To get a good grip on what’s out there, the best way to explore around the earth is a backpacking trip. That is only if you like communing with nature, all the non-luxurious stuff there is, and other travelers on the same path as you. More than anything, backpacking is one great way to get to appreciate the beauty of nature. If I may be honest, it may be the only way to put you right in that position. Don’t get me wrong, staying in a fancy hotel with all my luggage in tow, and then just dropping by a nearby national park or trail is not a bad plan at all. It’s limited sure, but if that’s where you’re comfortable, then, by all means, go. But if you’re someone like me who loves answering the call of adventure, whether I have a place to stay for a long night in the middle of the woods or not, then, I’m all for it. So, if you feel like you’re ready to answer when adventure calls, I hope your body is prepared for all that walking and exploring. Here are nine pro tips that you can consider before making that trip of a lifetime.
Start with the 10 essentials
What are the ten essentials anyway? Navigation. Sun protection. Insulation. Lighting. First aid. Fire. Tools. Food. Water. Shelter. These are the top necessities that you need to complete before you start your trip. Make sure that you have them inside your bag to at least ensure a safe outdoor trip.
Organize and test your gear
Packing the right stuff is nonsense if you haven’t got the time to try them beforehand. This is why organizing everything that you will bring is a must. That means right before you pack them inside your bag, you have to make sure that they are in the proper condition and that they will not let you down during the entire trip. Equipping yourself with the right knowledge about the places you will visit can help make a big difference in the way you organize your stuff. It will help you identify what needs to be brought and what should be left behind. Put walking sticks on top of your list of items to bring, in case you need some reminding. If you’re unsure as to what type of gear to bring on alternating situations, then, outdoor specialty store attendants will be happy to help you sort this thing out.
Wear the right clothes
If you take this tip lightly and go out there wearing all the wrong types of clothing, then you might be putting yourself in danger—and that’s putting it mildly. For example, if you’re backpacking around a region that can get bitingly cold whatever time of the day it is and you decide to wear cotton just because it’s the most comfortable option, then you’re exposing yourself into some high risk like hypothermia. We don’t want anything like that to happen, so make sure that you plan. Bring something that isn’t only comfortable but is also fit when sudden weather shifts come around. Layering clothes is an important technique. Be sure to have the right base layers which can either come in wool or synthetic fabric blends. You also have to take into consideration the hiking clothes that you need to bring. Make sure they are quick drying for unexpected dips into the water or rain.
Check which permits you will need
National parks around the U.S. often require permits before you can enter them. To avoid delays in schedule, make it a part of your detailed schedule. You’re lucky if you can get permits right when you arrive at the entrance of the park. But that’s not the case all the time. There are strict parks that would require you to get a permit at least months before your travel date.
Give someone a detailed plan of where you’ll be
This is as much as a psychological tip as it is a precautionary measure. Knowing that someone at home knows where you are during this point in time and how long you plan to take your trip somehow gives off a sense of peace and relief. It’s not that you are assuming that something wrong is going to happen. It’s just a part of a safety plan that in case an unfortunate incident comes your way, someone can help in addressing the situation more easily. There’s an available personal locator beacon in the market that you can activate during an emergency situation. You might want to get one for yourself.
Go with an experienced backpacker
If this is your first time on a backpacking adventure, you should have an experienced backpacker right by your side during the entire trip. They may be your friends, a family member, or you can also join a group tour. It’s one way to ensure your safety while you learn the ropes of backpacking. Trust me. They can really be helpful.
Plan your backpacking food
Once you’re out there, you have limited options as to where to get your food. Some mountains or trails have pit stops and available stores around the site, but most of the time, there are no available shops in the area. To address the need to fuel your body with the right amount of food, you have to bring your own. Planning it well can positively impact your trip. When in doubt, pre-packaged meals are your best options.
Familiarize yourself with Leave No Trace Principles
Being a mindful traveler doesn’t require much effort. It’s based on a natural human instinct to respect our surroundings, especially if it is not our home. Let’s not trash the very environment that we wish to explore. The Leave No Trace principle must be observed strictly.
Be physically and mentally prepared
This doesn’t mean that you have to follow in the workout routine of an Olympic athlete, although we won’t stop you from doing that. Being physically and mentally prepared means that you are fit enough to complete all the challenges included in the backpacking trip—a lot of walking is a given and probably a few climbs that might increase your upper body strength. Being ready for these kinds of activities is vital to make the trip go as smooth as possible. Any health condition that may hinder you along the trail needs to be addressed properly before you head out. Backpacking is one of the purest ways of traveling. It won’t hurt one bit if you wish to try it at least once in your lifetime. Don’t go out there without proper planning, zero-knowledge all about what the adventure is going to be like.
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