Backpacking can mean many things. It can mean shoe-stringing it through Western Europe or it can mean tackling the Appalachian Trail. Both approaches require you to be frugal and at times, clever, but there is a big difference between the two. The latter often requires a special set of equipment and a certain skill-set, depending on the terrain. Here, we will offer a few tips specifically for hiking and camping.
Make sure your pack is light as possible
This may be the most important point on the list. You do not want a pack that is too heavy. It will be completely debilitating. If you are not sure whether a pack is too heavy or not, ask yourself how long you could keep it on your back. If it’s difficult to answer that, try taking a short hike with your pack on. Plan for at least an hour or so. After this, you will have an idea of whether you can truly hike mile after mile with the pack on. Skip this step, and your hike could very well be miserable.
Plan to purify your water
As crystal clear as some rivers and streams may seem, there is always the chance that a microorganism like giardia is lurking. Intestinal ailments and parasites can ruin your trip and possibly land you in the hospital. There is an easy way to avoid this: purify all your water before drinking it. We would recommend buying something like the SteriPEN and a filter. Both items are lightweight and easy to pack. The SteriPEN runs on batteries and it uses UV light to neutralize all microorganisms in the water. It’s important, however, that you filter the water first, as the UV light will not be able to penetrate cloudy water.
Invest in the important items
Your tent and your sleeping bag need to be of the appropriate quality. A leaky tent or a sleeping bag that provides no warmth will make it difficult for you to enjoy your trip. In addition to not getting a good night’s sleep, you will find that the following day is affected as well. You will wake up sluggish and possibly in a bad mood. Spend some extra money to make sure that you are getting quality products. If you’re not sure, ask an expert at an outdoor recreation store and check out reviews online.
If your planning a hiking or camping trip, be conservative when it comes to the amount of ground covered. If you are a more experienced hiker, then you have some flexibility here. But if you are still a novice or a complete beginner, you will want to be very conservative in your estimates of the number of miles that you can do every day. Anyway, you will find that it’s easier to enjoy your trip (less exhausting, at least) when you don’t have to hit an ambitious benchmark by the end of every day.
Well, there you have it. Some helpful tips for your next hiking and camping trip. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments.