Backpacking Tips and Safety Skills to Know About!
Ever wondered what it would feel like to hit the trail by yourself and be in sync with nature? No doubt you have. Backpacking is one such way, and a well-planned backpacking trip can give you the mental energy boost you need.
That is why we bring you some top-notch, well-researched backpacking tips and advice, which will not only make backpacking a fun and wholesome experience but also ensure that your safety is never compromised.
So, before planning that trip any further, do read this guide on backpacking tips and safety skills. We guarantee you will love it!
Why Even Go Backpacking?
A backpacking trip can be an amazing way to unwind and relax. Even though it is a form of physical exertion, it will do wonders for you.
Getting in touch with the surroundings and nature is what hikers look forward to. Amateurs and pros alike feel thrilled just by planning the trip.
Even if you are not a regular hiker, you should take that trip just to reconnect with yourself, which is self-discovery of some sort.
Doing so will give you time to reflect more, and also get your body in better shape. A hike is a guaranteed way of losing a few calories and also taking a break from the hassles at home or work.
So hopefully, this clears out a few reasons why you should go backpacking in the first place.
How to Get Started
So, you finally decided on that trip, but are unsure how you should start. No worries, we got you covered there, too. Here, we will discuss some tips to get started before hitting the trail.
First things first, pick a good spot. This means you have to pick an area where hikers are allowed, such as state parks, range parks in the backcountry, national parks, etc. This is crucial to do beforehand, as not all areas are open for hiking due to safety or legal issues.
Trip planning apps and websites can help you with this. But, make sure they are reliable and can be contacted with a valid email address if needed.
While backpacking solo could be a life-altering experience, going with a group is still worth it. More people will ensure safety in a group, and if it's your first time on a backpacking trip or hiking excursion, then going with fellow backpackers will get you used to it.
So, try to pick a group beforehand; even better if you go with people you know and trust.
Go Shopping for Essentials First
This means getting the required gear, such as rain gear, water bottles, body gear like pouches, bags, and so on.
You want to be well packed on the big day, and not buying a good backpack or water bottle will seriously dent your plans.
Do Some Research
The principal step that should take precedence over others is that you should know a fair deal about the place where you are going. This includes its location, the skills required to go there, the flora and fauna, and so on.
And this knowledge may not have to be deep and profound, the basics will do. For instance, if the backpacking trail is susceptible to bear attacks, or if there are mosquitoes in the area, you may need to carry repellent.
All of this information will help you stay updated and prepared for just about anything.
Backpacking Safety Tips
Time to get to the meat of the matter now, and bring you some pro tips and advice in terms of safety rules to make sure your hiking and backpacking experience goes as planned.
Read through this section carefully to stay prepared, and help others do the same.
Adequate Water Supply
By this, we do not mean that you need to carry 10 gallons or 100 bottles of water. We mean that you should carry the amount you think is needed based on the duration of the hike and pack adequately.
The water should be kept in a clean container of course, as you have no idea where the nearest water filter or clean water source may be. Also, it would be wise to pack some saline packets for replenishment.
Another thing you could consider is using a reusable water bottle. There are special reusable water bottles available for backpacker's trip. These come in the shape of bladders and have a water capacity of 2L or more.
You can share them around too, provided you have enough to spare.
It is easy to get lost on the trail, even more so when you do not know the trail conditions. In this case, location monitoring can do wonders and get you out of trouble. For instance, your phone should have GPS connectivity to keep in touch with the group or your hiking partner.
A map and compass with similar credentials can help locate the nearest ranger station, and share the info with fellow hiking partners.
We cannot stress how important this point is, yet it is widely ignored. Carrying essential drugs and first aid supplies is one of the best practices you could take part in.
It can be essential for your life as well, especially if you have an allergy issue. Pack all the essential medication in your backpack, and make sure they are well-sealed and covered to avoid damage via water spills or hiking accidents.
On a hike, food can be of immense value. Any backpacker knows how important food reserves can be. Dry food is essential, as you may not get a camp stove. Try this No Cook Backpacking Lunch Ideas. When backpacking, do not carry large meals, rather carry a food bag.
For hot chocolate, you can carry a separate bottle. However, when enjoying food on a backpacking trip, make sure to leave no trace of leftovers. This will attract animal life, like bears.
After dry meals, there is the issue of sleeping, especially if you plan on a multiple-day backpacking trip. In the wilderness, sleeping in a sleeping bag may not be a good choice. A tent is a better option instead.
For starters, a tent is more durable. Moreover, tents provide more safety against adverse weather conditions. You can also share it with another person. Tents can be erected near trees or water sources.
Along with the tent, you should also pack a spare blanket, a backpacking pillow, tent pegs, and relevant gear. In the wilderness, insect repellent is also a must.
Just like food, lighting is also important. Backpacking trails can get dark soon, posing threat to life, as animals lurk nearby. When on a hike, a flashlight can do more service than map and compass sets, as it can keep the trail illuminated.
Amateur backpackers forget to pack this essential hiking element, compromising the safety of the hike.
A light source will keep you more alert & vigilant, and make you feel safer. You can also share it with a fellow backpacker in the team.
Insect repellent, in particular those for mosquitoes and bugs, is very important when hiking. Your life may become very tough without them.
Some backcountry backpacking trails are breeding grounds for bugs, snakes, and even dangerous plants. However, mosquitoes and the usual bugs are the main concern.
Having repellent in your hiking gear will alleviate a lot of concerns regarding insect bites, some of which may even lead to deadly infections like Lyme disease. Keep some repellent in your tent too, when you sleep at night.
Suitable Body Attire
There is no fixed rule regarding what or what not to wear. Different backpackers have different body attire choices. However, we can tell you that home attire is not that good, and you should pack more specific things.
You should pack a lot of socks since wet socks can cause foot fungus. The backcountry can be a harsh terrain; hence boots should be worn. Next, pack a warm jacket, in case it gets chilly.
Loose-fitting clothes like T-shirts and full trousers are better, as they keep the skin protected. Pack some extra undergarments, too.
Lastly, do not share your clothes. While you can share the water, tent, and food, you should not share clothes for hygiene purposes, as the backcountry trails can get your clothes dirty and riddled with bacteria.
Not really a hard requirement, but we thought some backpacking photography tips could be mentioned.
Do not carry a camera in the open. Bring out the camera only if you have to take photos. Other times, keep it with the rest of your gear inside the backpack. Avoid losing sight of it, as things can get lost quickly.
And finally, when on a backpacking trail, try not to use flash, as this could startle animals nearby and draw attention.
We do not mean a full-on assault rifle here; but if you want to carry one check this guide on How to Carry a Gun While Backpacking. Further a knife can get you out of a lot of trouble, provided it is used well. Some backcountry trails can be loaded with trees & weeds, and you may face the occasional threat.
A knife can cut through wood, shrubs, and the likes, and is something useful to have in the backpack. However, your knife skills have to be good. For this, learn a few knife tricks, such as how to quickly cut around shrubs, remove plants from the root, and so on.
A Brief Look at Safety Skills
So, we covered what should go in your backpack, and also spoke about relevant backcountry gear. Now, it's time to share some skills that will do you good when you go backpacking.
Lighting a Fire
While this may sound old fashioned, knowing how to light a fire is a very crucial skill, one that will serve you well on your backpacking trip. It will save you when there is a shortage of artificial light and no other options left.
Even if you don't need to light a fire, it is a good skill to have in the gear, one that gives bragging rights!
Knowing how to read a basic GPS app will do wonders on the trail. There’s no need to be a tech guru to know how to do this, just some basic practice will do.
GPS can be indispensable on a backpacking trip since it keeps you on the grid. Also, stay logged in to your social account via your email address in case of emergencies.
Setting up Tents
Knowing how to set up a tent is important, more than we can state in fact. A trail can be a rough place at times, and a tent offers refuge from the elements. Knowing how to set a tent is rule number 1 in the rule-book of hiking and backpacking. You can check this easy to build ALPS Lynx One Person Tent.
Poisonous or Not??
This refers to dealing with plants or fruits you may see on the trail. We would recommend staying clear of unknown or unusual looking plants. Also, we recommend knowing what common poisonous plants look like. This includes poison ivy, poison oak, and more.
Your backpacking trip or excursion will be a disaster if you end up making contact with these categories of fauna. So, it’s better to know more than staying ignorant.
Otherwise, a hospital trip may soon be on your schedule.
We want your trip to be memorable, and one thing we know is, insider knowledge always helps. Hiking even on a docile trail can be daunting for beginners, but that should not eliminate the fun of it.
That's why our article on backpacking tips and safety skills has been composed. We want you to enjoy the best of nature, without compromising safety.
So, do give this guide a good read. Better yet, try sharing what you learned with your friends. Backpacking can be an exhilarating experience, so do not miss out on it. Till the next time!