Backpacking is a great way to see the sights, enjoy nature, and get some exercise. Backpacking trips can be a couple hours or a couple days depending on what you want to do and how much you like to hike. If you are an inexperienced backpacker it may be in your best interest to take an experienced friend with you. But if you are experienced this is the perfect opportunity to take a newbie! Here are a few tips that can help make your backpacking trip fun and safe.
First decide on your destination. Depending on the time of year some locations may not be well suited for your trip. Stay clear of extreme heat and cold, unless you are a highly experienced backpacker. Next make sure you have experience in reading a map and have one that clearly covers the area you are looking to travel through. This is where doing a bit of research can really save you time, effort and maybe even your life. Having knowledge of the area and the know how can help keep you out of trouble. Don’t forget a compass! Get comfortable using your compass in relation with your map; knowing how to navigate will keep you on the right path and away from any danger.
Next research your location. Do you need any permits? What are the rules? Some places charge a fee for day use of overnight camping. Make sure you’re aware of the types of wildlife you may encounter and any precautions you need to take to survive with them.
The most important tip is to pack plenty of water! We know it’s heavy, but it’s vital. Many sporting goods stores carry filtration systems so you can use a nearby stream to fill a bottle and filter the water so that you don’t have to carry quite so much at once. Make sure you choose food carefully. Meals that can be reconstituted with water are a great way to pack lightly. Don’t forget snacks, they can help keep up your energy level on the go.
Pack wisely. Pack clothes that are appropriate to the conditions in which you may encounter. Only pack the necessities, after all you are carrying everything on your back. A great space saver is to share what you can between you and your hiking buddy. You’ll only need one tent, so take turns carrying it while the other person carries a ground cloth. If you are going to be camping in a place with bears, make sure you bring a bag with rope to hang all of your food and any personal products that may smell delicious. This includes your toothpaste, shampoo and gum. Don’t store food items next to your tent, bears can smell food in the tent material and won’t hesitate to clobber your tent in hopes of a snack.
Last but not least leave a detailed itinerary of where you are going and the route you plan to take. This way if anything happens there is someone who knows your location, and be sure to tell them when you have safely returned. All in all backpacking is a fun way to spend a weekend whether it’s a day trip or several days it’s a beautiful, scenic way to get out of the house and see the world. Backpacking can be done in town or out in the wilderness. Have fun and play it safe.