Outdoor Skills 1204, Sec 001 Syllabus, Spring 2008

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Outdoor Skills 1204, Sec 001 Syllabus, Spring 2008

Class meeting time:

Thursday, 2-4:30 pm

Class meeting location:

SpHC 9; or Bagley: refer to schedule and email updates.


Dean Einerson





Office Hours:

Sports and Health Center

Course web url:


Be sure to use section 001 “rec major” syllabus


This course is designed to introduce you to non-competitive skills which will enable you to better understand the outdoor environment. You will learn basic skills pertaining to winter and spring in addition to becoming acquainted with outdoor recreational areas in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. You will be introduced to equipment which will be centered around both winter camping and backpacking themes. Sound outdoor ethics/etiquette which will benefit the outdoors and those who use it will be discussed and practiced. Finally, we will have the opportunity to go on two weekend outings to nearby outdoor recreation areas to practice the skills you will learn.


This course is intended to be the base-line for building your knowledge as well as developing your physical skills in outdoor recreation. Some of this material will be very familiar to you, while other subject matter in this course may be brand new. In the spirit of optimal learning, I want you to come to class prepared in the following ways:

  • Arrive to class on time ready to learn and to share! Attendance is mandatory, exceptions need to be made in advance and require instructor approval.

  • Be prepared before class. Have your readings completed before you come to class.

  • Be dressed to be outside - no matter what the weather conditions. You need to learn how to be comfortable in the outdoors under any conditions.

  • Bring a small notebook for taking notes; I rec’d a notebook, such as the “Write in the Rain” waterproof notebooks sold in the bookstore—you are expected to take notes on field work.

  • Be open to new perspectives in performing an outdoor skill.

  • Practice what you have learned between class periods. This course does not focus on technical proficiency, beyond our camping trips. Still, you can not become comfortable in the outdoors unless you practice.



Topic (location)

Assignments Due

Jan. 24

Introduction and goals,

Winter safety/ Causes of heat loss

Cold injuries

Winter clothing

Sleep Systems

Personal Equipment Needs

Rental Center Policy

Med/Liability Forms

Paper/project assigned

Trail Snack Schedule

“Travel Days” Scheduling
(SpHC 9)

Readings: Personal Equipment on Outdoor Action Guide to Winter Camping (website); "No word for luck" & "Six ways to avoid cold feet" (both available at instructor's web site)
Hypothermia video--website
For next week:

Have skis, boots, poles sized & reserved at RSOP Rental Center

Pull together personal clothing system for next weeks ski class.


Bring cross country ski set-up!!

(Come prepared to shuffle and shred!)

Backcountry skiing

Winter camping travel gear and use

Winter camping gear/preparations

Winter warmth strategies reviewed
(Bagley Nature Area)

Health forms/waiver due

Topic for project assignment due

Readings: Winter Travel on Outdoor Action Guide to Winter Camping (website); O’Bannon, p. 41-58 (website)

Feb. 7

Nutrition and menu planning

Winter camp kitchen

Winter fires

Winter tarps/shelters

(Bagley Nature Area)

Readings: Food and Winter Shelter on Outdoor Action Guide to Winter Camping (website); O’Bannon, p. 22-40 & 59-78 (website)

Pull together personal equipment for weekend trip

Feb. 14

Group gear for winter

Personal Gear Shake-down

Meet with trip group

Meet with trip leaders

Create trip menu

Final trip prep (Sphc 9)

O’Bannon, p. 79-98 (website)

Bring all personal gear ready for trip. Plan to leave it on campus.

16 & 17

Winter Camping Trip to Boulder Lake

Depart 7 am Saturday from Ordean Court

Return Sunday evening, (full day)


Trip Review

Snowshoes & Snowshoeing

Set-up drivers for dog sledding
(Hartley Park: 1-3 & 3-5 PM)

Snowshoeing Basics on Outdoor Action Guide to Winter Camping (website)

26 or 28

Dog sledding - Car pooling

NOTE: THIS CLASS WILL RUN 2- 5PM (Might be little late getting back to campus!!5:30 max)

(meet in front of SpHC at 2pm)

Review readings and field notes for Mid-Term Exam

March 6

Mid-Term Exam

(SpHC 9)

Turn in 1st Activity Points


Navigation 1: map & compass use (Meet in SpHC 9 and going to Bagley)

Readings: Burns Chap 1-3, & Curtis p. 117-147


Spring Break


Equipment for backpacking

(SpHC 9)

Readings: Curtis p. 12-37, & 160-164

April 3

Navigation 2: field orienteering


Readings: Burns, Chapter 7


Trip Planning for backpacking/food/hygiene

Backpack trip planning groups assigned

(SpHC 9)

Readings: Curtis p. 54- 98


Stream Trout Fishing: equipment, knots, flies

(SpHC 9 - dress to be outside)


Backpack Trip Preparations (SpHC 9)

Readings: Curtis p. 153-159

April 25 - 27

Backpacking Trip-Superior Hiking Trail

Depart 3 pm Friday from Ordean Court Arrive back by 5 pm Sunday.

May 1

(or April 29)

Stream Trout Fishing MEET AT 5:30AM IN FRONT OF SPHC

You must attend, but are not required to fish. If you fish, you must have a MN License.


Course Review

(SpHC 9)

Activity points due

12 (Monday)

Final Written Exam 2-3:55

(SpHC 9)

Burns, Bob & Mike. (1999). Wilderness Navigation. The Mountaineers. Seattle, WA.

Curtis, R. (1998). The Backpacker's Field Manual. Three Rivers Press. New York.

O’Bannon, A. (1996). Allen and Mike’s Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book. Globe Pequot Press. Guilford, CT.

Other readings will be assigned and made available via hand-outs in class or as web accessible documents.

Attendance is very important. You are responsible for all information given both indoors and outside. Each class period attendance applies toward your participation grade; some class periods you will earn you participation points via an understanding of the assigned readings.

The Points Given & Grading Based on % of Possible Points:



Grade Scale


75 pts.

92% = A


50 pts.

90% = A-

Final Exam

50 pts.

82% = B

Camp Trips

30 pts. /each

80% = B-


20 pts.

72% = C


10 pts. /each

70% = C-

Weekly Trail Snack Sign -up

10 pts.

62% = D

These figures are estimates of the extra costs involved:

  • Food for both of the trips ~$30.00

  • Rental of personal gear from the RSOP rental center (variable, depending upon need)

  • Fishing license & trout stamp if you choose to fish during fishing outing.


1. Camp Trips (60 points)

The 2 trips conducted during this semester are designed to give you a greater opportunity to practice the skills covered in the course and to experience the outdoor areas of our region.

  • Winter Camping Trip to Boulder Lake: February 11-12
    This trip is designed to introduce you to winter trip preparation, planning, equipment, and actual participation. These dates are rigid! Please make your plans for the semester accordingly. Note- use of alcohol or illegal drugs on camp-out will result in an immediate failure and expulsion from course.

  • Backpacking Trip to Rainbow Lakes Wilderness Area: April 28-30
    This trip is designed to help you learn about overnight backpacking, wilderness areas, wilderness navigation (both GPS and compass) and spring natural history. These dates are rigid! Please make your plans for the semester accordingly. Note- use of alcohol or illegal drugs on camp out will result in an immediate failure and expulsion from course.

2. Activity Participation (20 points)
To expand your exposure to a variety of outdoor activities other than are offered through this course, you are required to attend at least 2 different outdoor events from the Outdoor Program Calendar or pre-approved off campus events. Note that there are many free outdoor calendar events, if you sign up early for them! Each is worth 10 points. Programs need to be natural history or outdoor education based. FORM CAN BE PRINTED OFF CLASS WEB SITE.

3. Project (20 points)

  • Pulks for winter camping—build yourself an inexpensive winter pulk for use on our trip.

  • Winter Clothing— Sew a fleece neck warmer, hat or pair of wristlets for use on our winter camping trip.

  • Winter shelter—build a quinzhee at Bagley and present to class on 1/24 or 31. (Can be a group of up to 3.)

  • Diamond Willow Walking Stick for use on our backpacking trip

  • Personal Repair Kit for use on either of our trips

  • Insulated Stove Board for winter camping

With each of the above, you are required to complete the work by arrangement with instructor. Each creation will be presented in an oral presentation of approx. 5-10 minutes sharing with the class what you did, what you learned, etc. Specific guidance on outcomes will vary based on project type. Final product will be a one-page overview that includes a general description of project and a reflection on the learning—what did you learn from the process? You must also include references. References must be accurate and from professionally produced publications or media (written, video, CD). If you use a person, they must be recognized in the field as experienced in the craft. If you use the web, the site must be created through a professional organization (national organizations, universities, governmental). All of your references should be cited on a separate sheet of paper and in APA format.

4. Trail Snack Sign-Up (10 pts)

Students will be asked to prepare a seasonally appropriate and trail worthy snack for one class period. Students may work in teams of two. This assignment is designed to highlight what works as trail food while providing class with creative ideas for how to pack out their own trip menus. Pre-package foods may be used as an ingredient but not as the whole snack. A 5-minute presentation of your chosen snack is required as well. Points will be awarded for pack ability, nutritional and caloric requirements and palatability.

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