IN THIS ARTICLE:
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Southwest 55L Backpack
This ultralight backpack has removable aluminum stays for rigidity. It is breathable, has a roll-top closure to keep out precipitation and has external pockets for items you need to access frequently.
Sold by Backcountry
Garmin inReach Mini 2 Compact Satellite Communicator
You want to be prepared for emergencies. This compact satellite communicator has two-way messaging, an SOS and TracBack routing, so you can always return to where you came from. In tracking mode, the battery can last up to 14 days.
Sold by Amazon
When you’re in trouble, you don’t want an adequate bear spray. You want the best. This canister sprays up to 40 feet for eight seconds at maximum strength. It comes with a quick-access holster, so the spray is always within reach.
Sold by Amazon
Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles
These lightweight trekking poles are made of durable, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. The cork handles add comfort, while the tungsten carbide tips provide secure trekking. Each 10.4-ounce pole extends from 26 to 54 inches.
Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods
Sawyer Products Squeeze Water Filtration System
Fresh drinking water is essential. This water filtration system ensures you will never run out as long as there is a nearby natural water source. It can filter out bacteria, protozoa and microplastics. It comes with two reusable 32-ounce, BPA-free collapsible pouches, adapters, straw and a syringe filter cleaner.
Sold by Amazon
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.