Planning A Backpacking Trip│A Complete Guide By Pro

That feeling comes. The one that urges you to bond with nature, walk through it, see the darkest night in the wild, that if the feeling I am referring to. A walk occasionally in a calm environment can try to satisfy it and succeed temporarily. There is something a little more than that walk and a little more than camping in the wild. It is the backpacking trip.

This is the kind of trip where you cover a long distance, mostly on foot, in the wild. You can be gone for a day, five days or even a week if you wish. All your supplies are with you; food, shelter, clothing, name it. It is an exciting involvement I can feel it!

The question is how we make it successful, with the least hitches. It takes an elaborate plan, as I will explain below.

Choose a PlaceWhere To Backpack?

You are going somewhere and you need to know exactly where. It will help you so much in knowing what to carry, the safety measures to observe and what to wear. Your detailed route plan will not be complete if you do not know exactly where you will go. If you plan thoroughly, it will not be only about your destination, but also about knowing the best place for you and your partners.

It is not a difficult ordeal. Some guiding factors will aid you in concluding where to go. Knowing time of the year, trail distance and types and the guidebooks availed are important. Your colleagues, personal preferences and budget matter too. These factors will guide you in eventually settling on a route to take.

Trail Type

The type of trail you want depends on how explorative you want to be. Knowing them will help you choose the track to cover in your excursion. There are three main types of trails, and they are as highlighted below.

Loop trail: You will cover a route in a somewhat circular manner. It involves you starting your journey at a certain point and ending it there, but not covering the same trail twice. It is the best if you want to end your trip at the same point you started it, but not see any other spot twice.

Out and back trail: If you want to walk back and forth while retracing your steps, this one is for you. It is difficult getting lost because you leave and come back using the very same route. The starting point and the end is one spot.

Point to point trail: It is an exciting one. Your beginning will not be your ending. You get to pick a starting point, travel through a certain way and eventually get to the end somewhere else. You need your map. If you are driving, it is easier if you are not alone since you need two cars.

Trail Distance

Very key. You need to know how far you can go, without straining your body. You can only take a limit. Decide if you are out on a leisure journey with numerous relaxation stops or an explorative one with minimal stops.

If you are new at this, it is advisable that you start small. Pick a trail with short distance to reduce risks and boredom. 3 to 10 miles per day is a good idea, depending on the terrain.

If backpacking is your thing, have whatever distance you usually do or a little more.

Time of The Year

You have to check the weather; otherwise, you may be in for a rude shock. Once you study it and you are knowledgeable about possible weather changes, you can decide so much. The clothes you carry and type of shelter depend on it.

It will also keep you posted on what kind of trail to pick. A low elevation in the winter is better than one highly elevated. You will be so disappointed if you do not keep updated on what season it is; you may put your life at risk because of ignorance.

Permits and Regulations

There are always rules even when out for fun. Check if among the destination options you have special permits are required. It will come in handy in planning the activities you and your friends will be involved in out there.

Some places require that you carry a bear-proof canister while others can ban campfires. You can even get one that you must be given a pass to journey at night. Scrutinize your options for such regulations and permits for you to make the most suitable decision.

Expertise

An expert backpacker can go just about anywhere because of the experience gained over time. However, for beginners, go with experienced friends or a ranger. Begin by testing how far and fast you can go without straining. Do it during the day at a convenient place.

It is also important to know if you have the skills to hike at night. Start by planning a single night out then see how you like it. Multiple nights trips as a tester are a bad idea. You might be scared of the dark in the forest, or mountain so start with just one.

Time and Budget Strains

This is a costly mission. Purchasing the backpack, sleeping gear, food, and safety apparatus is no joke. Food is also costly. If this there is a likelihood of any strain on your budget, then choose a region near your home. A local area will shred transportation costs.

Time is a factor too. You want to go hiking, but you do not know how much time it will take. Newbies should get a place early enough. This will give you more planning time. That last minute rush will spoil all the fun.

Maps and Directional Guides

Make sure you have this. A place that offers its own guidebooks is very convenient for both you and your squad. You may not know how important this is until that time you are lost in the jungle and your friends and family are worried sick at home.

Leave a copy of these guides with a trusted family member or pal. You can also give the ranger. A topographical map is the best. Carry a compass too. Not for you to tell where the sun rises from but to guide you in how far you are deviating from the right direction if you get lost.

Backpacking Checklist

Now that we are planning, we need to be thorough. Your mountaineering wardrobe, kitchenware, safety precautions gear and tent need to be in place. You need not forget that water and food are mandatory. So, how do we not forget anything? What do we need?

A backpacking checklist! This detailed list has all the things you need out there noted. A very helpful list it is and should be prepared collaboratively by all hikers involved. It also keeps records of required things for future reference. What a nightmare if you lack one!

Backpack

Backpack For Camping

This is the backbone of your trip, without which, it is a backpacking trip no more. It is where you shall put all the gear required in this mission. For this purpose, consider investing heavily in the best there is. When purchasing it, consider three things: capacity, the fit, and features.

Capacity: 

How much your bag should hold depends on how long you intend to be away. There are bags of different capacities, all classified in relation to time spent. The longer you want to hike, the more voluminous your backpack should be. Options available include the following:

Weekend capacity:

Their capacity ranges from 30-50L. If you are going on a 1-3 day hike, this one suits you. It is spacious, but you have to pack carefully. There is no extra space. It is enough for one person.

Multiday capacity:

The capacity for this one is 50-80L. Comfortably you will go 3-5 nights on the trail with this bag. Your gears fit in perfectly, and some extra room can remain if you pack carefully. It can also fit weekend getaways if you want a bigger one.

Extended capacity:

This 70L+ backpack can accommodate your 5-day luggage. You can extend your outing two extra days relaxed. It is also convenient for hikers who love going out in the winter. Bulky clothes have their space.

Backpack Fit: 

You need that comfort. If you can, visit a retailer in person and try the bag you like on. The worst jaunt is one where you have an uncomfortable bag. You will sweat, strain, tire and get annoyed. If you have to shop online, know your torso length and waist size.

Torso length:

These bags come in numerous sizes, ranging from extra-tiny to extra-large. All torso lengths are catered for; it is just up to you to pick your match. Most models have adjustable suspensions, just for you.

Waist size:

The best bags are those that reach your hips and rest there. This enables weight to be distributed uniformly, and your stability improves. Despite them having adjustable waist belts, get a backpack that fits you perfectly.

Features

These are your guidelines for purchasing a backpack suiting your needs.

Frame type

There are three common types of frame: the internal, external and frameless type.

Internal frame – It is the most common frame type. The frame is located inside the bag. This keeps you stable on rough terrain. Better still, your hips get evenly distributed weight.

External frame – Has the frame exterior. If your load is irregular, your bag will not look like an old pillow. You easily organize it. Elaborate ventilation is a plus from externally framed bags.

Extended frame – well, they are good, in fact, the best. They suit ultralight backpackers. Beginners will find it complicated.

Access

Look for a backpack that enables you to access tour package easily. Such a bag can save you the headache of disorganizing everything just to access one pocket. The assisting things to consider include:

Panel access – Items at the bottom of your bag may be hard to access if your bag has a top opening only. It is wearisome. One with a panel access has an opening at the bottom, the front access panel. Have this one.

Top-loading – When packing, start with the least used items. Their space at the bottom is opportune. Frequently used things should be at the top to make your contact effortless. Luckily, this design sorts this out and is very common.

Pockets

Pocket layouts vary widely. Whichever layout impresses you is up to your preferred taste and the load you will carry. A single bag can have a combination of more than one layout. The following are the most common pocket layouts.

Hip-belt pockets – The location of this one is at the hip. It looks like a belt but has pockets on it. Your small snacks, smartphone, and painkiller, have a storage compartment here.

Side pockets – These pockets usually hold tent poles, water bottles and other things like an umbrella. Their elasticity favors the use. You will find them on the sides of your bag.  

Sleeping bag compartment – Wow, very convenient. At the bottom part of some bags, there is space for your sleeping bag. You can easily access them.

Shovel pockets – Originally, these pockets were meant for snow shovels, but now they can hold even a raincoat. You find such pockets at the front part of your carrier.

Removable daypack – Well, you might not always need these additional pockets, so some carriers do not have them. They, however, have removable ones that can be fixed when needed.

Hydration reservoir – A long journey needs you carrying as much water as you can. Some backpacks have a sleeve on the inside that can hold some extra water for you.

Attachment points

When looking for a great bag, have one with some points of attachment for extra gear and pockets. One can have a camera-holding hook or an attachment point for some tool loops. This way, you have easy access, and overloading chances are minimal.

Rain cover

There are some bags containing a rain cover. In the case that it rains or your bag gets water on it, your package inside shall remain dry. If this feature is missing, pack your things in a separate waterproof sack then stuff them in your bag. Believe me, this counts.

Ventilation

As you tour places with your back holding luggage, you are likely to sweat. The moment you start sweating you get uncomfortable, tired and wet. This is not good. I commend a backpack with a mesh back to enhance ventilation.

Padding

Weight to be distributed to your entire back and hip evenly. This prevents stress on muscles. Select a bag with sufficient pads for that matter. A well-padded backpack reduces the chances of having sore hips and lower back.

Clothing and Footwear

Cloths For Backpacking

What you wear can make or break your gracious trip. It starts right from your feet to your head. In fact, the attire you dress in can be classified into layers. This comes in handy when you have to undress to keep cool or have to dress up to maintain warmth.

A dressing tip: it is easier to keep warm than to get warm. On that note, have the clothes that will promote coziness in both the cold and warmth. Your shoes and socks are another vital part of dressing you have to prioritize. Consider having the following outfit layers.

Base Layer

These are the clothes in direct contact with your skin. Definitely if you a want a smooth time, you have to remember that, everything starts from within. Relatively loosely fitting clothes are ideal. They should dry up quickly to avoid accumulating sweat on you.

Polyester, ultrathin merino wool, and polypropylene are a good material to go with. Avoid cotton. It takes long to dry and having sweated for long on your skin makes you prone to yeast infection. You do not want that.

Base layers include your tops, bottoms, vests, and bras. For the tops and bottoms, purchase hiking clothes. They are snug. Pants with zip-off lower legs can be converted to shorts. I would advise you to pick sports bras over regular bras with metallic and plastic parts. This is for the relief of course.

Insulators

You are out in the cold, and you cannot walk with a lit fire. Your body warmth is all you have. This heat has to be conserved from escaping into thin air, hence insulating clothes. The material ranges from synthetic fleeces to wool of various thicknesses to high loft synthetics.

Synthetics, for instance, are easy to ventilate, warmer for their weight if compared to wool and they dry up pretty fast. Moreover, they trap heat you release and conserve it, even if it rains outside. This kind of attire also last long and can be washed without difficulty by a washing machine.

Pullovers and fleece jackets are among renowned paddings. They are light and warm, so your load is not much, but the warmth is considerably improved. Have warm pants and extra ones too if you can. Your night at that camp you rest at is better in a warm pant.

Outerwear

It is not about the looks; it is about the function. Outerwear is directly exposed to the environment. They should be waterproof and allow ventilation simultaneously. When cold, you want something that will repel rain. In dry conditions, you want something windproof.

A raincoat is a great example of outerwear. It keeps you dry in all covered body parts. The moment you pair this with fleece jackets, the insulators, you are so warm that you would not notice how cold it is. Headwear is an outerwear too so carry a hat to keep scorching sunrays away from your face.

Footwear

Let us think about sweaty socks. No, let us not, it is disgusting. Cotton socks will mess you up because they will soak in foot sweat and take forever to dry up. You may even get athletes foot and blisters so avoid them. Use woolen or synthetic socks.

Ladies, no fancy shoes, please! It is not about the looks, remember? Coming home to nurse blisters is not what you want. You will also love to walk with ease. Mid-cut boots, as well as full-cut boots, will do. Hikers are also popular with trail runners.

Shelter and Tents

Shelter And Tents

You can try touring the place all night, but I would advise you not to. You are a living thing, so you need to rest and under good shelter for that matter. Carry a tent, preferably one with a maximum capacity of two. It is conveniently portable.

Below are factors you need to look into when in search for the best backpacking trip tent.

Tent Capacity

Tent capacity dictates how many adults can be housed. It also includes information about the comfort it offers and the weight it has. You will not just choose a tent without looking into its portability; the more weight it has, the more tedious it is carrying it.

Capacity – A good tent will accommodate two people or less. This gives you more room for rest with least congestion. Tents that are more voluminous tend to be bulky.

Livability – can you relax in there? Or it is going to be one dark nightmare staying in it? Look into its floor dimensions, wall heights, and storage capacity and buy the livable tent.

Weight – definitely the lighter the tent is, the better. This is even more important if you are alone. Since two is better than one, weight is also less with two than with one. Let your partner carry the poles as you journey with the tent body. Distribute weight.

Tent Seasonality

Shelters vary with seasons. A winter camp differs from a summer camp. There are those that are designed to withstand three seasons or more. These are the ideal choice for a backpacking trip. The features are as below:

3 season – these can withstand rain and wind but of moderate measure. They are good for use in the summer, spring and fall.

3-4 season – they are good. They can hold some mild snow hence are used in mild winter. They are best in the spring, summer, and autumn.

4 season – they can withstand heavy snow hence are what mountaineers choose most. They are too insulated to be used in the summer. Best for shelter in the winter, fall, and spring.

Tent Features

The capacity and seasonality matter but there is more that does too. Your rest time is vital so look into the following particulars when purchasing a marquee.

Poles – the weight and strength is chief. Get one that can withstand strong winds but still light. Aluminum poles are strong and lightweight.

Material – you want a waterproof tent, and that lasts long. You want something worthy of your money. Then I can tell you that you want a tent made from high-denier fabrics.

Wall type – two renowned wall types are single walls and double walls. A single wall has the rainfly and tent body combined whereas a double wall separates them. For portability, a single wall tent will do.

Inner loops – if you can get pockets inside your tent, you are advantaged. This makes it easy to organize that space. You can easily access vital things out there.

Vestibules – it makes you tidier. You can stuff your dirty boots there instead of dirtying your floor.  They are also safe on the porch.

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag Quality Diagram

Nothing feels more refreshing than putting your sore muscles to rest after that eventful day. When I think of the kind of sleeping bag I desire when on a backpacking trip, I feel like expressing how it should be like. I might as well do it now:

Shape

The shape, weight, and construction of your sleeping bag determine how good your sleep shall. In as much as this is a physical aspect of how you will view the sleeping bag, some aspects like storage space and portability are considered. Look into the following before making that purchase.

Shape – they vary, but not to make them look fancy. Some bags are semi-rectangular in shape. However, I love the mummy-shaped ones. They are light and save on packing space.

Insulation – It should have both an insulation feature and the waterproof one. A durable water repellent will work for waterproof. Choose a synthetic sleeping bag for insulation.

Weight – both construction and shape contribute to weight. If you get the fittest shape and construction, automatically your gear gets the fittest weight.

Temperature Rating

There is sleeping gear for each season. It is for your expediency. The temperature rating is very dependent on the weather. Most hikers prefer a 3 seasoned sleeping bag. The descriptions of temperature rating are as below.

Summer – it is rated at 350 F and beyond.

3 season – best for 100F to 350F temperature range.

Winter – rated for 100F and below.

Features

A good choice should include the following features;

Hood – this is for your head. Keep it warm under the hood.

Pillow pocket – you can leave your pillow and stash soft clothes in this pocket. This saves on luggage.

Draft tube/ collar – it is an insulated tube located along your zipper. It is also at the collar. Warm air inside the bag stays there trapped.

Kitchenware/Cooking accessories

Cooking And Food In The Camping

You may decide to survive on packed foods and not cook, but why would you decide to miss cooking in the wild.

Most campers and backpackers love doing it, especially when gathered around a fire. The following are things you can bring to use in cooking. Keep it as lightweight as possible.

Stove and fuel

Do not forget it. A backcountry stove will do. Pack fuel that will sustain you throughout the trip. A fuel shortage out there is a nightmare. You can choose between a butane/ propane canister stove and the white gas one. I like canister stoves. Very light and portable.

Pot set

You may want more, but you need just one. This is to save on heavy loads and cleaning convenience. You can, however, purchase a backpacking pot set if you want to use more than one pot.

Bowl, cup, spoon

This combination reminds me of boarding school where you need just one of each eating utensil. But seriously, one cup and plate per person will do. To save on carrying too much, use your spoon to cook.

Sponge and soap

You are interacting with nature – be friendly. So many biodegradable soaps are sold out there, specially made for people visiting the wild. They are so good you can use them to brush your teeth. That cleaning sponge is necessary too.

Food and water

Backpacking Food And Water

You are not going to survive on wild berries and rainwater; you have to carry food. This is regardless of whether it is a one-day trip or a week. Your sweaty body needs hydration, or else you will collapse. Adequate feeding and hydration keep you focused, happy and healthy.

I like carrying freeze-dried meals. They are very easy to carry and cook. Dried foods have less weight than normal food because of the expelled water. Since your cooler stays home, fresh foods are not to be carried.

Common foods enjoyed at the expedition include noodles, rice, oatmeal, pasta and soup mixes. These are best for dinner. During the day, you are busy, so you will not be able to cook. Ready to eat snacks like energy bars and dried fruit will sort your hunger needs.

Store your food properly. Monkeys and bears get attracted to your spot easily, so you need to know how to keep them away. There are secure food sacks for food you can purchase. For additional caution, get yourself a bear proof canister.

You will die without water. Invest your time in enquiring about water stopovers or sources along the route you intend to follow. Some of these places dry up in the summer when you need the water the most.

Each person needs at least 2L of water a day. The more days you spend touring, the more water you should have. Water bottles come in handy here. Put them inside pockets for easy access. Use the hydration reservoirs too.

Electronics and Communication

Electrinics And Communication Items

You might expect to find the best network in the hills. The opposite is what happens. Cell phone network is so low, so you need other means of communication. Means of charging shall also need improvisation since there are no sockets mounted on trees.

Have a satellite phone, 2-way radios or a personal locator beacon. These have better network reception. Include a solar charger or two too. Yes, you shall use the sun to charge your gadgets. If you like music, go with your headphones too.

The 10 Essentials – Must Have for Backpacking & Camping

 

These are things that apply to all backpacking trips you shall go. If you like, you can pack them and always leave them packed unless you want to clean them. Their compartment can always have them.

These tools always have a use, regular or emergency. You can always update the list anytime you feel like you have discovered a new essential item. For now, the following are current essential equipment for any backpacking mission.

Navigation

You need to know where you are going. Maps and compasses are things you should never miss. You can also include a GPS receiver. Carry the altimeter if you have one. It shall inform you of your elevation from the flat ground.

Insulation

First, study the weather and discern the worst possible it could get. After obtaining this piece of information, pack insulation clothes that can keep your body temperature at optimum in the worst weather predicted. Long pants and tops will do. Pack fleece jackets too.

Illumination

A source of light in this journey will do you and your friends good. You can have flashlights and packable lanterns but remember to carry the fuel as well as extra batteries. Headlamps are the best though. They are light, and their operation is hands-free.

Sun protection


This includes sunglasses and sunscreen. Both of them must have the ability to block ultraviolet rays from reaching your skin completely. For snowy conditions, dark glasses are the best. Invest further in sun protection clothing if you decide to trek in the summer.

First aid kit


If you have a first aid kit that never leaves your car even when going to the market, why not have a backpacking first aid kit too? Nobody anticipates accidents but they happen anyway. You can own a preassembled one then have your preferred additions to it. Indispensable items it should have are:

  • Blister treatment
  • Gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Adhesive bandages of various sizes
  • Over-the-counter painkillers

Fire tools

These will help you start that fire you require. There are tools specially manufactured for starting your fire in the wild. Purchase them. You can also use household candles and dry tinder to start fires. Ensure you have waterproof matchsticks or regular ones safe in a waterproof section.

Basic tools


Basic tools are like duct tapes and multitools. A multitool can have a blade, a can opener, scissors and flathead screwdriver all assorted in one. They can help you repair other gear, make kindling or prepare food. That duct tape could fix a bottle leak and broken trekking poles.

Hydration


You cannot leave water. It is essential. Every backpacker ought to have a water bottle and a collapsible reservoir to hold extra water. Take note of emergency water sources especially if it is an overnight trip. Remember to have your water purifiers with you.

Nutrition


I believe you have your edibles in order. Now you should think of food as a safety precaution. In case your voyage is extended by a day, what will you eat? Include food for one extra day. Nonperishable and light options include jerky, trail mix, and energy bars.

Emergency shelter


If you have planned for an outing for the daytime, you may want to consider carrying an emergency shelter. You could get lost or meet a friend while at it and decide to spend the night out. Some options you have are bivy sacks, ultralight tarps and space blankets.

Other Gear

Any other equipment carried is one to make your trip luxurious and that is okay. Just remember to keep your contents portable. Having said that, below is a list of other things you may want to pick up.

  • Toiletries
  • Extra garments
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Small towel
  • Pillow
  • Torch
  • Journal
  • Bear canister
  • Bear spray
  • Insect repellant
  • Ice axe
  • Trekking poles

Packing Your Bag

You have your gear in place and now all that is left is packing and leaving. If you are alone, just do it yourself and carefully. If you have company, share your items so that each one of you has something to carry. It makes the pack lighter in so many ways.

Start by packing the heaviest paraphernalia at the bottom of the bag. The least used stuff are also put there, especially those used at night. Examples are sleeping bags and your sleepwear. This way, weight distribution is better, and you are organized.

 To keep your center of gravity maintained, have some of the heavy items at the core of your pack. Even those at the bottom should be at the bottom core and surrounded by light ones. That backcountry stove, food, and water have space. Your stuffed bear-proof canister too.

At the top, pack the light stuff. You can also have some of those items you will frequently use fitted there. Sleeping pads, trekking poles and tent poles are light and can be packed at the bag top or on attachment points outside the bag. Your snacks can also be at the top and inside pockets.

If you view your bag to be having these three layers, your packing becomes easier, organized and accessible. Without such order, you will either have a difficult time accessing it or waste space. Carrying that carrier can also be hard. Pack like a backpacker.

Planning for Safety

There are six safety precautions you should take, and they are:

  • Familiarize yourself with local hazards

Having chosen your way, you now need to know what to anticipate. Unique dangers like poisonous trees, rattle snakes, and bears should be made known. You can also look out for a place to pitch your tent, one least likely to be struck by lightning. Also, carry your stocked first aid kit.

  • Go with a group

Besides making merrier, going out with a group makes you safer. A clique of like-minded people will do. This way you are less likely to disagree or get lost. If you are an experienced hiker and like doing it alone, just leave a message on the same to you trusted folks.

  • Check in with somebody before you leave

Whether alone or in a group, inform people back at home that you are gone somewhere. In case you do not make it make it back in time, an alarm will be raised, and someone will come to your rescue when in danger.

  • Pace yourself

You may want to cover so much distance within a short while. However, do not be overambitious. If you feel like you can cover 3 miles, then set yourself for two so that you may enjoy the scenery. Straining yourself poses a danger to your health.

  • Do not keep food in your tent

The scent attracts predators. You have your bear-proof canister with you; why not put it to the task? You can hang your food on trees some little distance from you for the night.

  • Carry extra water

Again, this is for your own good and safety. Be constantly hydrated.

Nonetheless, with all precautions taken, a crisis could arise. The wilderness is quite unforgiving and unpredictable. It is wild, so what do you expect. In case of an emergency like getting lost, how do we go about it?

Stick to the Plan

If you get confused or excited about a new path, maintain your cool. Think of what happens if you lost your way. Just stick to your route and plan to make it easier for your trusted friend or ranger to find you when you are lost.

Proper Skills and Equipment

Having the right apparatus is the first step to being safe. The other step is to know how to counter emergencies and use the gear. A novice can borrow skills from a more experienced partner while an expert can keep sharpening those skills.

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

Are you planning on going deep into the heart of the wild? Invest in a PLB. You will be located faster in case you lose your way. This gadget keeps track of your ways and alerts authorities close by when you need help.

S-T-O-P

This is an acronym. It stands for stop, think, observe, and plan.

Stop – stop if you panic. Eat and take water to calm down.

Think – so you are lost and done panicking. Recollect when you think you last were on the right track.

Observe – look out for landmarks that can lead you back to where you were. If you are not sure, sit and wait for help

Plan – think of what to do. In fact, say it aloud. If you are not sure on what to do at all, just await help if you have no means of calling for it.

Before You Go

These are the things that will make you readier and sure of what you are going to do out there. This is regardless of whether you are a tyro or a seasonal hiker with proficiency. Before you go, do the following things.

Practice at home

Pitch your tent at home. You can spend the night in it if you wish. Also, test your gear to ensure that they are working properly and that you know how to operate them. Inflate your sleeping bag and see that it is not torn, test your headlamp and ignite your backcountry stove.

Break in gear

Start using any new equipment you have purchased. For instance, you may not like the smell of new bags so use it and get your scent on it. As for shoes, they are gorgeous when new, but a long walk in them may blister your feet. Take random walks with them on to break in.

Work out

No joke, you have to be fit. If you go on this trip unfit, you may not come back the same. You may even give up and not complete your excursion. Exercise routinely for a month and take those long walks daily. You can even go on a day hike before that weeklong mission.

Contact a ranger

You did this when looking for a location and settled for a particular one. Now contact the ranger again and ask about attractions to look out. The ranger can also guide you on campsite restrictions and give you more info on your chosen path. Give him the specific dates you intend to adventure.

Share your plan

Talk about this plan with your friends and family. You will not be bragging; it is just you keeping them up to date with your life. In case you encounter a mishap, and they sense something fishy, they will come to your rescue. You will not be missing for months before anyone notices.

On The Trail

Set up your camp

When you arrive at the spot, you want to put your head to rest for the night, pitch your tent. The sooner you do it, the better. You will have some energy left. The best places are those with designated campsites so that you will not have to sleep in an unknown place.

Inflate your sleeping bag and set up the space you have for a restful night. Remember to do all this more than 200ft away from water masses and on stable ground. You would not want to wake up to the collapsed ground next to you.  

The water

Do you know how to use your water filter? Do not allow yourself to be stranded and thirsty. Practice using in. When on the trail, avoid taking unpurified water, no matter how clean and natural it looks. Microorganisms like clean water too, I mean, they are living things as well!

You can also choose to boil water. If you feel like you want to kill these pathogens, just take five to seven minutes to boil aqua. Chemical treatment of water collected is an effective method. You will use iodine tablets.

Preparing meals     

It is different altogether from the regular campsite kitchen. A backcountry kitchen requires you to be at least 200ft from your tent and eating from there. It is a safety measure to protect you from wild animals like bears paying you the death visit at night.

Put all the cooking utensils, food and scented items in a bear canister if you are in a bear country. It is better to be safe than sorry. As of cleaning, have your utensils cleaned at the cooking spot. Use biodegradable soap.

Food storage

Store food like your life depends on it, because it does. You can have your bear proof bag, and all you need to do is stuff food in them, alongside other scented items. At that spot you had set up your kitchenette, find a tree with a branch about 15ft above the ground.

You will hang your bag there. This is the best method known. It keeps bear-human interactions minimalized. Other animals like mice and raccoons keep off too. These canisters normally have locks that animals cannot break. You are safe, and so is your food.

Building a campfire

Is it allowed? Check with the ranger and find out if this is allowed, considering that many sites do not encourage it. It could set the whole region on fire. If it is acceptable, you have to be careful then. It is a privilege.

Use fallen wood to start the fire; do not fell trees yourself. Just keep your fire small. There may not be enough wood to keep it big anyway. It is a recommendation that when you are done with the fire, do not leave the fire unattended. Put it off and spread out the cool ashes.

How about the loo?

Yes, what about this part? You can pee in the woods but be 200ft away from your sleeping area and water. The smell of urine attracts animals towards you and makes you uncomfortable. But, what about the “long-call” of nature?

You will not just relive your solid waste in a bush and walk away, you know better than that. Dig a small hole that fits your matter and cover it with dirt and stones; nobody deserves to step on it. Pack the toilet paper you use and dispose it at home or use leaves and smooth stones. Ha-ha stone.

Wilderness Ethics

For you to go to the wild, you are either looking for a safe, peaceful place, adventuring, a lover of wild or just trying to know what the wild is like. Whatever purpose takes you there, leave it as you found it or better. Someone else would like to see it. You may come back again.

You are going to a place other animals live in so destroying it is a means of displacing them. Take care of nature and nature will take care of you. You can do two basics things as an observation of wild ethics:

Leave no trace

Your fruit peelings, papers, and wrappings are an intrusion to nature. You did not find them there so do not leave them there. As a guest, be courteous. Pack up everything you want to dispose and dispose it where you should. If somebody were to come where you were, they should lack evidence that you were there.

Respect the wilderness

Just stick to the guidelines you are given. Respect that place you visit. It is a mysterious place and can be unforgiving. When you meet other backpackers, respect them too. Respect the plants and animals. Then have a good time.

Wrapping Up

You are right, planning this marvelous pleasure trip seems daunting. But it is not the case in when you do it eight. Find the destination you would love, look into its regulations and get home to plan. A checklist simplifies the whole operation, especially if you are looking for appropriate appliances. Then dress up and start looking into the mountains eagerly.

You should take safety precautions seriously. It is to your advantage. Walk, take pictures, sleep and even drive, but remember to respect the wilderness. See? It is so easy and motivating. When you love the wild and all the natural fresh air, you can find beauty in every place. Cheers to you who embraces this beauty, you are the beauty too. Have a nice backpacking trip!

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