Backpacking is a popular pastime that attracts more and more people worldwide. In addition to being a great vacation idea in countless locations across the United States as well as abroad, it is a wonderful way to get proper amounts of outdoor time and exercise. Statistics show that 37% of families say that vacationing together is the activity that makes brings them the most pleasure. In 2013 14% of the American population older than the age of six spent time camping.
Backpacking can be done through guided tour companies, through wilderness adventure tours, or individually. National parks provide safe and structured backpacking tours that include beautiful scenery coupled with guided tours. Travel by way of backpacking not only provides individuals and families with incredible opportunities to surround themselves with the beauty of nature, but also opportunities to work those muscles while walking, including the strengthening of their heart and lungs. Pubic health recommendations are that the average adult engage in some type of physical activity for 30 minutes five times a week. It is estimated that only 21% to 34% of adults actually take that challenge.
People who are embarking on a backpacking as a vacation or as sport for the first time should follow certain steps and rules in order get the most out of their experience and set a positive foundation for future backpacking trips. The first thing to consider is finding a friend or relative who is an experienced backpacker, or, if that is not possible, someone who is willing to begin this adventure as well. Signing up for some beginner’s instruction provides a good basis for a first backpacking trip. If someone who is experienced is willing, a short trip together to show the newby the ins and outs of the sport, so to speak, would provide a great beginning experience. They will be able to offer advice and tips about the type of equipment needed, and will probably be willing to share their own gear.
When planning a first trip, consideration should be given to some important points. Location will depend upon how much time is available to give to the first try. If a new backpacker has a weekend to devote to their new favorite pastime, then they will want to stay closer to home. If the first trip will be a week long vacation or more, they might be able to think about going a little bit further distance away.
What kind of physical shape the backpacker is in is an important forethought as well. There is instructional information on how to physically train, or prepare, for a backpacking trip that is available to the public in order to help make the trip physically enhancing, and not harmful.
Elevation, as well, is important to think about. Individuals and families who are not seasoned backpackers will not want to take on higher elevations before they have seen how they physically handle the sport. Choosing a relatively flat route is best for their first exposure to backpacking. Carrying the extra weight of the backpack and equipment may slow them down or tire them out more quickly.
The season of the year and the weather also need to be factored into a first backpacking trip. The spring and fall may come with some colder weather, especially after dusk. Backpackers need to decide whether or not they want to deal with possible freezing temperatures at night or if they would rather wait to try their first backpacking experience until warmer nights are more prevalent. Hiking after dark is important to address when planning their trip. Measuring their travel plans against the amount of sunlight available will help to plan for how early to stop hiking for the night.
There are some fundamental pieces of equipment for a backpacking trip. One is a backpacking tent. These differ from the basic camping tent in that they are lighter due to the fact that they are being carried while hiking. Another is a backpacking stove which is compact and boils water very quickly. The boiled water is added to freeze dried meals, left to sit about ten minutes, and dinner is ready. Other essentials to bring along are water treatment, kitchen supplies, proper clothing, personal gear, and more.