Backpacking is one of the best ways to travel, and failure in this endeavor provides more experience. When you make mistakes, and get bruised legs, busted toes and lose your gear, you will start becoming a better backpacker. However, you should also try to learn from the mistakes of others. If you want to start ahead, I can tell you some of the many foul-ups, I have made so that you do not have to resort to learning from your own experience. Here are certain tips that you should check out before you strap up for venturing out.
Inform Everybody about Your Plans
Everybody must know where you are going, and that means absolutely everybody. Make a map of your trail and give it to a responsible friend, co-worker, or family member. Also make sure they know the amount of supplies you are carrying and how long it is going to last you. Give them the duration of your travel, the day, and time of your departure, and the type of foodstuffs you are carrying, and your attire. This may sound like too much information, but all of it is extremely important. It is therefore, ideal to get your friend to give you a ride to the point of your departure, so that they know the exact spot where you started.
The “127 Hours” movie is a true story, which tells what is possible if a hiker travels without informing other people of his plans. Even though Aron Ralston had good outdoor experience, made a good plan, and even had company of two hikers, he ended up in a situation where he lost his limb. All facts shown in this movie are true, and have not been overly dramatized, like in other films. The bottom line is Aron Ralston went on a travel without informing his friends, and therefore nobody knew about his whereabouts, when he was in danger.
Make a Proper Plan, and have Maps and an Itinerary
Having Google Maps on your cell phone is not going to help you when you travel deep into the woods, and get lost. You cannot trust phone reception if you are travelling in the wild, when even good reception is not guaranteed outside the limits of the city. Get professional maps that are the latest prints.
You will also need to research about the weather conditions that are forecasted for the days you are travelling. You need to be aware of the possible risks, which may include bear encounters, landslides, or poison ivy. Resort to thoroughly researching the places you are visiting, and mark them out clearly on maps, and give a copy to your friend, informing him when you will be likely to be in those spots.
Exploratory Hike is a Good Idea
To get a feel of the area you are going to travel to, it is best to do a short hike exploring the terrain. This will give you an idea whether you are physically able to take this hike, and it is better to take a friend along for this exploration.
Make sure to Carry Enough Water and Food
You may be warned about bears, but believe me raccoons are quite dangerous as well. Although these creatures look cute, they are highly determined to get the food you are carrying, and eat all of it. When you travel, always resort to carrying more food than you will require, be vigilant of raccoons, and arm yourself with a pointed stick to repel any advances made by these bandits. Of course, you have to be vigilant about all wild animals, and not just raccoons. You are unlikely to find a backpacker, who did not lose their day’s food, to rats, squirrels, coyotes, wild dogs, bears, raccoons, or deer. Pack plenty of food, and do not store it in one area of your backpack.
Keep all the above points in mind to make your backpacking travel safer. However, the most important point is your determination to make it through the journey. When you are halfway, it makes sense to continue on the trail, rather than turning back. Make sure you are physically fit, and do what is required to stay in good shape. Once you have gained experience you will always be ready to take up the next travel that comes along.