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Basecamp Paddling

Wisconsin Basecamp complements your SOAR experience to get you ready for life on campus. It’s an outdoor wilderness orientation trip that connects you with a small community of other new students.

  • Exercise your independence
  • Get to know people before stepping foot on campus
  • Address questions and concerns about life on campus, including:
    • Your New Home: Dorm life and the people you’ll meet
    • Academic Success: Balancing class with out of classroom opportunities
    • Managing Your Fears: Addressing worries and discussing possible solutions 

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

Canoeing, Camping, and Campfires on the Wisconsin River

Trip Option 1: Canoeing and Camping
$410 per person
Trip begins at 8am on day 1 and ends at 4:30pm on day 4

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 sand bars on the rivers' edge, cook, and have fun together. You will learn about UW and campus life around the campfire at night.

Trip includes transportation to river, boats, canoeing equipment, life jackets, dry bags for personal gear, food/group camping gear, and instruction. 

2018 Trip Dates:
July 26-29
August 2-5
August 9-12
August 17-20

Trek the Trails in the Porcupine Mountains

Trip Option 2: Backpacking and Camping
$450 per person
Trip begins at 8am on day 1 and ends at 4:30 on day 5

Basecampers spend five days traveling to and exploring the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan, backpacking as a group near Lake of the Clouds, on hilly wilderness trails through towering virgin forests or along the shores of Lake Superior. 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.

Trip includes transportation to the Porkies, ~60-70 L backpacks, food/group camping gear, and instruction. 

2018 Trip Dates:
July 25-29
August 1-5
August 16-20
August 24-28

Climbing and Camping at Devil’s Lake *New Trip

Trip Option 3: Climbing and Camping
$475 per person
This is a 4-day trip

This is a brand new trip! Basecampers will spend 4 days hiking and climbing at Devil’s Lake State Park. The group will be learning the basics of climbing, camping, and college. You will spend two days learning the basics of climbing and belaying your fellow Basecampers. The climbing component will be led by two student leaders and our full-time climbing advisor. No prior experience is necessary. Nights will be spent cooking good meals and talking about transitioning to college.

Trip includes transportation, climbing gear/helmets, food/group camping gear, and instruction.

2018 Trip Dates:
August 8-11
August 21-24

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.