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FAQS

Our group trips are a chance for queer folks in Maine to build community and learn new skills through safe and welcoming outdoor adventures. They are for people of all skill levels and abilities; those who are new to the outdoors as well as more experienced adventurers.  We host both day trips and overnight adventures. Our trip offerings include hiking, backpacking, campouts, canoeing, kayaking, packrafting, cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, and more. Some Kindling Collective trips are organized in collaboration with our outside partners, and they will be co-instructed and facilitated by Kindling Collective staff.

What to expect on a Kindling Collective trip

At Kindling, we aim to build community and support people in the greater Portland area in nurturing and sustaining relationships with the natural world. Our goal is for our trips to be affirming and safe experiences for all participants. You are welcome here!

What experience do I need?

  • None. Unless otherwise-indicated, our trips are beginner-friendly! Each trip will be run by experienced instructors ready to teach you the skills you need. 

  • Kindling Collective trips are rated for exertion level. Participants are expected to be thoughtful and realistic about their own fitness level. Review the exertion scale to identify what trip rating is appropriate for you and your body.

Exertion Level 1

Outdoor learning, sitting, and walking on open, mostly even paths and terrain.  0-4 hours/day. 

Exertion Level 2

Activity with mild elevation gain on uneven terrain. 1-4 hours/day. 

Exertion Level 3

For people who regularly exercise. Comfort climbing stairs, swimming, and balancing your body weight are helpful skills to have for this level of activity. Activity may include moderate elevation gain on uneven terrain. 3-6 hours/day. 

Exertion Level 4

For active people who engage in regular vigorous activity. Expect moderate to significant elevation gain on uneven terrain. Participants should be comfortable climbing stairs, carrying weight, and balancing their body weight. 6-8 hours/day.

What gear do I need?

  • We have all the gear you need! While you are welcome to bring your own equipment if you have it, we want you to join our adventures without the high cost of gear. All you need to bring are your own personal items. 

  • You do not need to be a member of Kindling Collective to borrow equipment for Kindling Collective trips. Signing up for a trip allows you full access to the gear library.You will receive a packing list and a borrowing form for your specific trip a few weeks in advance. We will ask you to fill out a gear borrowing form after reviewing the packing list so we can prepare any equipment you need to borrow.

  • Excited to think about gear already? Check out our packing lists here.

Will I be able to keep up with the rest of the group?

  • We move at a pace that feels sustainable to everyone and take frequent breaks for snacks, water, and to go to the bathroom. This may be a bit slower or faster than you usually travel.

  • Please review the exertion level scale above and the trip description found at registration and be mindful that the group will move together. If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to fully participate in a trip, please reach out to info@kindlingcollective.org and we will be happy to talk you through the trip expectations and terrain.

What are Group Types? Aren’t your events for everyone?

  • We believe that anyone can have fun and feel confident and safe in nature. We make an effort to offer opportunities for people of all backgrounds, skill levels, identities, experiences, and abilities. For many people who have experienced discrimination based on their personal identities, it’s challenging (and sometimes unsafe) to learn or try new activities in mainstream outdoor spaces. To best support our community, and create truly welcoming spaces for queer people, trans people, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, we offer opportunities to be outdoors in affinity groups.

  • The Kindling Collective Group Types are intended to help people identify if an event or trip is appropriate for them to attend based on their identities. While some of our events are open to all (Open), most of our events and trips are designed as affinity spaces for queer and trans people (Queer), and some events are intentionally created as affinity spaces for BIPOC queer and trans people (QT BIPOC). 

  • Events that are designated as “Queer” are specifically for queer people. While we love our allies and advocates, if you’re not queer, please don’t come to these events.

  • Events that are designated as “QT BIPOC” are for people who identify as both BIPOC and queer and/or trans. If you’re not queer/trans and BIPOC, please do not come to these events.

  • Events that are designated as “Open” are for everyone! Anyone of any identity is welcome at these events.

What do I do when I have to pee, poop, or if I’m menstruating on a trip?!

  • We know that dealing with bodily functions in the woods can be intimidating! Our instructors will make sure to explain how to safely and comfortably take care of business in the outdoors.

  • For many of our camping trips, backcountry toilets will be available.

  • Many folks who normally sit to pee like to use stand-to-pee devices to pee more comfortably (our favorite is the P-Style) and antimicrobial cloths like the Kula Cloth for wiping.

  • If you might menstruate on a trip, make sure to bring the products you’re most comfortable using. Instructors can give advice on how to dispose or store of single use products properly.

  • We tend to go without showers on our trips; you can always freshen up at nearby water sources. If cleaning up is a special concern for you we are happy to talk through possible on-trip hygiene strategies. 

How does transportation work?

  • For most trips, plan to meet at the start point. We will send out a carpooling spreadsheet so participants can coordinate travel among each other. 

How do meals work?

Multi-day Trips:

  • For overnight trips, Kindling Collective will pack all the food needed for the whole group—breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and snacks. When you register, we will ask you to share any dietary restrictions, and we pack our meals accordingly. 

  • You are welcome to bring your own snacks; we’ll make sure to animal-proof all food at night.

  • Kindling trips are alcohol-free—please leave alcohol at home.

  • Drinking water for multi-day events is treated water from nearby water sources, making it safe to consume. 

Day Trips:

  • Food and water varies by trip. Check the trip description for information on what food and water to pack.

Tell me more about camping?

  • On overnight trips, we try to get to camp in the early afternoon. You'll choose your spot and set up your tent - we’re around to help if this is something you’ve never done before!

  • Evening activities differ trip to trip. After setting up our tents, we may have group programming, cooking and cleaning responsibilities, and/or free time to enjoy time to swim, read, write or play games with others. 

  • There are many "jobs" that our trip leaders will need help with and will ask for help with. Some of these jobs could be cooking, cleaning, managing water treatment etc.

How are you addressing COVID-19?

  • We ask all participants to test negative for COVID within 24 hours of overnight trips. For day trips, monitor your symptoms and please do not attend the trip if you or anyone in your household is experiencing symptoms or if you have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past five days.

Does Kindling have a Code of Conduct?

  • Kindling Collective is committed to providing fun, safe, and harassment-free adventures for all of our participants. We design trips with intentional focus on making connections and building community.

  • We do not tolerate harassment or bullying of participants in any form.

Can I drink alcohol or use recreational drugs on a Kindling Collective Trip?

  • No, Kindling Collective events are substance and alcohol free.

Kindling Collective events used to be free. Why are you charging now?

  • Our goal is to make sure all events are accessible to anyone. If our pricing is a barrier for you, send us an email at info@kindlingcollective.org. We will never turn away a participant for the inability to pay.

  • We believe in paying our guest instructors at or above industry standard.

Multi-day trips:

  • Our goal is to break even on multi-day trips. Registration fees help us cover expenses like paying instructors; renting special equipment; and covering trail, site, or land access fees. We often use our annual programming budget to subsidize our trips to keep registration costs as low and accessible as possible.

Day trips:

  • Kindling Collective subsidizes the majority of one-day trips with our programming budget. After a year of offering as many free events as possible, we found that charging a small amount for day trips increases attendance. We want to make sure that people show up for the events they sign up for. Many of our trips generate a waitlist and when folks who signed up don’t show up day-of, they have taken a spot from someone who could. Our hope is that asking for a small donation to help us cover costs, even if it’s just snacks, will increase attendance and communication from our community.

What if I sign up for an event and then I realize I can’t make it?

  • We ask that our participants practice community care and let us know at your earliest convenience that you can no longer attend. 

Multi-Day Trips: In order to receive a full refund contact us 2 weeks prior to the event.

Day Trips: In order to receive a full refund contact us 1 week in advance of the event.

Reach out to info@kindlingcollective.org if this will cause significant financial hardship or if the cancellation was an uncontrollable event for you.

What's the best way to get in touch with Kindling Collective staff?

  • We're excited to chat with you. Our most reliable communication tools are calls and texts at (207) 200-4707 or emails to info@kindlingcollective.org

  • Kindling Collective is starting to receive enough messages that it can be difficult for us to keep up with everyone on Instagram. If you have already dm'd us, you can always follow up with an email!

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