Hiking and Backpacking, get prepared
January 24, 2023

Ever wanted to go backpacking or just embarking on a hike but weren’t sure how to go about it? If so, you should read this post. Hopefully it will help get you organized, offer suggestions, calm your fears and most of all keep you safe. Whether you’re hiking alone or with a group, this post will provide you with the knowledge you need before venturing out into nature for an adventure.

Research where you want to backpack. Decide how much time you have, where you want to go and the weather. Find the rules and regulations along with the physical requirements needed for the terrain. “Hiking Project” is a good tool to use to search for trails, conditions and comments about the trails. The Hiking Project app is a quick, easy way to check where you are on the trail. But remember, if your phone is not charged and the battery runs down it will be of NO use so have a map as a back-up.

Nature is a majestic place with undeniable charm and the fresh air without city noise is exhilarating, but it can also be dangerous if you do not properly prepare. Hiking or backpacking isn’t that dangerous if you prepare. You prepared to drive with proper education and practice instead of just grabbing the keys and hitting the road. Hiking or backpacking is the same.. Going out into the wilderness without any training or preparation is very dangerous. Know how to stay safe while exploring nature.

Here are some tips and suggestions for staying safe and having fun in the wild!

Check the weather forecast before leaving on your hike. A great place to check is weather.gov, or an app on your phone. Don’t only check the temperature, check for flash floods and forest fires. It is important to know the type of weather you can expect.

What equipment do you need? It really depends on where you plan to hike and the environment. It is obvious that if you will need less if you are taking a short leisurely hike in fairly flat terrain than if you are hiking for a longer distance with varied terrain. Let’s start with clothing. Layer your clothing so you can take some off if you start getting too warm or add some if the temperature drops. Some suggestions are long-johns , a water-proof jacket, a lightweight coat, a sweatshirt, gloves and a hat. Sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are also a necessity. Sturdy shoes/boots that are waterproof with good tread to to keep you from slipping and giving your feet and ankles support and dry. Sturdy walking poles are helpful and lessen the strain. A good backpack with comfortable straps that fits your body style.

What should you pack in your backpack? Some of your spare clothing. Probably the most important thing is WATER! You can live without food longer than you can without water. Pack as much water as you think you’ll need and then add more. Snacks such as fruit and nuts. There are many nature bars and packaged fruit and nuts available. I also carry a couple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a baggie. One necessity is a small first-aid kit. A map (these are usually available at some larger parks and all National Parks). A compass or a GPS device, some sort of navigational aid is recommended. The last thing you want to do is get lost. Don’t forget a whistle in case you do get lost, the sound will carry farther than your voice and it will help people locate you more quickly. An emergency space blanket may come in handy if you unexpectently get caught in a shower or end up spending more time on the trail than originally planned. A knife, hatchet or multi-tool and matches in a water-proof container could come in handy. Don’t forget Bear Spray if there is a chance that bears will be in the area. Carry a small flashlight or head-lamp in case you get caught out after dark.

You may want to talk to a representative at a sporting goods store, or a local outdoor store near you and ask plenty of questions if you are really unsure of what you may need and what is available. Searching online is a quick, time saving and an easy way to gather information on hiking essentials.

Don’t forget your camera so you can re-live your adventure over and over. Any camera will suffice. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. A digital camera with interchangeable lenses (preferably with one zoom lens), a pocket camera or your cell phone. You won’t regret using it to record your views. You’ll be able to look at your photos at a later date and it will bring back a flood of memories at a date in the future. You’ll also be able to share them with friends who weren’t there and brag about the spectacular scenery you experienced.

Hiking is fun alone and twice the fun when shared with someone special. Having a group hike can be even more enjoyable.

Have Fun!