Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? Contact us at LandSea@kzoo.edu

Packing lists can be found in the info packets that were emailed to participants in the spring.

FAQ: Signing Up

What is LandSea?

LandSea is an optional part of the orientation program at Kalamazoo College. 70-100 first-year students join the staff and student leaders for 6-18 days of outdoor and community-building opportunities ranging between hiking, backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, rappelling, rafting and service & reflection. Participants will return in time for Kalamazoo College’s nationally-recognized first year orientation program. LandSea is an adventure!

Do I need previous outdoor experience?

No! Many participants have little to no experience, while others have significant previous outdoor experience. The program is designed to teach the necessary skills while challenging everybody.

When is LandSea?

Check out the Dates & Cost page for accurate information about this year’s LandSea program.

How much does LandSea cost?

To see this year’s LandSea tuition, please check out the Dates & Cost page. The cost of LandSea is on a sliding scale based on a student’s Student Aid Index (SAI) from their FAFSA. The $25 non-refundable deposit with the registration goes towards the cost of LandSea. 

After you have registered and deposited for the program, the balance will be due by July 15th.  Scholarships are available and are awarded based on financial need. In order to be considered for a scholarship, your application must be completed by June 15th, and you must indicate on your application that you would like to be considered for the scholarship.

Is there any financial assistance available?

Through the generous support of our alumni, need-based scholarships are available!

In order to be eligible for scholarship consideration, students must register, deposit, and indicate they’d like to be considered for a scholarship on their registration before June 15th.
Registering and depositing by the deadline does not guarantee a scholarship.
Scholarship requests will be evaluated after the deadline and offers will be made in late late June. The amount of the award varies based on financial background and the needs of students.

Can LandSea accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten free, and food allergies?

Yes. It is important to indicate any food preferences/allergies/intolerances on your registration & health forms. It is also essential to inform your patrol leader of any special dietary needs. If you have any other dietary concerns, please contact us

What should I do if I have a specific food allergy?

For your safety, any food allergies MUST be listed on your registration & health forms.  Leaders and staff leave for training with all food packed up and ready to go one to two weeks before participants arrive.  We MUST know about any food allergies before this time so that we can plan accordingly.  However, please do not let a food allergy alter your decision to participate in LandSea.  Cooking in the backcountry and adjusting for food allergies is quite easy.  Every year, LandSea accommodates participants with peanut allergies, Celiac disease, lactose intolerance, iodine allergies, fruit allergies, etc.

Will living in a wilderness environment affect my medication(s)?

Possibly, so you should talk to your doctor about possible side effects in advance. Please provide the most detailed information possible regarding your medications when filling out your LandSea medical forms.

I have asthma, diabetes, or other medical conditions – will my LandSea experience be affected?

Not necessarily. There have been participants who have fully and successfully participated in LandSea that have had asthma, diabetes, and/or other medical conditions. However, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR about any concerns you may have and be sure to list them on your health forms.

What type of preexisting injuries do I need to be aware of?

Any sprains or strains have the possibility of being re-injured on LandSea. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you may have and make note of it on your health forms.

How do I enroll?

You must be admitted to Kalamazoo College and have paid your enrollment deposit to the Office of Admission for the fall quarter. You can complete your LandSea registration and deposit online. Space on LandSea is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Should I sign up for Kalamazoo, Adirondack Basecamp, or Adirondack Expedition?

All 3 of our program options offer different trip experiences to participants. Each provide unique challenges and opportunities that are both rewarding and fun. More information can be found on our overview page.

FAQ: After Registration

When will I receive information about LandSea?

Information is generally sent out once a month beginning in May, but if you have any specific questions please contact the LandSea office at landsea@kzoo.edu or 269-337-7357.

Where can I find the forms needed for LandSea?

The checklist of required paperwork can be found on your student portal in the LandSea section. The checklist is also located on our website on the Paperwork & Forms pageIt is important that you complete all your forms by the deadline.  Failure to do so will result in your dismissal from the program with NO refund. It is important that we have all required information so that we may plan accordingly. 

For example, if you are allergic to peanuts, we need to make sure your patrol’s food/menu has food that no peanut proteins have come in contact with anything in that patrol.  Since the LandSea staff and leaders leave for training with food and gear all packed up and ready to go two weeks before participants arrive, it is extremely difficult to completely adjust such things after we have left Kalamazoo.

What should I do to prepare for LandSea Kalamazoo?

It is a great idea to start moving your body regularly prior to the start of the program. You will be fairly active during the program. This could be as light-exercise as going on walks in your city or neighborhood.

Start considering how you can wean yourself off of your electronics. You will not have access to your phone, computer, or other electronics on LandSea. Consider how you utilize your phone now – particularly if it is used for tracking medication or helping you to sleep, etc. and consider alternate methods you can use when you don’t have access to your technology.

What should I do to prepare for LandSea Adirondacks?

It is ESSENTIAL that you exercise regularly and vigorously prior to the start of the program. Students who prepare by running 3-4 times a week at increasing distances and strengthen their upper body by weight training the summer prior to LandSea are in the best shape to enjoy all aspects of LandSea. Also, it is CRITICAL that you BREAK IN YOUR BOOTS in order to avoid problems during the trip.

Start considering how you can wean yourself off of your electronics. You will not have access to your phone, computer, or other electronics on LandSea. Consider how you utilize your phone now – particularly if it is used for tracking medication or helping you to sleep, etc. and consider alternate methods you can use when you don’t have access to your technology.

Do I need to bring my own equipment?

The program supplies all of the basic gear and materials (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, tarp, cookware, stoves, first aid kits, bear bag ropes, etc.) A complete list of the supplied and required equipment will be available in June. It will be provided to participants in their information packets via email and on our website. You may prefer using your own sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and/or backpack. It is important to inform the LandSea office at landsea@kzoo.edu or 269.337.7357 if, after indicating on your application that you would be bringing your own sleeping bag and/or backpack, you decide not to bring your own. We also have additional gear and supplies to provide additional support for personal gear and clothing. Please contact us if you would like to check out any additional gear beyond sleeping bag, sleeping pad, or backpacks.

Where can I find suitable clothing and/or gear?

There are a variety of outdoor suppliers that sell quality gear suitable for LandSea. Check out sites like Sierra Trading Post, Poshmark, Steep and Cheap, REI Outlet, and Patagonia WornWear for discounted or gently used gear or clothing. This list is only intended to give you an idea of what is available and what to look for. When shopping for gear, give yourself enough time to visit a number of suppliers to compare prices and brands.

Can I bring my own food?

No. If you are worried that the supplied food will not be sufficient due to a food allergy or any other dietary concern, please contact us.

Should I bring medication on LandSea?

Please bring with you any prescription medications you normally take and consult with your doctor regarding any complications that may arise due to the increased physical demand, stress, and possible fasting while on solo.

For common conditions and illnesses LandSea provides first aid kits stocked with limited over-the-counter medications to help manage symptoms such as headaches, nasal congestion, allergies, etc. that may arise over the course of the program. However, if you are prone to allergies, menstrual cramps, etc., and prefer a specific brand of medication, we recommend that you bring it. FOR YOUR SAFETY, ALL OF YOUR MEDICATIONS MUST BE LISTED ON YOUR LANDSEA MED FORMS. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE ACCURATE INFORMATION IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

Note: Due to the risks inherent to wilderness travel, rock climbing, and solo, participants will not be allowed to take any medications that may impair judgment, prescribed or otherwise, while on the program. 

FAQ: Check-in Day

Can I park my car on campus during LandSea?

It is best if you can get a ride to campus so you don’t have to worry about parking, but if you need to leave a car here (during LandSea only!), please call our office at 269.337.7357.

Can I move into my residence hall on Check-In Day?

LandSea participants will be permitted to drop off their belongings in their room (or secure storage area if their room is not available) during the LandSea check-in day. Some rooms may not be available due to summer camps, summer employee housing, or renovations. For rooms that are not available, students will be provided with a secure storage location in their residence hall to store their belongings.

Students will be let into their rooms to drop off belongings only, not to unpack and “settle in.” This is because there may still need to be work done to prepare the room while the student is on LandSea. Students will need to keep things packed up and consolidated on the bed or in the closet/dresser. Students will receive their room key upon their return from LandSea and at that time can spend the next few days unpacking prior to Orientation. It is highly recommended that if parents are coming back to campus after LandSea that on the LandSea check-in day students bring only the necessities for their return (bedding, towel, toiletries, and change of clothes). Parents can bring the rest of their belongings once students are back from the trip. Parents will not be permitted to bring belongings to campus or to be let into student rooms while students are away on LandSea.

I am from out of state. Can I move in earlier?

Out-of-state students may, according to travel plans, need to arrive in Kalamazoo early. However, neither LandSea nor Residential Life is able to accommodate students who arrive prior to the check-in date. If you will be coming from outside the region and need to arrive on the day before check-in, there are several hotels located near campus. The Radisson Hotel is located downtown, has an airport shuttle, and is less than one mile walking distance from campus. There are also several taxi services that you can call to set up a ride from the airport to the hotel as well as to campus.

FAQ: On LandSea

What is the weather like?

During LandSea, it is important to plan for everything from hot, sunny days (70’s to 90’s) to cold (30’s to 40’s) nights. It will rain!  Be prepared both physically and mentally to get wet!!!

What type of food is there on LandSea?

Hot meals on LandSea are usually eaten at breakfast and dinner, and student groups share the responsibility of preparing them on their own. Breakfast foods include: oatmeal, cereal, granola, pancakes, tea, and hot chocolate. Lunch usually consists of GORP (trail mix), cheese, summer sausage, crackers, and peanut butter. For dinner, you will have rice, noodles, couscous, dried potatoes, soup bases, dried vegetables, tuna packets, summer sausage, lentils, quinoa and beans. These foods can be combined, and with the right spices and some creativity, your meals can be great!

Do I have to participate in everything?

LandSea staff and leaders believe that each student has the ability to decide their level of involvement in most activities, and each member of the group is empowered to ‘safety veto’ any activity that is perceived as unsafe. There are some elements that each student chooses to participate in simply by signing up for the trip. For instance, each participant is expected to sleep under a tarp with the group, participate in camp chores, respect other group members, and stay for the duration of the program. Level of participation during climb & rappel and service & solo, can be determined by each individual. Many decisions will be made by the group while on trail.

If students have any concerns during the trip they are encouraged to reach out to their Trip Leaders or LandSea staff.

Is smoking allowed on LandSea?

No. Any smokers will be expected to abstain for the duration of their participation. We encourage those who struggle with smoking but still want to participate in Landsea to seek support prior to beginning program. If students have any concerns during the trip they are encouraged to reach out to their Trip Leaders or LandSea staff. Those violating this policy will be removed from the program at their own expense.

What happens if I have used or am using cigarettes, alcohol, and/or any other recreational drugs?

Any participant using or possessing cigarettes, alcohol, and/or any other recreational drugs will be subject to dismissal from the program and forfeiture of fees including transportation home.

What happens if I become ill/injured while on LandSea?

It all depends on the severity of the injury and/or illness.  All our trips head out into the park with a fully stocked first aid kit.  Also, all of our leaders are certified in First Aid, Wilderness First Aid, or Wilderness First Responders depending on the trip.  If your situation requires you to be evacuated from the park, you will be taken by staff to the closest medical center. LandSea will cover the bill while you are up on LandSea.  Once we return to Kalamazoo, your family will receive a letter from us with a copy of the receipt asking for reimbursement.  We request that you pay LandSea back for any and all medical expenses and submit the receipt to your insurance company to be appropriately compensated for the expenses.  We will take care of any food, lodging and local transportation during your medical emergency.  For further information regarding medical expenses, please consult the LandSea release form and/or contact us.  However, please note that it is still important that we have your insurance information, as some plans require pre-authorization before conducting surgery.

Will I be back in time for the college’s orientation program?

Yes! You will arrive back at “K” before any of the orientation events are scheduled to begin. Click here for exact dates of the LandSea program.

FAQ: LandSea Kalamazoo

What do we do each day at Camp Merrie Woode?

Each group participate in a few activities each day during the program. Your group will have opportunities to go for short day hikes, paddle and swim on the lake, participate in team-building activities, cook meals over a fire together, participate in a service project at camp, and more! Groups will also have some chances to pick their activities throughout the week.

Are there toilets?

Campsites that groups stay at are closest to pit toilets. Flushing toilets, running water, and showers are within a 5-10 minute walk from each campsite.

Where will I be staying?

The LandSea Kalamazoo program stays at established campsites on the Camp Merrie Woode property. Groups will utilize tents as shelter from the elements. All campsites are also equipped with a fire ring, and are walking distance to a pit or flushable toilet.

FAQ: LandSea Adirondacks

Am I expected to interact with a bear?

While black bears exist in the Adirondacks, most are only interested in food. All LandSea participants and leaders will store food within bear-proof canisters, in addition all leaders are trained in proper bear precautions. More information on black bears vs other types can be found in the participant handbook

What are the trails like?

The trails vary depending on the section of the park. The areas of the park lower in elevation have trails that run through wooded and/or marshy areas, whereas the trails in the higher regions of the park run along ridges. Rough, uneven terrain with elevation changes is characteristic of both.

How far do we hike each day?

When on trail, eachgroup will hike approximately 4-8 miles per day over rough terrain with elevation changes of up to 3500 feet.

How far do we canoe?

When on the water, expect to canoe approximately 6-10 miles per day and to portage anywhere from .5-2 miles per day.

What is portaging?

A series of trails, called portages or carries, connect lakes or provide ways around river obstacles such as rapids and waterfalls. Portaging involves carrying a canoe on these trails to the next lake or put-in. Portages vary in length from 50 feet to 2 miles. Not all LandSea Adirondack trips will encounter portages.

Are there toilets?

While at our home-base on Massawepie Lake, expect to have access to pit toilets. On trail portions of the Adirondack programs, there are no toilets. Leaders will teach the group Leave No Trace principles, how to dig “cat holes,” and proper backcountry hygiene while on trail.

Where will I be staying?

The LandSea Basecamp program stays in bunks in small cabins or canvas-sided tents. The LandSea Expedition program uses large tarps instead of tents when protection from the elements is required at night.

How do I get clean? Should I bring soap?

There will be opportunities to get clean by swimming in lakes. However, there is NO SOAP ALLOWED IN THE LAKES, even if it is biodegradable soap. To wash using biodegradable soap: rinse yourself in the water, then go onto shore, at least 150 feet away from the water and lather up. Bring water with you in either a water bottle or a pot to rinse off. Dig a hole and bury the soapy water. Most LandSea participants end up not taking or using soap and feel that scrubbing in the water is sufficient! However, camp soap is provided in the LandSea cook kits and is available to participants.

How heavy will our backpacks be?

The weight of your pack will vary, partially depending on the weight of your gear, but a good estimate is around 40-50 lbs.

How heavy are the canoes?

The canoes used on LandSea weigh about 60 lbs and are usually portaged by two people.

What is the Service and Solo component of LandSea Adirondacks?

The Service & Solo component of LandSea is approximately two days and takes place at the end of the Adirondack program. Options during this section include a Solo experience, trail/land management project, and group reflection. Participants have utilized this time to reflect on the LandSea experience, mentally prepare for the upcoming transition to college and give back to the areas that we use for the program through a service project. Participants are able to choose between two days of solo, two days of service, or a mix of the two!

Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have about the Service & Solo component of the program!

What is solo and why is it a part of LandSea?

Solo is one of the options of the Service & Solo component of LandSea. Solo is an experience where participants remain alone for approximately two days and nights placed at different points around a small lake.

Participants will have a whistle for safety purposes, and there will always be several leaders or staff members camped on the same lake, within contact in case of emergency. Twice a day, the leaders will canoe by each solo site to ensure participants are safe and do not need anything. Participants are strongly encouraged to drink a lot of water and have the option of fasting. Solo is not designed as a test of survival skills, but rather an opportunity for students to reflect and evaluate their life, the LandSea experience, and their upcoming transition to college. The simplicity of spending time alone in the woods resting, thinking, and writing may provide a welcomed break from the physical, emotional, and social intensity of the rest of LandSea.

Is there food on the solo option of Service & Solo?

Participants have the option to choose to fast during solo. If you choose not to (or have a medical condition that will prohibit you from fasting), food will be available.

Food is not allowed to be kept at solo sites because there is not an opportunity to do bear hangs at solo sites. If a participant chooses to eat during solo, leaders will work out a schedule for bringing food for meals. 

FAQ: Miscellaneous

What is the cancellation policy of LandSea?

Due to the fixed costs associated with the LandSea Program, if for any reason (including, but not limited to: sickness, injury, or personal/family emergencies) you cannot participate in LandSea after sending in your payment, our cancellation policy is as follows:

If you notify us between July 16-31, you are responsible for 50% of the cost of the trip.

If you notify us by August 1st or after, you are responsible for the entire cost of the trip.

 Note:  The deposit is non-refundable

Who are the leaders?

Leaders are current students or recent graduates of Kalamazoo College. They have been selected through an application process which includes an application, personal and group interview. Leaders undergo around 4 weeks of leadership and technical training, as well as medical training. Leaders are able to support participants on LandSea as well as answer questions about what the “K” experience. More information about the leaders is located on the LandSea Leaders page.

Who is the LandSea staff?

Information about the LandSea staff is located on the Staff page.