If you just a beginner to learn more about backpacking, well, it can be overwhelming. That is not a big problem. All advanced backpackers have experienced the same. In fact, there are many good backpackers who do not mind to answer a lot of questions from a beginner when it comes to backpacking. Of course, there are many things to consider and things you become unsure of.
Backpacking can be an amazing experience when you could make your backpacking trip is a great success. You could enjoy the views, did as you have planned with the nice weather and still you could deal with the little obstacles around you. It was like a big reward after all the solid plan and challenging trail to deal with. On the other hands, your backpacking can be miserable just because you were lack of preparation.
Just like other things, it is the fact that backpacking also requires basic principles as the same as other things you want to become well-planned. Well, you will glad that you read this. These basic principles are the best advice given by a backpacker with her experience to backpack for almost 17 years. Her first trip was when she was 11 years old and her first trip she planned on her own when she was 18. We think it is good to hear a little lesson from this person.
#1 Know Your Goal: Why Do You Have The Trip?
Do you want to start your journey into the wilds and leave your comfortable home for what? Simply, you may want to get away, but others may answer to see the scenic places, or to challenge their capability, to see how far and how light you can go, to test your limit. So, what for?
Whatever your goal, it is all about the way you have to figure it out. This is important because it is your motivation, it will be your big driver behind all your decisions when you are about planning your adventure.
#2 Know Yourself: What Comes To Your Mind When You Hear “Enjoy”?
So, the word enjoy is about the purpose statement. The way you enjoy the time on the trail or in the camp can be the purpose of your trip. But, figure it out more to find your comfort. For example, there are many backpackers do not enjoy backpacking with a heavy pack. It is uncomfortable that will also make them hate the journey, the trail, the group, and even the wildlife. The fun is suddenly disappeared. On the other hands, you may enjoy being dry over wet, warm over cold, and bug-free when you enjoy your sleeping.
The way you define the word “enjoy” will also the basic principle to help you consider your gear, your planning, and your preparation.
What can you do to train your physic?
It is important to note that backpacking is hard, physically. Your body and your knees get all the burdens. When you carry the lighter pack, it also will help you to reduce the stress on your body. It also helps you to walk for more hours for several days dealing with various terrains in all conditions. If you choose the route based on your physical and mental capacity, it means that you will experience more pleasant adventure.
In addition, trekking poles are the real help for you, especially for your knees. If you have bad knees, your trekking poles should have saved you. The trekking poles should be great to propel you uphill, after the impact on your knees when you are downhill, offer the great balance and stability crossing logs and streams.
Besides, preparation is not all about your gear, but also your body. For example, it is good to practice first. Train yourself and repeat. It is easy to practice because you can start by loading up your pack to hike nearby your home for a day. Other than that, you can try to walk in your neighborhood, go up and down the stairs at the football stadium with your filled pack. Well, there are many things you can do to train yourself.
Best of all, it is good to create your workout plan from stretches, exercise, nutrition suggestions, and outdoor activities you want to do.
What can you do to increase your knowledge?
You should learn some important things to make you easier when you are on the trail such as learning the way to navigate, what things to do when you get lost and how to navigate with a compass or a map. It does not a big deal if you have more interest to learn about the astronomy. Map and compass also are lighter compared to the GPS units. You don’t even need to recharge your map and compass since they work without batteries. Besides, it is good to use the real topographic map.
So, what can you do to learn about how to navigate?
Reading a book can be a great answer, but make it more serious by taking a class. Take REI for example, since they offer the free and paid classes about Navigation Basics for compass and map.
In addition, it is important to learn more about the route, the environment and even the ecology of the area. Use guidebooks to learn more, including the trip reports from the online journal, and best of all, the Forest Service staff since they know the trail and the area so well.
Besides, you can take a survival course that will empower you. It helps you to be more confident in your abilities, to take care of yourself, to deal with the worst thing that happens and how you can use your skill in the backcountry. Well, there are still many things to try such as taking Wilderness First Responder course. When things happen beyond your expectation and control, knowledge and training are the best weapons to help you not to panic, handle everything calmly and remove your stress in this situation.
We also recommend you to have a safe adventure and the best way to start it with 10 Essentials as below:
- Navigation – map with compass
- Sun protection – hat and sunscreen
- Insulation – extra clothing
- Illumination – headlamp, and flashlight
- First-aid supplies
- Fire – matches, striker, and lighter
- Repair kit and tools – knife, hammer
- Nutrition – extra food, snack
- Hydration – extra water
- Emergency shelter
#4 Sound Judgement
The storm is rolling in, what can you do to call everyone and keep them safe? Do you wait for the rescue? What can you do? Well, the skill to deal with the situation is about the time and experience. The key is to backpack with a well-experienced backpacker.
#5 Leave No Trace
Don’t be so selfish, pack your trash in and pack it out after. You should only leave the wilderness naturally so others still can enjoy the beauty after you.