Few things are quite as invigorating as a backpacking trip through the wilderness.
Whether you’re going alone or with a group of friends, you’ll have a blast as you connect with nature in ways you never thought possible. Bring your camera because there’s a lot of beauty to behold. Think about that as you plan and go forward with your trip.
Consider how you can be as safe as possible while being eco-friendly so you can continue to preserve the glory of nature for years to come.
These are a few of the important tips to consider during your next epic backpacking trip that will help you to have fun, stay safe, and leave Mother Nature the same way you found her.
It Starts With Smart Packing
When you pack for your trip, you must choose each item strategically so everything will fit in your bag and won’t be too heavy. You also need to think about how to pack to fulfill your goal to be as sustainable as possible.
You can do both at once by bringing reusable items, like water bottles so that you can use them repeatedly, and there’s no risk of leaving behind disposable garbage that can pollute the earth.
Think along those lines when packing your food as well. You’ll want to bring enough food and water to stay nourished during the entirety of the trip.
Even if you think you brought enough water, bring a little more in case you get lost temporarily. As far as the food you should bring, focus on meals with calories, protein, and fiber that can help keep your energy up. Trail mix, nuts, and dried fruit are great go-to. As are energy bars.
Bring a reusable fabric bag and keep your food in it so there’s less to throw away. If there aren’t any garbage receptacles along your route, keep your plastic waste with you until the end of your trip so you can dispose of it properly.
While packing, it’s vital to think about how each item you bring might help the environment. For instance, you should wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn and harmful UV rays during the trip.
However, many sunscreen products contain chemicals, including oxybenzone and butylparaben, which can be toxic to coral. You could also ditch the plastic utensils and instead bring bamboo versions. They’re made out of natural materials, so if you accidentally leave them behind, they won’t pollute the space.
While you’re hiking, you may come across a river or lake and feel inclined to take a dip. If you do, be sure to do so safely and sustainably.
Make sure that everyone in your group is in the same spot, and avoid swimming far away in case you get hurt and the group can’t see you. Child hikers should always wear the appropriate floaties or safety gear.
It’s essential to enjoy bodies of water and have fun, but remember to be as eco-friendly as possible. Avoid eating food and leaving garbage behind that can be taken away with the currents and pollute other forest areas.
If you decide to travel via canoe or kayak, try to stay away from the shore and avoid rowing over vegetation. When you put the watercraft into the river, do so in a place that doesn’t cause damage or require you to step on and potentially damage plant life.
Whether you intentionally go into the water or hike through a damp space, it’s important to do everything necessary to stay dry after the fact, or you could get sick. Bring multiple changes of clothes so you can change them when necessary, and avoid cotton that takes longer to dry.
Do what’s necessary to stay warm during the trip, especially at night when the temperature can dip. Find a tent that is well-insulated and waterproof to protect you from the elements. Be sure to set up your tent just right so that you’re not in a windy spot.
Avoid Dangers in Nature
Safety is key when backpacking through nature. You could come across many different dangers while you’re out there, and you should be prepared for anything.
No long-term backpacking adventure should start without a first aid kit that has some of the basics, including gauze, bandages, a splint, and any medication that you require regularly.
Before you head out, it’s also wise to perform some research and look at potential hazards you could come across, including poisonous plants. Avoid these plants, and know what to do to alleviate pain and irritation in case you come in contact with them.
One of the most common is poison ivy, and just a touch can result in a rash and lead to itching and blisters. The symptoms can last up to three weeks, so if you know poison ivy will be in the area, bring along a hydrocortisone cream to cut down on the irritation.
It’s also essential to avoid ingesting toxic plants like nightshade, which has shiny black berries. If you eat it, you could experience vomiting, diarrhea, and pain. If you think you come across it, drink fluids and find medical care.
Also, research plants and berries that are safe to eat, like dandelion, if you ever find yourself in a pinch.
Leave Each Trail And Camping Spot As You Found It
Finally, it’s essential that you respect nature enough to leave each campsite and hiking trail as you found it so the environment can continue to thrive and others can enjoy the same beauty for years to come. Make that happen by following “leave no trace” principles.
They include leaving all rocks, plants, and any other natural objects exactly as you found them and don’t take anything with you.
It’s advisable to refrain from building large campfires. Try to keep them small to avoid damaging too much of the surrounding area, and aim to only set fires in established fire rings.
If you bring pets, follow the trail etiquette rules and help them to respect the land as well. Keep them on the path, and don’t let them chew or bother the wildlife. Remember to clean up after yourself to prevent contaminating the environment.
As we venture into nature, seeking respite and rejuvenation, we must be mindful stewards of the wilderness.
By treading lightly, leaving no trace, and respecting wildlife, we uphold the sanctity of the natural world. Though the trails wind and twist, our inner compass keeps us oriented.
With each mindful step, we reinforce our pact with the planet so that generations to come may also wander in wonder through green valleys and across towering peaks.
The wilderness offers endless lessons, for those willing to listen. Heed the call, with compassion as your guide. The road ahead promises transformation.
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