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Backpacking safety tips and best gear for enjoying the outdoors

Best backpacking safety tips and gear

While the pandemic years were trying, at best, they gave us time to recognize, reevaluate and, in some instances, readjust the undesirable patterns we might have fallen into. One benefit to our altered lifestyle is it has increased outdoor activities, such as hiking, backpacking and camping.

Although getting fresh air and being more active is a good thing, there are a few risks involved with outdoor adventuring. If you’re new to backpacking, you will benefit from a few safety tips and gear recommendations.

Hiking vs. backpacking

It’s normal to categorize similar activities into the same broader categories. It helps keep things simple and organized. Drawing and painting are both artistic pursuits, for instance. However, each has its own specifics that make it unique. Just like hiking and backpacking.

Hiking

Hiking is a vigorous activity. You walk along trails and often challenging terrains for purposes such as exploring, communing with nature, getting away from the hustle and bustle, exercising or just relaxing. It can be done alone or in groups. And you can do it in a single day.

Backpacking

Backpacking is nearly the same thing as hiking. You do all the same things for all the same reasons. The critical difference with backpacking is it lasts more than a single day. Backpacking is a form of independent travel that involves carrying all of your provisions with you on your back. It doesn’t matter if you sleep in a tent in the middle of the wilderness or you plot a route that takes you to a new lodging each night, both are considered backpacking.

Benefits of backpacking

Besides being an economical way to explore the world around you, there are many health benefits to backpacking. According to the Mayo Clinic, just the act of walking (without a backpack) can help you maintain healthy body weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, increase your energy levels, elevate your mood, improve your balance and coordination, strengthen your immune system, reduce stress and more. Additionally, backpacking is an earth-friendly activity. If done conscientiously, you will leave a very small carbon footprint behind.

What to consider before backpacking

If you are new to backpacking, before embarking on your first journey, be sure your fitness level is suitable for the activity. Hiking a few miles in one day can leave you tired and achy. If you are backpacking, you will need to repeat this activity day after day.

Before attempting your first multiday trip, check in with your doctor to get the thumbs-up. Then devote some time to building up your stamina with daily walks. Also, in the beginning, consider mapping out a route that has minimal miles to travel between stops and is on relatively flat terrain. As your body adapts to the activity, you can plot more challenging trips.

Continue to read the full article written by Allen Foster here.

LAST UPDATED

October 20, 2023

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Allen Foster

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