Accessibility Navigation:

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read our frequently asked questions to help address some of the common questions we are asked. Should your own inquiries be more specific, don't hesitate to contact us at 704-894-2623 or email We will be happy to assist you.

Do I need to be an outdoor "expert" to enjoy the Backcountry Odyssey?

No. The Backcountry Odyssey is open to all incoming first-year and transfer students and is designed to accommodate any level of experience. Beginners are welcome. Backcountry Odyssey participants will spend the entire week outdoors.

What if I already have a lot of outdoor experience?

Even if you have a lot of personal experience with service, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, or paddling, you have never done them with this group-the members of your first-year class. Join us for the chance to share skills you enjoy while you build lasting connections with your classmates.

What fitness level is recommended?

You will enjoy the program more if you are fit. Forty minutes of aerobic activity three to four times per week for at least one month prior to the Odyssey should be adequate conditioning. In addition, we conduct a medical screening process to help you determine which trip is appropriate.

What equipment will I need?

You will have to bring some clothing and provide footwear appropriate for your activity. What-to-Bring lists are included for each activity in the paperwork that follows registration. Davidson Outdoors can provide your sleeping bag and pad, and all other group and activity specific gear.

Why is Session III longer?

We hope that the first and second sessions offer a shorter and more affordable option. The long version of Session III includes multiple activities: backpacking, whitewater canoeing, and service. Sessions I and II and short Session III offer three days of a single outdoor activity such as backpacking, canoeing, or climbing.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Financial aid is available to students who have qualified for aid from Davidson.

For Sessions I and II: How do I receive my travel allotment?

You will receive a trip assignment email two weeks after you submit your registration form. This email will contain your financial aid information, including the travel allotment. Your travel allotment will be credited to your college account. It is your responsibility to make your own travel arrangements and pay for all travel expenses up front.

When does New Student Orientation start and how can I find out about move-in dates and details?

To help your transition to Davidson, we've compiled a list of the tasks new incoming students need to complete before arriving on move-in day, including dates and a handy checklist.