"Tis the season for hiking in the wild places, sleeping under the stars and telling stories around the camp while roasted marshmallows.
Whether your a seasoned outdoors-person or just got your first pair of hiking boots, here's a few tips to make more memories, stay safe and make the most out of your next backcountry adventure.
1) Pack what you can comfortably carry.
The #1 killer of a fun hike into the back country is a pack that is too heavy.
Most campers should not carry a pack that is more than 15% of your total body weight (see my full article on this topic). The simple way to make sure you are going to be good to go once you hit the trail is to do a 60 minute walk with full pack before you leave. Make sure you wear the shoes you are planning on using on your trip.
Now, if any part of your body (shoulders, back, neck etc.) is sore, ditch something (or a lot of things) in your pack. You do NOT need it all.
2) TURN OFF Your Phone
Stop texting and tech down for goodness sake. Enjoy God's good creation uninterrupted and just BE with those who are with you. You won't regret this tip for sure!!!
3) Keep a list of what you wish you had taken on your trip and what you packed, but didn't use. This will help you modify what you pack next time. Eventually you will realize how little you really need. And a LlGHTER Pack, is a HAPPY Back!!!
4) Take a good survival knife and a basic survival kit.
5) Drink Lots of Water
It's SO easy to dehydrate. So make sure you have a source for reasonably clean water on your trip and don't forget a water purifier. Here's a link to the purifier I personally use - http://tinyurl.com/My-Water-Purifier.
6) Break in your boots BEFORE you go hiking in them.
I've learned the hard way too many times. Happy feet are VERY important when they are your only means of transportation.
7) Grab a Tiny Survival Guide and do one thing new out of the book every day of your adventure.
In this way you will build your skills and be better prepared. Here’s my favorite\. Tiny Survival Guide is SUPER small, light weight and fits in a wallet or pocket.
8) FOCUS on taking food that does not require much preparation.
Boiling water is about all the preparation that I usually want. Cleaning burnt pots and pans on an adventure is a drag! Here's a complete backpacking food kit... (However, I usually plan one special meal and suffer the clean up. Fresh rabbit cooked over an open fire or pan fried in a simple honey mustard sauce... Mmmmm, Mmmmm with some freshly collected edible wild greens... I call this, "Chicken of the Forest!" You need to try this sometime! )
9) Take some high-energy fun food treats like hard candy, energy bars that suit your fancy or just about any other treat that packs easy, is light and won't melt or spoil. You'll get an energy and emotional boost from treating yourself.
10) When traveling with others, pace yourself on the slowest person and make planned rest stops. Yep, it can be frustrating for men and dads who want to conquer the trail, but will make for a much more enjoyable time for everyone else.
11) Pack what you need to stay warm and dry - period.
12) Don't forget the toilet paper!
I did one time and well, no details needed... but I NEVER forget it now!!! Oh, and take a little folding shovel to make a hole... for obvious reasons. Here's some compact toilet paper for camping... 1
13) Take redundant tools to start a fire.
My favorite? Yep, you guessed it... A lighter! Don't rough it until you have to... But you might like to take ferrocerium rod (firesteel) and try your hand at it. That's it for now... Have fun and stay safe.