The 10 Essentials of Backpacking

The 10 Essentials of BackpackingEnjoying nature and exploring the back country is a rewarding experience. Not planning and not bringing the right supplies, though, can quickly turn your trip into a disaster. Plan your trip so there are no bad surprises and be prepared for an emergency.

Get in Shape

Exercise regularly before a backpacking trip so that you have enough endurance for the hike.

Plan Your Trip

Purchase a map and trail guide books so that you know what to look forward to and be prepared for.

Pack Emergency Supplies

Pack emergency gear for your trip. Every pack should contain maps, a GPS, food, water, flashlight, clothing for various weather, sunscreen, sunglasses, medications, sleeping bag and tent, matches and a fire starter, chlorine to purify water in an emergency, pocket knife and a first aid kit.

Leave Unnecessary Items at Home

Think about each item that you put into your pack. Ask yourself if the item is necessary. If it is not necessary, leave it at home. You need basic supplies and emergency items, but you do not need games. The idea is to keep your backpack as light as possible.

Means of Emergency Communication

Carry a satellite phone or a cellular phone. A satellite phone is best because it will work anywhere there is clear sky. A cellular phone is second best. Even though a cellphone will not get reception in the back country, you can hike out to use it in an emergency situation when someone gets hurt.

Backpack with Someone

Go on your packing trip with at least one other person. That way if one person gets hurt, there is another person to help.

Notify Others of Your Trip

Notify friends and family of your planned trip route so they know where to look for you if you do not return. Notify local rangers of your trip route if you will be going on a long back country hike.

Know Your Limits

Know your limits. Rest when you need it. Overexerting yourself leaves you prone to injury. Keep a steady comfortable hiking pace and rest when you need to. If you realize the hike is harder than you thought and too advanced for you, turn back.

Watch the Temperature

Stay conscience of your body's temperature and adjust your clothing to meet the weather.

Stay Hydrated and Fed

Eat and drink. Staying hydrated is important even in cold climates. Eating enough calories is essential to provide your body with the energy it needs during rigorous exercise. Drink plenty of fluids and eat high energy snacks throughout the day.


Article Written By Rose Kivi

Rose Kivi has been a writer for more than 10 years. She has a background in the nursing field, wildlife rehabilitation and habitat conservation. Kivi has authored educational textbooks, patient health care pamphlets, animal husbandry guides, outdoor survival manuals and was a contributing writer for two books in the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Series.

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