How to Prepare for Backcountry Hiking?

There is a special feeling about going backcountry hiking. Backcountry hiking means leaving behind the modern luxuries and relying on yourself and your companions to survive the wild. Backcountry hiking will challenge you hence the need to prepare accordingly. You need to carry enough gear and food just to be comfortable and safe.

Planning for a backcountry trip means leaving the campground behind. You will experience miles upon miles of open wild and without any crowds. You will leave most things behind and carry only necessities in your backpack. While it can be challenging, the rewards are tremendous. You can be sure of enjoying and savoring the well-earned view from the top of the mountain.

Below are some simple steps to prepare for backcountry hiking.

Where do I go?

The first step towards a successful backcountry hiking trip is choosing a destination. The secret is choosing a location that is inspiring, fits your budget, time constraints, and your skillset. You to select a suitable location with a well-marked trail system. Regional guidebooks, outdoor magazines, and online hiking forums are good resources to help you choose a destination.

When picking a location, make sure to choose the best time of the year when the weather is perfect. The climate and terrain of the region will affect your planning and clothing. You also need to check the trail type and distance to cover. Never try a dangerous hiking trail that does not match your skill set. Lastly, make sure you acquire necessary maps and read local regulations. Do you need any permits to hike there? Are campfires allowed? Once you’ve picked a destination, you can move on to the next stage.

Essential backcountry hiking gears to carry

Now that you’ve picked a backcountry hiking location, you need to know what to carry. The trail distance and weather determine what to carry. You can categorize items to carry under sleeping, clothing, cooking, emergency, and important gears. After all, you don’t want to miss those great sceneries after a long day of hiking.

Choose the correct size backpack that will fit all your essentials without weighing you down. Under clothing, make sure you carry hiking pants and shorts, long underwear, a hoodie, waterproof jacket and pants, socks, and hiking boots.

If you plan to cook, then consider a lightweight backpacking stove, fuel, pot set, cooking utensils, bowl, cup, and spoon. A sleeping bag or an inflatable foam pad can also help when it comes to sleeping.

Under emergency essentials, there are several things to carry. You need a first aid kit, light/matches, headlamp, toiletries, pocket knife, accessory cord, etc.

Bring enough water

Water is essential for any backcountry hiking trip. You need to have enough water for drinking and cooking. This can be challenging as water can be heavy and bulky. It is almost impossible to carry enough water for several days. However, you have options. If you’re traveling to areas with natural water sources like streams, rivers, and lakes, then consider carrying a water purifier and chlorine tablets. Even with these options, you still need to carry some clean drinking water.

Once you’ve finished your water, you can use purifiers to get clean drinking water. However, even purifiers sometimes get clogged. This is where chlorine tablets come in handy.

Pick a shelter

Shelter is crucial when hiking in the backcountry. You need a way to keep warm during the night and cool during the way. When it comes to shelter, you can choose to buy or borrow a tent. Make sure you consider the weather elements in the camping area and choose a matching tent. Backcountry hiking is quite special and gives hikers options. You can choose to set a campground a few meters from the mountain or set your tent at the top of the mountain.

Whatever shelter you pick, make sure you practice setting it up before the trip day. You need to make sure the shelter parts are available and you can set it without any problems. Apart from the tent, you will need a sleeping bag to put under your shelter. Make sure you consider synthetic sleeping bags since they will not soak water and get wet.

Learn the fundamentals

Skills and knowledge are just as important as gears and essential for backcountry hiking. You need to practice some basic skills to be safe and comfortable. Having the necessary skills will enable you to hike safely and enjoy your trip. You need to master these skills before going out into the wild. Some of the basic skills to learn include:

  • Navigation with maps and compasses
  • Weather warning signs and safety
  • Water purification
  • First aid and prevention
  • Setting up a shelter
  • Cooking over a campfire or stove
  • Proper clothing and layering

In conclusion, there is no easy backcountry hiking trip. However, with good preparations, you can enjoy your trip and create memorable moments.

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