your pictures (4 to 8 GB).
- Personal Journal or Book (optional)
- Health Insurance Card
Please bring an original or copy of your health insurance card.
- What is the weather like on Northwest Adventure?
The weather on Northwest Adventure varies. Sometimes it is sunny and warm, other times it is rainy and cold; typical summer temperatures in Washington range from the 50s to 70s during the day and cooler at night. Our packing list takes these variables into consideration. Layering is the best strategy. Please follow the packing list, paying close attention to rain gear specifications.
Your child should come prepared for some mosquitoes and black flies. The number of bugs varies from year to year with weather conditions. Using bug spray, head nets and wearing long sleeve shirts and pants alleviates most problems.
- What are the arrival and departure airports for my child’s trip?
You will need to arrange transportation for your child to and from Portland International Airport (PDX) at trip start and trip end. We will provide more specific travel information once we have placed your child on a program.
- How often will my child have access to showers and laundry?
Groups typically shower and do laundry once a week.
- What do you do about bears?
Traveling as a large group goes a long way in preventing unwanted attention from wildlife. In addition, we hike in well-traveled areas and train all of our staff in backcountry skills and awareness. We instruct our leaders how to set up camp and store food in ways that reduce the chances of attracting wildlife, including bears. We’ll brief students on these routines at the start of the trip. Both of our leaders also carry bear spray in case of a bear encounter.
- Please tell me about safety at Overland.
Safety and risk management are at the forefront of our decision-making–from trip planning to leader training to supporting our groups in the field. We cannot guarantee absolute safety–no program can. All recreational activities include inherent and other risks. Therefore, we strive to manage the risks that we can, knowing we cannot eliminate them. We work hard to recruit, train and support our trip leaders so they can create the kind of trips that have made us successful for over 30 years. Please click here to read more about our approach to risk management and our accreditation by the American Camp Association.
- Does my child need to have previous experience?
While no previous experience is required, we have high expectations of our students. We expect your child–with your help–to select a trip that is appropriate for his or her interests and abilities. You should spend some time familiarizing yourself with the details of the specific program and help your child understand what to expect. We also expect our students to prepare ahead of time: to review the packing list, gather clothing and gear and complete whatever training the trip requires (for recommended training please see the Before You Go tab). Once the trip begins, your child should be ready–and excited–to contribute to a wholesome and enthusiastic group where each group member feels welcomed and valued.
- Please tell me about Overland’s admissions process.
For more information, and to access our application, please visit our Apply page.
When we receive child’s application, if the first choice is available, you will receive a phone call and an email containing a link to our Overland Portal where you will find our Admissions Review Forms. We will accept your deposit to hold your child’s place in the program pending a favorable Admissions Review. If the first choice is not available, we will call you to confirm that the second choice is acceptable. If neither the first choice nor second choice are available, we will call you to discuss options. For those students placed on our waitlist, we will notify you as soon as a spot becomes available.
We seek to admit students who have demonstrated that they possess the personal qualities and experience necessary to succeed on an Overland trip. While Overland is always supportive and nurturing, an Overland program is unlike a traditional camp in that our small groups–12 students and 2 leaders–travel, live and work as a group, making all of their own meals, helping each other and cooperating in ways big and small, and they do all of this far from home. As a result, every student must be able to thrive in an environment that places equal emphasis on:
1. Teamwork and Shared Responsibilities.
2. Independence and Self-Reliance.
3. Support of Others and Consideration for Others.
- What are Overland’s policies on phones, electronics and communication?
To maximize independence and self-reliance, we do not permit phone calls, emails or text messages to or from our campers (the exceptions to this are: your child will call home on arrival and departure with our phones and assistance, and in the case of an emergency). If your child brings a phone for use while en route to Overland, please do not send him or her with an expensive smartphone; instead bring an inexpensive prepaid cell phone. All phones will be collected on arrival and returned at departure. While we will take reasonable steps to prevent damage, theft or loss to phones, we take no responsibility for phones and we will not make any reimbursements for lost, damaged or stolen phones.
Cameras are welcome but please do not bring any other electronics (e.g., iPods, iPads, Kindles or other readers, GPS or similar devices). All electronics (except cameras) will be mailed home on arrival (at your risk and expense).
We are committed to providing extraordinary support to you and your child; to that end, the Overland office is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week during the summer (outside of office hours our answering service provides emergency coverage). Our leaders in the field are in touch with our office regularly; they carry cell phones (and in some cases satellite phones). Anytime a camper is treated for an injury or illness by a doctor or medical personnel, parents are notified by our office. A director will call the parents to explain the nature of the injury or illness, the sequence of events leading up to the injury and/or the steps leading to the treatment. Parents are typically able to speak with the medical personnel, with the leaders and with their child.
Hike, raft and plunge into the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Students going on Northwest Adventure should prepare for:
- 8 days of hiking with an average of 6 miles per day
- Travel to and from the trip
- An Overland experience
We expect you to arrive to your trip fully prepared for all activities.
Preparing for Hiking
You should be prepared for day hikes in the Cascades on well-established trails. Your group will hike together and take breaks for rest, snack and water as necessary.
Stay active this spring by playing sports, walking and/or hiking.
Preparing for Travel to and from the Trip
Families are responsible for arranging flights to and from the designated airport during a specified window (please do not purchase flights until you have received an email confirming our review of your health forms and school reference). Overland staff will be at the airport to welcome you at the start of your trip and to assist with your departure at trip end. You will call home upon arrival and before departure. You may also be dropped off at the airport, or in Williamstown (depending on your program’s start and end locations). More information regarding travel to and from your trip will be provided with the admissions review forms upon applying.
Preparing for an Overland Experience
Overland programs are wholesome, structured experiences with high expectations of each student’s behavior. You are expected to be supportive of your trip mates and your leaders, enthusiastic, positive and helpful. We ask that you leave your cell phone and electronics at home (cameras are always welcome), so you can fully engage with your group and your trip. You will have the opportunity to send letters and receive mail at designated mail stops, which are shared in the spring.
Arriving ready for a challenge, eager to experience new activities, and prepared to contribute to an enthusiastic group will go a long way toward creating a successful trip. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss preparing for your Overland program.