Backpacking is a popular way to enjoy nature, exercise and get fresh air. Unfortunately though, not all backpackers are adequately prepared when they hit the trails. Don’t make the common mistakes that can leave you cold, hungry, wet or lost. Be safe and comfortable by being prepared. This is extremely important.
Navigating With Ease
Always pack a compass and map in your gear even if you’re bringing a along a GPS. Should the device fail, you can still get to where you need to be. Review your current map too before setting out, to become familiar with the course, terrain and alternate routes. Keep the map in a sealed bag to avoid damage from elements.
Essential Hydration And Nutrition
Bring food and water to last through the duration of your backpacking trip, plus an extra day. While nobody appreciates added weight, sustenance should never be compromised. Choose the lightest snacks that pack the most power with protein and nutrition. Know in advance if any fresh drinking water will be available on your route also, and mark it on your map.
Fire For Cooking Or Warmth
Have a good supply of matches in protective waterproof containers. When you get back after an outing, refurbish your stash. Many backpackers like to have an emergency fire starter kit along too, just in case. Always practice safe fire habits out in the woods, by ensuring complete extinguishment prior to leaving the area.
Emergency Medical Supplies
A typical kit consists of something to stop bleeding, a tourniquet and splint, among other smaller and potentially vital items. Buy a complete kit and refurnish any supplies you deplete every single time you go out backpacking. While you may never even have a need to open the kit, it’s too risky to gamble with your life.
Clothing That Insulates
Should you be backpacking off to a cold climate, think layers. Long johns under loose fitting yet warm clothes, covered by an insulating vest and pants should keep you warm. Depending on the length of your adventure, bringing along extra first-layer protection should suffice. Never compromise your comfort and safety by being fashionable.
Protection From The Sun
Bring along sunglasses, lip balm and sunscreen. Keep them readily accessible. Buy straps that will prevent the sunglasses from falling off, and make sure your sun protection is strong enough and not out of date.
Tools And Repairs
Duct tape is essential when backpacking, for quick repair of virtually anything, including inflatables. Invest in a high-quality utility knife that can accomplish any number of jobs without weighing your backpack down.
Light And Shelter
No matter what you’re after dark arrangements may be, you’ll need illumination. Pack a solid waterproof flashlight with extra batteries. If you will be pitching a tent, check to ensure that you’ve got all the pegs and pieces before heading out. You may wish to bring a tarp to place under your sleeping bag as well.
Preparation is the priority when backpacking. Don’t leave anything to chance or bet on mother nature following the forecast. Be ready for anything!