Going backpacking can be very exciting, but for some people, it can be trying as well because they are not sure what get they should bring or even how to prepare. By knowing more about the gear they should be bringing with them, it is going to be easy for people to go on a hiking and backpacking adventure and know they are ready for anything that comes at them. Without this simple guide, it is very easy for you to forget something at the house and realize after you are getting ready to bed down for the night that you forgot it.
A nice fitting backpack is easily one of the first things that you need to bring with you. While this may seem like it is a very simple thing to bring, it is common for people to think the backpack they have is going to work, only to realize after a couple of miles with the pack fully loaded down the straps do not have the right padding or they do not have the properly adjusted hip straps to help carry the weight on their hips. So it is important for people to get a backpack that is properly adjusted and has padding on the straps.
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A lightweight tent and sleeping bag is another thing you are going to want to have. Now if you are camping in the mountains or other regions where the night can get cold you may want to consider a different type of tent or sleeping bag, but if possible you will want to keep the weight as light as possible. This way you can have less weight you have to carry on your back and shoulders. It is also important to get one that can be compressed down to ensure it fits into your sleeping bag or you could have problems in hiking with the sleeping bag and tent.
Extra water bottles and a way to treat the water you find on the trail is something else you need to consider. You may think that bringing along a bottle or two of water is fine, which it can be for the start you need to realize you can and most likely will run out of water at some point on your trip. So you should have a way to treat the water, and that can be done with chemical tablets and even with different filter systems. So make sure you have a treatment system with you that makes it easier for you to get everything cleaned up properly.
Changes of clothing are another thing that you tend to overlook when you are going just for a simple hiking trip. However, if you are planning on being gone for any amount of time you will want to have a change of clothes with you. You never know if you will run into a rain storm or a creek that you have to cross. When you run into these, you need to realize it can be a major challenge, but it is also a challenge that can leave you wet. Walking in wet clothes for long distances often leads to blisters and other sores that can cut your hiking adventure shorter than what you wanted it to be cut.
Cooking utensils and pots are other items that you may want to make sure you bring with you as well. While you may think this is something that is common sense, you need to realize this is important because it will allow you to have a way to eat your food, but also makes it easier for you to prepare the food that you are going to need to eat as well.
First aid is something you may overlook at some points in time, but you do not want to overlook that when you are on the hiking trail. Since this is the case, you should make sure you bring along a small first aid kit that has some basic bandages, wraps, and splints inside of it. This way you can have a kit with you and can treat some very basic injuries if you need to while you are hiking on the trail.
Being able to go on a backpacking adventure can be exciting, but it also requires some planning as you need to bring along some gear with you. When you know about some of the gear you should be bringing with you, it will be easy for you to go backpacking and know you are prepared for any of the trips that you are going to take. Without this, you could have some problems in your trip because you are not properly prepared, or you realize after you are on the trails you forgot a piece of gear.
It is true that hiking can be challenging; it requires a great amount of will power and stamina, hard times are there just to test the determination, but you can learn different tricks that can help you to hike a mile more per day. After all, hiking is an endurance sport, so you need to think ahead, and reduce fatigue and physical discomfort as much as you can. Many hikers think that there are no secrets except walking, you just need to empty your mind and walk, but that is far from the truth, many practical issues are important in hiking as there are many tricks that may help you to preserve vitality and good condition.
Carry a Light Pack!
There are many diverse backpacks available on the market; they came in almost limitless variety of shapes, colors, and more or less useful features. However, your backpack is not a fashion piece of equipment; it needs to be reliable and practical, so it is a very important to choose the right one. First of all, you must know the purpose. Are you going for simple walk or you will spend an entire month in mountains? When you know the goal, you should choose the most practical pack, one that will suit you the most. Do not forget that you need to have a least possible amount of weight on your trip. That is an extremely important issue, chose a lightweight backpack and you will be fine.
Early Morning is Your Friend
Weather conditions are extremely important in hiking, therefore, try to start your daily trip as early in the morning as possible, hiking in hot afternoon is not advisable. You can also walk during calm evening hours, but in any case, pay special attention to your protective equipment. It is advisable to wear a sun hat, or you can use sunglasses if you need. Proper organization is the key to success, so to get up early in the morning, you must be practical and disciplined in your daily activities.
Start Your Regular Exercise Program
It is almost obvious, the stronger you are, the more you will walk per day, so you will need physically and mentally to prepare yourself for your journey. As I already said, hiking is survival sport; it is not about haste and dexterity, so you need to be in a faultless physical condition. Start your exercise program three weeks before your main trip and try to improve your overall strength and endurance. Be determined and steady in your daily routine and you will soon get in optimum physical form. You should choose specific exercises that may expand your stamina, sprint is obviously not a right type of exercise, but long distance running is a perfect. The major advice here is to be systematic, do not try to push you over the limit – it would only produce opposite effect! If you invest some energy and time in such training, you will enjoy much more in your hiking!
Travel insurance is insurance against the likelihood of something bad happening to you whilst you are on vacation, or otherwise out of your country of origin. Because many different countries have many different laws, systems and approaches to dealing with things like theft, healthcare and so on, and because you are likely to be out of the country for only a short while, travel insurance is often a fairly comprehensive policy designed to indemnify you against financial burden as a result of any mishap on your travels.
For example, the healthcare system in South Africa is different to the healthcare system in the US. It wouldn’t be prudent or feasible for you to take out health insurance with a South African health insurer if you are only going to be staying for one week. So, instead, you can buy travel insurance, which should include healthcare bills. This way, if you get sick or injured abroad, you can give them your travel insurance details instead of health insurance. The bill will get paid, and you won’t have to pay out of pocket for healthcare in a foreign country, which could be very expensive.
Comparing travel insurance
Travel insurance is highly recommended for those going abroad for short to intermediate amounts of time. Because it is so important, it is equally important to get the right kind of travel insurance for you. You should go online to make travel insurance comparisons. This is because travel insurance can be provided by many sources these days, and so for you to travel around your town or city looking for the right insurance would be time consuming, and the transport costs could be expensive. In addition, you might feel pressured to buy inadequate insurance if you speak with a persuasive insurance salesman.
When checking on the internet for travel insurance, you should ideally try to get as much coverage as you can for as little money as possible. In order to do this, you can go to travel insurers’ websites, or you could go to a website which makes direct comparisons between travel insurers. You may also want to consider buying travel insurance as part of your vacation package. Many travel agents will offer insurance at discounted rates as an incentive for you to buy tickets, hotels and accommodation through their business.
What is covered by travel insurance?
In your everyday life at home, you probably have a great number of insurance policies: home insurance, life insurance, car insurance and health insurance, to name a few. Unfortunately, most of these will only apply to where you live, as the same systems in different countries will have different laws and insurance rules. So, what do you normally get cover for when you buy travel insurance?
You almost always get health insurance. Travel insurance provided health insurance means that in the event that you get sick or injured whilst abroad, you will be able to enter into a hospital and get treatment without needing to pay the fees out of pocket that you would have to without insurance. You can also get life insurance as a provision of your travel insurance.
This often includes provisions for repatriation of remains, in the event that you lose your life, but still want to be buried in your country of origin. If this isn’t a large worry, then you may be insured for funeral costs overseas.
You can also get car insurance provided as part of your travel insurance, though this is usually optional and dependent on your using a rental car.
Most backpackers plan their expeditions on well-established trails where navigating is usually just as simple as following one path to the next. But, even well-traveled trails can sometimes be hard to follow up, they can overgrow by trees, trail junctions can be unmarked or sometimes signs can be tough to follow. In your backpacking tours, the navigation is critical and crucial; it is essential to stay found, and important question is what to do if you do get lost?
1. Know Your Limits
Do not plan a trip involving challenging navigation without suitable experience and skills. The first and foremost – always know your limits! Knowing how to read a topographical map and use a compass is very important. If you don’t know how to use compass and map you really shouldn’t be on the path. If you are uncertain about your capabilities, take an exercise tour before you head out, or take a simple navigation course. The most important thing is to never put yourself in danger because you are not well prepared. Do not forget to let someone know the detailed trip plans before your departure. Give a detailed itinerary to your relatives or a friend and let them know when they should contact local authorities.
2. Always Pay Attention!
The number one rule for trail navigation is to pay attention! It is very easy to get confused and make simple mistakes that may put you off the track. If you want to stay on a road, you need to know where you are and where you should be at any moment. Pay close attention to your compass and map, track your location with all relevant details as you hike. It is very important to pay close attention to all available junction signs; they are placed with the reason. Do not assume that you know the right way, always consult a map and read the signs to make sure that you are heading in the correct direction.
3. Hiking Behind a Group
If you are hiking behind other members, do not get relaxed assuming that they are making the right choices. Pay close attention to time and speed, try to have a precise idea when you will reach next landmark. Be cautious not to get lost in conversation, it is easy to forget yourself in such situation, but be sure to stop if you feel that something is wrong. Try to focus and locate your position, search for major landmarks and try to go back on a trail. Always keep your next landmark in mind, so in a case that you are off the trail, try to reach it.
4. If You Still Get Lost
In a case that you get lost, try to find an open, wide space and make your presence well known by placing highly visible objects so they can be easily seen. You can also use signal mirrors to attract additional attention or use green branches to build smoky signal fires. In the evening, use dry wood to create signal fires. Always carry an emergency whistle on your backpacking adventures and use it every 10 minutes in a case that you get lost.
We are drowning in a quicksand of stress every day and one might ask is there anybody why can give us a hand and pull us out? Is there anything that can help us unchain? The solution is so simple and obvious and reachable for everyone: nature. What is more healing than nature itself?
You just need to step outside the big cities, piles of concrete and artificiality and enter the world of green purity. And the easiest way to do this is by camping. You do not need money, expensive clothes, sports car or anything that belongs to luxury. You should just bring good mood, some food, drinking water and everything else should be left by side. Camping means having fun in nature and in the fresh air – you just need to adjust your habits to a new environment.
If you are ready for nature, nature will return to you more than you expect. Before you decide to go camping, you should pick an appropriate tent. As soon as you find a perfect location for camping, which should be on a flat and safe terrain, and below some tree if possible you can start filling with energy. As soon as you step into the realms of nature you feel immense relaxation. All those colors, fresh air, heavenly silence fulfill your essence with enormous pleasure and sense of being part of something bigger, something that goes far and beyond. Instead of noise, you can hear only a sweet whisper of a current of fresh air that caresses your whole body.
Camping is just a tool for achieving that internal peace and a cure for healing our tormented and fragile spirit. It can last only one day and night, and that would be enough for total rebirth and recovery. We should all be one with nature because it was the case from the beginning of the world. Just imagine yourself near one creek, bright summer night, stars above you, the sputter of fire and complete silence. You are being filled with positive energy and ready for a return to everyday activities in the city.
In these times of hard working, rush and lack of time, we all should give ourselves a break and soul peace. People are forgetting constantly how important is to spend some time in nature – not only because we run from a buildings, city traffic or fast life, but because we charge our batteries in that way. Some people would not say so, but they just can’t admit that nature is important for our normal life functioning. The more time we spend in human’s natural environment, the more we get in every sense.
So, you are looking for an ideal backpack adventure? Here are few tips that may be useful in planning your next trip:
Hike More – Hike Slower
You do not have to hike 100 miles a day to have great fun! Early morning hikers will cover a lot more miles per day then hikers who start later during the day. Just try to find the solid, relaxed pace and enjoy in your expedition. If you wear a light pack, you will be able to cover more miles per day, therefore, pay special attention to this tip! You might also find that traveling new terrain and wild areas wearing just a small pack can also be very pleasing. Still, there are no hard rules when it comes to walking, so feel free to choose the best style that fits you. Make sure you pick accurate daily mileage goals, a mileage that is in line with concrete goals of your entire group.
Plan Your Route
Organize your route with an idea where you would like to spend a night and make a campfire, but always leave enough space for unexpected modifications on your way. Hiking from one track to another is a great way to avoid repeating your steps, but it can be a demanding task. For example, you may need several cars, taking transport from one way to another or even put your thumb out. Most often you will find that it is not so easy to stick to the original plan. On your route, you always must have an effective alternative.
Water and Other Natural Resources
The very vital part of your backpacking voyage is going to be knowing where you can locate consistent and safe water supply sources. It is fundamental to know where you can find natural resources, not just that; it is also important to know when you are going to travel long distances without water. If you are traveling in an arid area with insufficient water sources, a good idea is to contact a nearby ranger station. Do not forget to create a concrete food plan for the entire group, make a daily list and pay special attention that everyone’s needs are met. On your journeys, you will burn more calories, but there is no need to carry extra food with you. Always try to bring a minimum amount of lightweight, low-calorie food on your trail.
Check Your Gear – Twice!
This is one of the most important advice that you may get on your backpacking trip – always check your gear! There is no room for errors; you need to have reliable equipment. Make sure you have all tools that you may need on a journey at least few days in advance. Never carry untested equipment, test it before your journey. See if you can borrow some tested equipment, later on, you will be able to know precisely what you need and you will avoid spending a lot of money on pointless equipment.
Spending all day long at work? Everyday city clamour? Alienation? Lack of Time? Rush? Anxiety? This has, unfortunately, become habitual way of modern life in each and every sense for many of us. We are just watching how our lives pass around us and in most cases doing absolutely nothing to ameliorate and make them better. Everyday way of life does not allow us relaxation, socializing or even simple physical or soul rest. The best way to regain our natural way of life, even for a short time, is to reconcile with both nature in ourselves and nature outdoor, and this can be achieved by a simple thing: Camping.
Camping is a unique way of relaxation that does not require much time or much money. You do not need special organizational skills or hard planning or high level of cognitive art. You just need good will, humor and nothing more. Family camping, sports camping, friend’s camping, dry camping, backpacking, bicycle camping… they all have the same goal: connection of people of the same or different interests in natural environment. People have come out from nature, and that is the main reason why they strive for nature whenever they can. Besides connection between people, camping can be a good excuse for natural and physical relaxation because we all know that nature itself was and still is the best “spa center” for our bodies and “six stars hotel” for our soul. Health problems can just vanish as soon as you step outdoor because tension and stress make us too many troubles in everyday life, and they are forbidden in the green bosom of nature. The best thing about camping is that every single person can organize it in the way he or she likes it. The most popular activities that can be practiced on camping are hiking, walking, fishing, hunting, picking berries, in one word, activities that are the core of artistic and craft skills.
Through camping, we are returning to nature in the purest sense, where we give nature ourselves and nature gives us its best. The combination of fresh air instead of polluted city’s air, physical activities that give us an immense pleasure and enjoyment instead of sitting in a smelly office all day, twittering of birds instead of traffic clamour and real talk with real people instead of watching at computers and images of people, cannot do any harm for you.
Fresh air will open your blood cells, you will fill natural energy inside yourself, you will become more optimistic and start looking bright sides of life immediately ready to jump over any obstacle that life throws on your way. We often wonder how because of everyday liabilities we do not even have time for our family. What is better for connection with family members than outdoor camping? Just imagine you and the people you love sitting around the campfire, marshmallow on the sticks, fresh summer’s night breeze, a murmur of the mountain brook in a distance, talking, singing, laughing – surely wonderful and memorable family moment never to be forgotten.
Just step outdoor, inhale the nature, fill yourself with the essence of life, and recharge your life batteries – seize the day and do something important for yourselves. Go camping!