Backpacking is a great way to connect with nature, get some exercise, and explore the backcountry. Alpine backpacking is rewarding but also a challenging adventure. Before you hit the trail, make sure you’re properly prepared so that you can enjoy your hike and make it back safely.
Destinations and Directions
Choose your hiking trail and destination carefully; be sure to select a hike that fits your physical abilities and your experience level. For their first time out, beginners should consider a one-night trip and stick to well-traveled trails. Be sure you know where you’re going, map the trail ahead of time, and know the average distance you can hike each day.
Share your plans and itinerary with someone not joining you, so if you don’t return on time search teams will know where to look. Before you go, check with forest rangers or anyone else who knows the area well; they should know who is in the backcountry at any given time and can provide current information on trail conditions and fire danger levels.
Physical Preparation for Hiking
Backpacking isn’t a simple walk in the woods. It requires a greater level of physical fitness due to the heavy pack you carry and potentially difficult terrain you navigate. Shorter training hikes are a good way to prepare your body for the rigors of hiking. It’s also important to get regular exercise to strengthen your muscles so that you can handle the weight of your pack without straining your back look at this now. Both strength training and cardiovascular training for endurance are vital to getting your body ready to take a backpacking trip.
Choosing the Right Gear
A good backpacking trip depends on packing the right things so that you’re not carrying too much yet aren’t without the basic essentials. Make sure your pack contains these main essentials at minimum:
- A map and compass for navigation
- A first aid kit
- A source of light – flashlight, headlamp, lantern, with extra batteries
- Sun protection
- Extra clothing for layers to keep your body temperature level
- A foolproof method of starting a fire
- Food and water – enough for more days than you anticipate in case of emergency
- Basic tools including a knife
- Some form of shelter
Certainly you can bring some luxuries along on your backpacking trip, but it’s important to pack a bag that has everything you need without making it too heavy. Start with the basics, then add extras if there is space and you can handle the extra weight.
Gear is only as useful as your knowledge of how to use it. Practice starting a fire, using your tools, and take a first aid course before you go so that you will be ready to respond to any need.
Getting Ready to Go
Dressing in layers is the best way to handle a backpacking trip. Choose lightweight fabrics that keep moisture away from the body, and be sure to have a waterproof top layer in case of rain or other inclement weather. Wear proper footwear, including sturdy shoes and socks that will keep moisture off your feet and prevent blisters.
Pack your backpack carefully to create a balanced load and easy access to the items you will need most frequently. Getting your pack on requires a cautious approach to avoid back injury. The simplest way is to have someone lift it for you from behind so that you can slip your arms into the straps. If you don’t have assistance, lower yourself to the pack and stand up carefully, making sure to put the weight on your legs and not strain your back.