Backpacking can be defined as the ultimate test of man against nature. With limited resources and equipment, you will be faced with everything nature has to offer and you need to ensure that you remain safe whilst doing so. The safety part of the journey cannot be stressed enough and many people simply overlook it.
Nevertheless, we have decided to do some research and look at some of the fatal preparation mistakes that many people have made. To help you avoid some of these mistakes, we have made a list of the top things you need to know and prepare for on your first backpacking trip. These tips can be used for urban or outdoor backpacking.
Top Tips To Keep In Mind When Backpacking Safely:
Backpacking is fun and it takes you out to new places you might have never seen before. The world simply becomes your playground and you can do whatever you feel like doing when outdoors or exploring. However, we recommend doing the right preparation to ensure you are safe and prepared for what might be thrown your way:
- Diligent planning:
We never recommend going in blind. Yes, it might be more fun to wander out in the wilderness or urban jungle without knowing what lies in store for you. When you consider backpacking, it is definitely recommended that you take some time to scout the area. If that is not possible, you can always do some online searching.
In the urban environment, crime is always present and you need to avoid being ripped off in new countries. A simple search of common swindles that are pulled on tourists will ensure you are protected from them. You can even set out a route when backpacking to ensure you never get lost and have it mapped out.
- Safety equipment is a priority:
As we have mentioned, safety is the main priority. If you venture outdoors, it will be wise to have a survival knife. While it might not help you with safety that much, it will definitely ensure that you can hunt and even build a shelter when needed. Water will be your main concern outdoors and being prepared with enough water is also fundamentally important.
Another great tip that will link to your planning is to see which animals are dangerous in the area. If you are planning your backpacking trip up North, bears can be a common problem and there are many bear attacks each year. An affordable can of bear spray can help you avoid any danger and keep you protected.
Hunters, on the other hand, will need to be armed and if you are hunting larger game, it is fundamentally important to have the right caliber rifle for the job. Additionally, a state of the art pair of binoculars will make the experience easier and bring your targets closer. If you practice safe hunting, this will be one of the most important parts of your kit.
- Never neglect the medic kit:
It is easy to say beforehand that nothing will happen that could impede your experience, but cases of snakebites and other minor problems are also on the rise. To ensure that you are protected from these problems, a fully loaded medic kit is something you need to carry on you at all times. The medic kit only needs to contain the basics to ensure you keep your load as light as possible.
Additionally, having a GPS-enabled phone can be a real lifesaver. Cell phone coverage is not always available everywhere you go and the GPS phone will communicate your location to someone nearby. If you know the area will be dangerous, it is best for you to consider making the investment as it could save your life.
- The first trip should never be alone:
However tempting it may be to take your first strip on your own, no one will recommend it. If you are backpacking close to home, it might be fine and you can have someone close by when something happens. However, when going out of the state or country, it will be much more advisable to have an expert or someone with some experience assist you.
Alternatively, you may even ask a couple of friends to go with you. Longer backpacking trips can be rather lonely and many people slide into a depressive state after a few days when they become homesick. Having someone to push you through these times will certainly be a great way to ensure you make the best of your trip.
- Understand Your Fitness Level:
Backpacking does require a little bit of fitness and journeys can be rather long. If you don’t have the right level of fitness for a specific journey, it will be much better for you to consider taking a trip that is not that long. When planning, you should be able to see the distance and most of the obstacles you need to endure. We recommend making a calculated decision based on your research.
Many professional backpackers like improving their fitness in the months ahead of the trip. Those who are backpacking in colder conditions might even find similar locations to find out what the conditions will be like. Alternatively, you can try shorter backpacking trips to see how you hold up and improve your fitness this way.
- Ensure you select good quality gear:
When you are stuck all alone in the wilderness, your gear will be your best friend. The only thing you can rely on will be in your backpack and if it breaks, you won’t have a local repair shop to help you out. It is fundamentally important to take care when selecting your gear. This will help you to avoid potential disappointment later on.
It is worth noting that your tent and your backpack will be 2 of the most essential pieces of equipment you will use. The backpack and the tent should be capable of enduring anything the weather throws at it, whilst keeping all of your belongings safe.
- A Positive Mindset:
Finally, it is important to do everything with a positive mindset. If your mindset is not on the trip, you will be wasting your time and when the going gets tough, it can be hard to continue. Make sure everything is sorted before you go, as you don’t want to have any additional stress that you need to worry about.
Backpacking is fun, but staying safe is sometimes harder than it sounds. Accidents can happen in an instance and being prepared is definitely something you need to consider. These tips should help you when planning or taking on your first backpacking journey. It should also help you to enjoy it to the fullest.
We would like to thank you for reading this article and we would like you to share some of your thoughts on these tips. If you have any additional tips to keep in mind for safe backpacking, we would love to read about them and see what you do for safety.