Backcountry Play Book

Games and Activities to Enhance Educational Field Experiences


“A well-timed game or activity does important work when, otherwise, things could really go south, sometimes making the difference between an educative and a non-educative experience, a memorable versus forgettable trip.”

An excellent resource for outdoor adventures and adventurers of all kinds, this book promotes intentional play with inviting activities that set the tone, create cohesion, build skills, and develop relationships with self, others, and nature. The game grid is a unique and ingeniously simple framework for choosing the optimal game to match the objective. This book supplies a catalogue of games and activities and provides a framework for thinking about how games and activities can fulfill many of the essential functions needed for a fun, memorable, and developmental outdoor field experience. The authors’ goal is to draw attention to aspects of trips that might be taken for granted but are in fact key opportunities for promoting group and participant development.

ISBN: 978-1-939019-22-6
SIZE: 5 x 7



“Finally! Many of the best, most purposeful outdoor games and activities all in one place and in an ideal format for backcountry educators. The Game Grid is a perfect tool to help instructors choose the optimal game to match learning objectives, group size, and student morale. This book will be a staple at our instructor orientations.”
John Dockendorf, Executive Director Adventure Treks/Camp Pinnacle

“This great resource compiles years of experience with groups on trail into an easy-to-use, impactful tool. New instructors can grow in their ability to facilitate groups in a more meaningful way and more seasoned instructors will be inspired to spice up what they currently do. I can’t wait to try out some of these activities with my next group!”
Mo Kappes, Experiential Education Specialist, Advisor for Adventure Learning Programs, University of Wisconsin-Madison; 20 years of experience as an outdoor educator and wilderness trip leader

“This easy to use, pocket-sized book will become essential reading for any new outdoor group leader. The authors neatly organize and describe enough games and activities to see everyone through those early awkward pauses and mid-trip blues. Copies of Back Country Playbook will be seen in wild places across the world, sparking conversations, connections and laughter.”
Andrew Jillings, Director of Outdoor Leadership, Hamilton College