Is Backpacking Calling You This Summer?

posted by Chris Valentine

Is Backpacking Calling You This Summer? ... photo by CC user zachd1_618 on Flickr

Photo by CC user zachd1_618 on Flickr

With summertime just around the corner, what has you motivated in the coming months?

Some folks will make their annual trek to the beaches; others will head for quality time in the mountains. Still others will descend on their favorite cities for some sightseeing.

No matter where your plans will take you, the question you need to answer is this: is backpacking calling you this summer?

If it isn’t, you may want to reconsider that schedule.

Not only is backpacking good exercise, but you can see some of the most beautiful scenery around when you hit the trails.

Know the Best Guides

So that your backpacking adventures will be ones to remember, perhaps even a guided backpacking trip in Yellowstone, finding the right gear and experts to recommend the top trails is important.

You can go about both by remembering to:

  • Research – Before you set foot on any backpacking trails, make sure you do your fair share of researching a number of factors. For starters, do you want to backpack solo/with friends or have a professionally guided tour of some of the top destinations nationwide? If the answer is the latter, knowing how to find the right tour guides is crucial to a good experience. Using the Internet is a great start, as it allows you to search countless sites offering such tours. Look to see how long the tour operators have been in business, what kind of rapport they have with customers, and what type of services and prices they offer;

  • Find the best gear – While you do not have to spend thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line backpacking gear, it is important to be properly outfitted before setting off on your journey. Once again, online searches can help you out tremendously. If you sign-up with a tour company offering professionally guided trips, much of your gear needs will be met by the provider. Always remember that the gear you take for backpacking adventures (professionally guided or self-guided) is very important. The last thing you want to do is be caught out on a trail with average gear, gear that could end up leading to injuries etc. You can also turn to family and/or friends who may be regular backpackers, borrowing some of their items if need be. Most importantly, have comfortable shoes and clothing for any and all trips you make. Your feet will take a pounding during such ventures, while you want clothing that is not too snug and protects your legs, arms etc. Lastly, be sure to have the proper sunscreen so as not to get burned. Many backpacking ventures will have you out in exposed areas (be they Nevada or other open states), so sunburn can definitely be a factor;

  • Safety is always matters – Also, make sure you brush-up on your safety needs before hitting any backpacking trails. Even the most experienced of backpackers know that there are unknown factors out there each and every time they go out on a trail. From possible animal encounters to rapid changes in the weather, being as prepared as possible could mean the difference between perfectly safe and having a nasty experience. Speaking of that always be sure to have plenty of water on hand, along with the necessary food items and a first-aid kit. Water is your most important resource, so make sure you have enough in the event you might get lost and/or stranded out in the woods or other terrain you may be in. It is always a good idea to backpack with at least one other person instead of venturing off on your own. In the event you do opt to take a backpacking trip on your own, make sure you notify at least one person of your planned itinerary. Always give an approximate time you will be leaving, along with the estimated time you plan to arrive at your destination. Having a cell phone on you is fine, but note that you may not be able to receive cell phone coverage in a number of areas.

If you have not backpacked before, think about adding it to your itinerary this summer.

Backpacking can be one of the most invigorating experiences one can have, so make it your calling in the coming months.

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