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Basecamp Paddling

Wisconsin Basecamp is a student-led, co-ed wilderness-based orientation program for incoming freshman and transfer students to create friendships and hone skills to prepare for success at UW-Madison.

  • Get to know other UW-Madison students
  • Gain insights to ensure success at UW-Madison
  • Foster leadership skills for future endeavors at UW-Madison and beyond
  • Be immersed in the UW-Madison spirit
  • Appreciate our natural environment with new friends

Meet our Basecamp leaders, learn more and see what past participants have said about their Basecamp experience.

Canoeing, Camping, and Campfires: Conquering the Wisconsin River

Trip Option 1: Canoeing

Basecampers will spend four days paddling and exploring approximately 60 miles along the scenic Wisconsin River between Sauk City and Boscobel. You will camp on the rivers' edge, cook, and have fun together. You will learn about UW and campus life around the campfire at night. The last part of the trip includes an overnight stay at Devils Lake State Park to swim, hike, and explore the park.

2017 Trip Dates:
July 20–24 (cancelled)
July 27–31 
Aug 4–8
Aug 17–21
Aug 18–22
Aug 24–28

Trek the Trails: Backpacking in the Porcupine Mountains

Trip Option 2: Backpacking

Basecampers will spend three days backpacking as a group near the Lake of the Clouds, on hilly wilderness trails through towering virgin forests. You will cover the basics of backpacking and camping, and learn about campus life around campfires next to mountain lakes. Challenge yourself, gain trust and support from others, and learn new skills that you can use in your life on campus.

2017 Trip Dates
July 20–24 (cancelled)
July 27–31
Aug 3–7 (two trips!)
Aug 18–22 (waitlist available)
Aug 24–28

How Do I Register?

Registration for the 2018 Basecamp trips is not yet available.

For more information, please contact Julie Brown, Wisconsin Basecamp Manager, at julie.brown@wisc.edu.


To register, please call (608) 262-1630 between noon and 6PM.


What Does the Registration Fee Cover?

Registration for 2018 Basecamp trips is not yet available.

The Wisconsin Basecamp registration fees include all transportation (from UW-Madison to the trip location and back again), food, specialized equipment, and two trained and experienced UW-Madison students as your trip leaders. You just need to provide personal gear and an open mind!

Is There Any Financial Aid Available?

We believe that participation in Basecamp should not be limited by financial means. Therefore, Outdoor UW is providing funding to help offset trip costs for those in need. All students are eligible to apply. Scholarships will be granted on a rolling basis while funding is available.

How to apply:

  1. Please register and pay the deposit to secure a trip. (If you do not receive a scholarship and chose not to go on the trip, refunds with scholarships will be refunded within 6 weeks).
  2. Please complete this application form and provide all supporting documents. 
  3. Scholarship applications are due at least 5 weeks prior to trip start date. Scholarship funds are limited, so early application is highly recommended.
  4. Scholarship recipients will be notified by June 1 or within 6 business days of receiving an application after June 1. 

After the trip, all scholarship recipients are required to write a one page narrative of how their trip impacted them. These narratives will be used to support future requests for scholarship monies. 

Contact Julie Brown at julie.brown@wisc.edu for more information.