Backpacking should always be an amazing and rewarding experience. Otherwise, what’s the point? To ensure that your trip is as fun and memorable as possible, it’s always best to be as knowledgeable as you can in all aspects of backpacking.
Proper packing and safety are two of the biggest aspects that factor into the overall experience you are trying to achieve. If you’re in need of some tips, we’ve got you covered.
So, you’ve already acquired all of the gear that you need to make your backpacking trip. Now you need to figure out how to pack it all. Strategy in your packing is crucial for several reasons, such as balance of weight, ease of access, and prevention of the smashing or ruining certain things with spills from liquids such as lighter fluid.
You need to determine the actual capacity of your bag before you start packing it. This ensures that the pack is suitable to hold all of your gear comfortably, while avoiding any cramming or stretching the backpack. This is good for both your gear and backpack itself.
You may need to make decisions between certain gear items depending on the length of your trip and the size of your bag. This may not be an issue if your trip is in a warmer climate, but colder trips may require more gear that is also more dense.
Begin by making an inventory checklist of all the things you need, and then follow that with things that you’d like to bring, but may not be essential. Lay out all of your items, and use the checklist to make sure it’s all there. You can then move your gear into groups, which can include both weight and the ease of which you’ll need to access the items.
Zip-lock bags and stuff sacks are great for grouping items together, and for protecting them from moisture.
Ensuring that the weight of your pack is distributed in the right way is one of the most important things you can do. Backpacks are heavy, and carrying them around for 8-10 hours a day can take a toll on your body in numerous areas.
When weight is distrubted correctly, the backpack will rest comfortably on your back, without swaying or moving. This will also give you an optimal center of gravity, which not only makes it easier on your back, legs, and feet, but also gives you better mobiity adn stability when the terrain gets a little more difficult.
Here’s a quick layout of how your backpack should be weighed:
The last thing you want while traversing is for your pack’s contents to shift inside. This can mess with the weight distribution, while also affecting your stability. Use items such as shirts and jackets to fill space in between items to prevent any shifting. You can also wrap groups of items with clothing as well.
You are most likely already aware of this, but just in case you’re not; safety is of the utmost importance. Not only for your own safety, but for your hiking partner’s or group’s as well. A little common sense and knowledge goes a long way.
Be detailed with this if possible. Leave a friend or family member with the exact dates you plan on being gone, along with your probable locations and itenerary each day. In the even that something goes wrong, local officials and rescue teams will have a much easier time locating you.
Staying together is very important during a backpacking trip. Be sure to keep within a verbal distance of each other at all times. This allows you to look out for each other, as we as warn others about any potential hazard or danfer nearby. Having a member of your party get too far ahead or behind and get off track can lead to a number of unpleasant scenarios. Don’t do it.
There’s something to be said for pushing yourself, but there is also a point to where it can be too much. Hypothermia, exhaustion, and dehydration are just a few of the ailments that can turn eve more dangerous if you ignore or try to push through them.
If you are feeling weak, lightheaded, or shaky, take an extended break, or set up camp for the night. If the problem is more serious, seek local help if possible, and take an exit route that can get you closer to medical assistance.
While your focus is certainly on enjoying and taking in your surroundings, you should always be alert about what it going on around you...and above you.
Be on the lookout for any wildlife that may pose a threat, and any areas that may be more hazardous to traverse across than they initially appear. If the weather is looking like it may take a turn for the worse, it’s best to go ahead and set up camp to be safe until it passes. The last thing you want is to be caught ina downpur before you can get your shelter and camp properly set up.
Sure, this may sound a little dramatic, but nothing is a guarantee in the wilddrness. Pack an extra day’s supply of food. Bring along an extra layer of clothing. Make sure your first-aid it is fully stocked and equipped to handle a variety of injuries and ailments. The more prepared you and your party are, the better you can withstand and survive problems that come your way.
After all, making it home safe is the final part of the journey.