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Queer Affinity course

About the Course

Learn survival and primitive living skills in a challenging field context as part of a queer affinity group. Join up to 11 other students who identify as LGBTQIA+ and three BOSS staff for a 7-day classic field course.

We are committed to making the environment on this course a safe and welcoming one. We recognize that the LGBTQIA+ community has faced significant challenges when it comes to learning and participating in outdoor adventure, and this course is one way that we’re working to help make everyone welcome and safe in the wild.

On this course, you and your group will embark into Southern Utah’s breathtaking Boulder Mountain and world-famous canyon country. Leaving the high-tech, modern world behind, you’ll explore the desert washes and mountain trails with little more than a knife, a water bottle, a blanket, and a poncho. You can’t get much more immersed in the natural world than on this course. The mental, physical, and emotional challenges are real, and the wilderness competency and the greater sense of self that you gain are priceless.

Register Today


To sign up for this course, you must identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. You must also be 18 years old or older. Out of the 12 available slots on this course, 4 will be reserved for QTIBIPoC students until March 1, 2021.

See here for more information on who goes to BOSS.

Tuition Assistance

The tuition for all slots on this course will be 50% covered by a Shop in Utah grant that BOSS received in 2020. Students are responsible for the remaining 50% of the tuition, travel to and from our campus in Boulder, Utah, and equipment for the course.

The 50% grant-supported discount will be applied to your course after you pay your course deposit. Please contact us if you have any questions.

About BOSS

Since 1968, BOSS courses have set the standard for low-technology camping and hiking techniques, where instruction is conducted with minimal intrusion of modern technology in environments that allow course content to be experienced first-hand. Our commitment to quality and to our core philosophies has earned BOSS its sterling reputation for skills instruction and wilderness experience.

BOSS students hike in a dry wash

Less is More

In line with the BOSS Positive Impact philosophy, the 7-Day Field course has a decided emphasis on using renewable, natural resources. Tents, sleeping bags, stoves, backpacks and many other “required” pieces of outdoor equipment are replaced with their low-tech counterparts: a poncho, a blanket, a campfire, etc. The motto here is “Know more, Carry less” and we’ll explore how traditional cultures lived comfortably without modern gadgets (which are not allowed on our courses). Come learn how back-country travel can be a less intrusive and more harmonious experience.

The BOSS Challenge

The BOSS 7-Day Field course provides, among many other things, a physical and mental test for its students. Students hike long distances over the rugged terrain found in Southern Utah’s mountains and desert canyons, sometimes as much as 15 to 30 miles in one day. The combination of high exertion and moderate rations usually leaves students 5 to 10 pounds leaner at the end of the course.  BOSS REQUIRES THAT ALL FIELD COURSE APPLICANTS UNDERGO A COMPLETE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION AND RECEIVE THEIR PHYSICIAN’S APPROVAL IN WRITING PRIOR TO FINAL ACCEPTANCE ON THE COURSE.

In addition to the physician’s approval, students are asked to complete a 1.5-mile run during course orientation. Please keep in mind, despite your physician’s approval and BOSS’s acceptance of you on the course, there are no guarantees. Health and participation risks (inherent and otherwise) remain. It’s up to you and your physician to determine if a BOSS course is an appropriate choice. All participants must be aware of these risks and embrace them. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Learning by Doing

At BOSS, we strongly believe in learning by doing. While at times instruction will be done in lecture format, it will be done in the field where students can see what they are learning in situ and can practice their skills in a natural environment. BOSS course enrollment is designed to provide each course with a student-teacher ratio conducive to hands-on instruction. Our courses typically have 9-12 students and 3 staff. This ensures that our staff are available to students to help guide them through the lessons as needed or sought.

Course Phases

Orientation Welcome to BOSS, gear review & purchase, form course community.
Impact A fast-moving, minimal-equipment hike through the wilderness. No food except what you find. No blankets or ponchos until Group Ex.
Group Expedition A time for on-the-trail instruction, as our staff teach you the skills you need to comfortably survive in the desert.
Solo Placed in your own Solo site, you will put your skills to the test and enjoy some solitude.
Student Expedition Time and route permitting, you and your course-mates may be given the opportunity to travel instructor-free to a specific destination.
Final Challenge Just when you think it’s over, it isn’t….
Celebration/Graduation You’ve earned it.

Please note: Because each course is different and will experience different combinations of weather patterns, student abilities, and ground conditions, phases may be adjusted before or during a course.

Skills Covered

Skills taught on Field courses are directly relevant to the group’s needs in a traditional-living environment. Issues dealing with the effects of physical stresses and extended travel on the human psyche are just as important to the students’ experience as how to make a fire without matches. All courses are designed to cover these basics: desert ecology & travel, fire construction, campsite selection, trail hygiene, shelter location and construction options, water location and purification, nature observation skills, and basic edible & medicinal plants.