Hiking 101

hikingThe best type of backpacking uses a loose structure of planning. That is not to say you choose random destinations in the middle of a trip, because it’s irresponsible to not have someone know where you will be, but planning around a central location where you can go on day hikes can be the most fun. Day trips allow you to go light weight which lets you to go further and see more in a day. Often times when going on hikes that have different destinations every night you find yourself thinking about how much there was to see at the last camp site that you just didn’t have the time to see. A ten minute hike could have taken you to see some of the most beautiful scenery left untouched by civilization and you missed it because you had to leave in order to make it to the next camp site. It seems a fruitless labor to spend your time hiking to see nature in a new way just to sprint off before you have the chance to fully enjoy everything there is around you.

Day hikes also help to cut back on back problems that arise as a result from carrying 50-70 pound packs while you hike. If you are spending your hikes going from location to location every day then chances are you are carrying a lot of weight in order to set up camp every night. Again, you are putting yourself in physical jeopardy for no other reason than to sleep in a different place every night. When backpacking excursions are planned around the idea of incorporating day hikes, the time spent with a heavy backpack on is reduced by a significant amount.

The final cog in the planning of a hiking vacation is the preparation of your materials. You need a good backpack, one that can carry all you need it to carry, that has a good support system for your back, and is light enough that you don’t hurt yourself by carrying it. A good day pack is also a necessity, one that has the compartments for some food and water but that doesn’t need to be big enough to carry campsite equipment. On that note, campsite equipment that is necessary would be: a rain-proof tent, a stove, some rope for practical and emergency purposes, and as a general rule I would always advise a good tarp which can be handy in a number of ways. Some other hiking equipment that is always good to have would be: broken-in hiking boots to avoid blisters and rolled ankles, several good pairs of socks, toilet paper and a means for sanitarily packing it to a trash can, food that is light weight with a high calorie content to keep up your energy, and obviously a first aid kit. This is just a basic list, and should not be viewed as a compiled list of everything you need, but if you have these items while you’re hiking you will count yourself lucky when you find that you need them.

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