Explore Alaska by Challenge Level

Similar to the rating system on whitewater rivers, our “Challenge Levels” will give you some idea of the difficulty of our trips and the conditions that you might encounter. Note that we do not do Level 1 trips.  Explore Alaska by Challenge Level, and enjoy the perfect fit for your fitness level.

These levels are a rough guideline only, please read the trip details carefully and ask questions to get a better idea of the challenges you may face. All of our trips include at least some camping. Many trips include camping in remote areas without bathroom facilities.

Our small group size, team selection process, and flexibility in trip planning, enable us to tailor each trip to meet the capabilities of the group.

Physical Fitness

Exposure Alaska trips do not require previous experience or excellent physical fitness but you should be living an active lifestyle and be reasonably fit. For some of our trips, mental toughness is as important as physical fitness. Use the details below to assess your own level of fitness.

Remember, most people can probably handle MUCH more than they would ever think possible. If you’re up for the challenge, this will be a trip that you’ll never forget.  You don’t need to be an athlete, but you do need to be a little durable.  

Your Level of Fitness — It is important that you try to assess your level of fitness accurately. On our trips, we must adjust the level of difficulty to suit the group. There are many ways to assess fitness, but one easy way to give you some idea is to measure out 2 miles and walk or run it. Use your car, mile markers on the road, a treadmill or a local track to measure the two miles.

You do not need to be a runner for our trips. Below is just a rough guide…but all of our trips involve some walking or hiking! Check out the details of each Level for more information on how your fitness fits into our scale. Compare Exposure Alaska Tour Challenge Levels

(Best Viewed on a Tablet or Desktop Computer)

Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Hours/day of Activities 6-8 6-8 8-10 8-12
Terrain Encountered Easy-moderate established trails Moderate established trails On or off trail, some steep climbs & scrambling Steep, off trail
Minimum Facilities Comfy wall tent, outhouse. Other nights in inns or campgrounds. Up to 2 consecutive nights primitive camping with no toilet facilities. Other nights in inns or campgrounds. Up to 3 consecutive nights primitive camping with no toilet facilities. Other nights in inns or campgrounds. Up to 8 consecutive nights primitive camping with no toilet facilities.
Typical Pack weights No backpacking Some beginner backpacking, up to 30 pounds. 25 – 35 pounds. Up to 25% of body weight. 35 – 50 pounds. Up to 35% of body weight.
Your fitness & preparation
Frequency of exercise 2-3 days/week 3-4 days/week 4-5 days/week 5-6 days/week
Length/pace 30 minutes @ casual pace 30-60 minutes @moderate pace 45 minutes – 1 hour @ moderate pace & intensity. At least 1 hour cardio 2x per week. Occasional sprints or hill climbs. 45 minutes – 1 hour @ intense pace & intensity. At least one long workout per week (2+hours). Regular sprints and hill climbs.
Pace you can maintain walking or running 2 miles in
50 – 60 minutes
2 miles in
45 – 55 minutes
2 miles in
30 – 40 minutes
2 miles in
20 minutes or less

Visiting Alaska – Anything could happen!

  • A rock slide could close the road, cutting off access to our kayak put in site.
  • High winds could affect our kayaking, leaving us sitting on the beach instead of paddling.
  • A beaver dam could break, flooding the campground and forcing us to move.
  • An overturned train could close the highway, causing a 400 mile detour in our route.
  • An eagles nest could cause us to keep moving to find a different campsite when we’d really rather call it a day and set up camp.
  • A grizzly bear with cubs could cause us to hike miles out of our way.
  • It could rain a lot; despite the best gear and expertise, you and everything you have gets wet.

ALL of the above has happened recently!

If you can’t maintain a positive attitude and deal with changing conditions, challenging weather, or Mother Nature just taking charge, please do not sign up for one of our trips.

We have the equipment and expertise to minimize the inherent risks of travel in the backcountry but no one can guarantee your comfort or even your safety.

We often travel beyond where you can pull out your cell phone and call 911. Communication and/or rescue may be impossible. Your Smart Phone will often be useless.

If you’re not up for experiencing the real Alaska and possible difficulties and discomfort that comes along with it, take a Cruise . Check out the cruise options, if they appeal to you more than our trips, please take the cruise with the thousands of others that visit Alaska that way. We’ll all be much happier.