Backpacking is a great way to see the world and sleep in the great outdoors if you choose.
There is a little more to backpacking than stuffing some gear in a pack and going along your merry way.
Here are some tips to get you started the right way that will make your treks more comfortable and fun.
You Have to Be in Pretty Good Shape to Backpack
Because you will be combining camping and hiking, being in fairly good physical shape is a must.
Though you may be able to pack lightly, carrying your pack for hours at a time sometimes climbing uphill or on rough terrain will make your backpack seem much heavier than it actually is.
Before you begin backpacking adventures you will need to engage in some endurance exercises such as bicycling or hiking itself. These exercises will have you ready for not only backpacking but cross country skiing and alpine hiking.
Know the Difficulties You will Face and Train Accordingly
Not being in the proper physical condition for the type of backpacking you will be engaging in may put not only you but your companion backpackers at risk.
Anticipate carrying a load of at least 40 pounds and pack your backpack at least ten pounds heavier.
Carry your pack around for 4 or 5 days of the week over several weeks before the trip is to begin. Continue with your regular exercise routine at the same time. This should give you the stamina and confidence to keep up with the rest of your group.
Beware of Injuries Due to “Pack Lifting”
Whipping your backpack weighing 35 pounds or more and swinging it on your back is a great way to hurt yourself. There are a few safe ways to get your pack from the ground onto your back that will lessen your chance of injuries.
One way is to rest your backpack on an embankment or the stump of a tree and squat to slip your arms into the harness or you can have someone else hold your pack while you slip your arms into your shoulder harness.
Common Sense is Essential
The best piece of advice anyone can give you concerning backpacking is to use your common sense.
Exercising your common sense begins with initial thoughts about the journey, to the planning of the actual trip, transportation getting you to and from where you depart and are returning, to the actual execution of your backpacking trip.
Always remember to let friends and/or family know where you are planning to backpack so if you don’t return in a timely fashion they will know where to look for you.