“Why do I need to file a Trip Report?”

Back in 2013, I volunteered for a Maine Search & Rescue (SAR) team as a search member. During that time I helped search for a missing AT hiker named Geraldine Largay “Inchworm”.Two things I learned from that search was to always carry a PLB or InReach while hiking and file a trip plan prior to leaving for a backpacking trip.

Considering I hike solo 90% of the time, doing a little prep work beforehand can make a huge difference in the event I get lost or injured while on the trail.

Originally my trip plan was a simple document that I gave my wife prior to each trip. As time went on, I found it became cumbersome and time consuming so I decided to automate my report. I took inspiration for my report from the Adventure Allan website, where he provides a good trip template.


Make your own:

If you just want to create a trip plan then download my template from the link above.

If you want to take it a step further and automate the report using Google Forms, then you need to visit Jeff Everharts website and  follow his steps in setting up the Google Forms to output to your Google Document. You will need a google account to access Forms, Sheets and Documents.

My advice is to start out with creating a variable sheet with all the variables that will get filled in using the Google Forms submission.

Create your Google Forms sheet questions and the output will go to a sheets page. The variables across the top of the sheets need to match the variables in your variable sheet and template variables.


While in sheets, go into Google Scripts and insert the code.

**Note: the code is a modified version of Jeff Everharts code. I couldn’t get his original code to work for me, so I made some changes that worked for me.

Moving on….Be sure to insert your folder and template url where the xxxxx’s are located. When you are done, be sure to click the save buttom.


If you set everything up properly, when you submit a Google Forms, your answers should go to the Google Sheets and be filled in under your selected variables. That information will then be pushed via the Google Scripts to your Trip Plan template. If your answers are showing up in the sheets but no trip plan document is being created, then you have an issue in the code with your folder template URL.

If you get everything working correctly, Google Forms will take your answers and populate your trip template variables saving you a lot of time and effort. 


Email yourself and friends your trip report:

Creating a Google doc that spits out your Google forms is cool, but let’s crank this bitch to 11 and create a “Zap” using the Zapier service to send an email of your trip report to your family and friends so they have a copy. Afterall, if no one has a copy of your cool trip report, what’s is the point of having it if you get injured or go missing?

Using the “Send email via Gmail when there is a new Google Document” via Zapier.com will allow you to send an email. I recommend a test email first to make sure everything is working correctly.

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