There’s nothing like backpacking to a remote mountain meadow or alpine lake without a backpack.

No backpack?

Idaho outfitters offer backcountry trips where they will haul in all your gear on mules or horses and all you have to do is carry your daypack. It’s called a drop camp or spot camp.

Sleeping bags, tents, foam pads, cooking equipment, food and a soft cooler with beer, and Half and Half for your coffee can be packed into wilderness areas and make camping pretty cushy.

Prices vary widely depending on how much gear you have; how many horses it takes to get that gear in; and how many wranglers are needed to manage the pack string.

Some outfitters can provide a camp chef to prepare backcountry gourmet meals. Whoa! That’s really cushy.

Hunters have long known about drop camps and have been planning them for as long as there have been hunting seasons. But gaining in popularity are backcountry trips and spot camps for backpackers and high-country anglers.

Although outfitters are busy in late August and fall with drop camps for hunters, there could possibly be some openings for trips, said Aaron Lieberman, executive director of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association.

The best thing to do now is to plan a backpacking drop camp trip for next summer. Check out Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association website at

The folks at Mystic Saddle Ranch, which operates out of the Stanley area, say spot camps are popular with backpackers and trips can be tailored to specifics. See

Backpacking without a backpack — sounds pretty good.

Pete has been writing about the outdoors in Idaho and the Northwest for decades. Give him a shout at

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