It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but it was also one of the best experiences of my life.
— Zao participant exploring the relationship between challenge and joy during a backpacking camp

If you're new to Zao, check out this video to see how we offer a different flavour for summer camping. Our summer backpacking and paddling camps are designed for people without prior experience. If you're wondering if you could do it... the answer is almost always, "YES!"

By their very nature, multi-day backpacking trips and canoe routes are really challenging. Indeed, these experiences are meant to challenge campers physically and mentally. Zao Outdoor Ministries runs camps that are led by professional guides.  They facilitate these experiences by providing an environment that is participant-centred, and supports growth. Campers should be ready—and excited— to abandon some of the comforts of city/town living in order to make room for an epic adventure!

In other words, we want our campers to WANT this kind of camp. We are not a boot camp that campers get sent to—we provide a supportive environment for new experiences, and we ensure our participants aren't challenged beyond their limits. You are ready for this. We have been waiting for you!

From arrival until departure, all food and group equipment is provided (tents, tarps, kitchen, etc).  Zao also provides sleeping bags, sleeping pads and backpacks if required.  We have a very detailed packing list that includes personal clothing and equipment (i.e. hiking boots, headlamp, eating utensil, etc) that participants will need to bring. The summer camps listed below will eventually have more detailed information available. In the mean time, don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions. 

New for summer 2017

In addition to the two Adventure Discipleship Program expeditions we lead with Heritage Christian Online School, Zao will be running five summer camps with our two outstanding local camp partners, Wild Side at Camp Imadene and Camp Bob. New this year is the Guide Leadership Training program. We have heard from many young women and men who are interested in gaining more outdoor leadership experience, and we are putting effort into giving them leadership training. This outdoor ministry training includes industry leadership certification with the Outdoor Council of Canada, and will bring opportunities to work as an apprentice in this growing field. 




Summer 2017—Five camps including our new GLT program


Registration Links Posted mid-February

Adventure Discipleship Program

June 1 - 7  HCOS Students  FULL—contact us for more info


Guide Leadership Training (GLT)

July 3 - 13 $375   Wildside @ Camp Imadene

FULL—contact us for more info.

GLT Info Page


outbound CANOE CAMP 

July 16 - 21 FULL - waitlist.

Multi-day canoe circuit at Sayward Lakes

Register and find more info here! With Camp Bob


expedition alpine camp


Multi-day mountain backpacking expedition in Strathcona Provincial Park

Register and find more info here! With Wildside at Camp Imadene


Outbound alpine camp

August 7 - 12


Multi-day mountain backpacking expedition in Strathcona Provincial Park!

Register and find more info here! With Camp Bob


Adventure Discipleship Program

August 18 - 24  HCOS Students  FULL—contact us for more info


Tennent Lake / Mount Myra area in Strathcona Provincial Park. Alpine backpacking and leadership school program.


Adult Mother-Daughter backpacking

August  28 - 2   TWO SPOTS REMAIN for a mother/daughter pair.

NOOTKA TRAIL, Nootka Island, BC

Backpacking the renowned 35Km Nootka Trail on Vancouver Island's remote coast. Guided and catered by our certified lead guide, Alexis Nemeth, this area is accessed via float plane from Gold River. The trail is extremely rough and undeveloped, and there are historical treasures and unbelievable vistas on this coastal route. 

Pricing depends on transportation options—contact Mattias for more information about this trip. Participants should be aged 18 and up.