LEVEL 1 (Easy)
These trips can be enjoyed by almost anyone and involve fairly easy travel. If you regularly engage in some sort of physical labor or aerobic exercise at work or play, then these trips are possible for you. Includes less demanding river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids. Pre-trip physical conditioning is suggested and should include hiking or walking up and down hills, preferably with a weighted backpack (if possible).
LEVEL 2 (Moderate)
These are active trips requiring physical conditioning and consistent exercise prior to the trip. You will be hiking on and off-trail over steep and uneven terrain at elevations less than 10,000 feet. Hiking through short stretches of thick vegetation is likely. Or trips with long hiking days, multiple paddling days, backcountry wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. Includes more demanding river rafting trips with Class III rapids. Pre-trip physical conditioning should begin no later than 2 months before departure and should include walking and hiking, or other cardio activity; such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
LEVEL 3 (Strenuous)
Strenuous trekking over long, rugged, inconsistent, higher-risk, mountainous terrain with steep inclines where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet. Continuing for a long duration each day, several days in a row. Traveling through thick vegetation is highly-likely. Includes more demanding river rafting trips with up to Class III+ rapids. Or river trips requiring long days of [almost] continuous paddling (6+ hours paddling a day). Physical conditioning and consistent exercise prior to these trips is mandatory. Previous similar experience may be required and is certainly recommended for these trips. Pre-trip physical conditioning should begin no later than 3 months prior to departure and must include good physical conditioning.
LEVEL X (Very Demanding & Strenuous)
These Trips are THE Ultimate Challenge!
Our most demanding trips for serious and experienced adventurers only! Trekking over very steep, rugged terrain and/or with substantial altitude gains and losses throughout a day; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Bushwhacking through thick vegetation is expected for long stretches, possibly lasting an entire day. Includes our most demanding river rafting trips with up to Class III+ rapids, long days of paddling, lengthy & difficult portages. Level X requires more backcountry experience, training and preparation, and more physical and mental commitment than any of our other trips. Physical conditioning and consistent exercise prior to these trips is mandatory and intermediate to advanced skills are paramount. Expect the unexpected, and prepare to be flexible with the potential for extremely harsh conditions. Previous experience on Level 3 trips (or similar experience) may be required. Pre-trip physical conditioning should begin no later than 3 months prior to departure.
A few words about physical conditioning…
If you haven’t done so already, start your physical conditioning program now. Begin by selecting an activity you enjoy doing, as you are more likely to continue with the program. While strength is important for lifting a pack, it is way more important to build up your aerobic fitness level and stamina for the long days.
Functional fitness, cycling, speed walking, aerobics, stair climbing, jogging, rowing machine, skiing, hiking, yoga, CrossFit, and martial arts are all good forms of exercise. Practically any exercise that uses large muscle groups and gets you sweating with your heart rate up will increase stamina.
Begin gradually and build up to where 45 minutes to an hour of your work out is at 80% of your maximum pulse rate. Exercise to an intensity level where it is difficult to hold a conversation. Schedule a time during the day for this and plan on at least 4 sessions per week at 30 minutes for the first 2 weeks, then increase to 45-60 minutes each day for the remainder. We recommend talking to a professional exercise physiologist who can help set up a conditioning program that is good for you.
Remember, you do not need to be a professional athlete to take part on a KBA adventure, but on trips from Level 2 and above you do need to be within the limits of the average active person. A keen desire to learn, have fun, strong motivation, and a positive attitude are equally important to success.