Helpful Backpacking Tips
Backpacking is for those with a love of nature and a thirst to take on the elements and push one’s self to the limits. The idea is to embark upon a trail or general wilderness with minimal supplies. In other words, everything you would need goes in your backpack. There’s various degrees of challenge and places that suit varying difficulties.
One of the challenges of backpacking is knowing what to bring and how to bring it as lightly as possible. Some variables that may affect preparation are the weather, terrain and location. A great reference for prospective backpackers is the book Beyond Backpacking by Ray Jardine. Jardine is an experienced and respected figure in the backpacking community and is full of tested adjustments to his ritual.
A point that Ray Jardine stresses is to minimize moisture. Excessive moisture can lead to chaffing, mildew, ice, and general discomfort. Some key methods he provides to minimize moisture are to wear polypropylene clothing. The material is fast to dry, comfortable and promotes breathability. Cotton and other materials tend to accumulate moisture from sweat that leads to a host of problems.
Another aspect of backpacking in which moisture can be problematic is your dwelling. Tents for example store the moisture from prolonged breathing and minimal ways for that moisture to be let out. Jardine’s solution is to pack a tarp and possibly some mosquito netting. A tarp can be secured to trees using rope as an overhead shelter from rain and sun. To counteract bugs, the mosquito netting can be draped over the tarp. This method allows the moisture and humidity caused by breathing to escape. Tarp and rope are lightweight multi-use items that can be adaptable for many situations.
Packing lightweight is essential for prolonged hiking. Ray Jardine prefers corn pasta as a meal because it is lightweight, energy-packed, and easy to cook and store. One benefit to packing light is that if the load is about 20 pounds, hiking boots may be substituted for more comfortable tennis shoes. Of course, that depends on the ruggedness of the terrain but that can minimize blisters and discomfort. The Alpine Shop offers all kinds of lightweight gear that can be purchased or even rented for beginners! The Alpine Shop community is packed with experienced people of all fields of outdoor recreation. The community is very helpful and can be a great source of advice and recommendations.