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Sunday, July 3, 2022

8 Important Suggestions For Your First Backpacking Journey

My love of backpacking started after I was a young person. Not like taking a day hike, backpacking provided journey as you packed every thing you might want to spend an evening or extra within the woods in your again and spend the evening sleeping underneath the celebs subsequent to a stream, a dashing waterfall, or on a rocky bluff, the sounds of nature surrounding you.

Through the years, life acquired in the best way and there by no means appeared to be sufficient time to get away so my love of backpacking was pushed to the backburner. Now that I’ve retired, I’ve the time and need to strive it once more. Bother is, I’m not that spry teenager anymore. My knees pop, snap, and ache. My again isn’t limber anymore. However the path is looking. 

Backpacking is a superb solution to really feel rejuvenated, take you to landscapes and nature that solely a climbing path can, and even problem you. It may be so simple as spending one evening on a path in a neighborhood state park the place they provide backcountry tenting to one thing actually difficult like climbing all the Appalachian Path (A.T.) from Georgia to Maine. 

One factor is for sure: it’s a enjoyable, rewarding, and satisfying sport that these of us over 50 can get pleasure from far into our golden years.

MJ Eberhart (aka Nimblewill Nomad) grew to become the oldest man to finish the Appalachian Path in 2001

(Photograph Credit score: Joe Cuhaj)

Not satisfied that you simply’re by no means too outdated to backpack? Properly, good friend of mine, M.J. Eberhart (higher recognized by his climbing moniker, Nimblewill Nomad) not too long ago accomplished climbing the A.T. from Alabama to Maine on the age of 83, changing into the oldest man to take action.

Listed here are eight tricks to get you began by yourself journey.

Man stands on top of rock overlooking rolling hills.
“One of many joys of backpacking – breathtaking views.”
(Photograph Credit score: Joe Cuhaj)

1. The Pleasure Of Backpacking Over 50

Apart from exploring nature, there are a lot of different advantages related to backpacking:

  • Being bodily lively is nice on your thoughts and physique.
  • It improves your cardiovascular well being.
  • Builds sturdy muscle tissues.
  • Will increase cognitive operate.
  • It’s therapeutic, permitting you to get away from the on a regular basis grind and immerse your self in nature.
  • Builds confidence in your self and your talents. 

2. Getting In Form 

Earlier than you lace up these boots and set one foot on the path, get to know your physique and your bodily situation, and don’t sugarcoat it. Be sincere with your self. Are you having some knee or again aches? Are you a bit obese? How is your stamina?

At all times begin your journey together with your private doctor. Inform them what you’re planning on doing and get the low down in your bodily situation. Be sure you ask their recommendation for getting ready your physique for the adventures forward.

3. Begin With The Fundamentals 

In case you have by no means taken even a day hike earlier than, begin by strolling your neighborhood and progressively improve your distance.

If you’re prepared to maneuver on to one thing more difficult, take your stroll to the closest park or state park and take day hikes of various levels of problem. Once more, start with straightforward trails and work your means as much as the harder however make sure you take hikes which have one thing of curiosity to spur you on like a waterfall, panoramic view, or historical past.

From there, it’s time to start out taking straightforward in a single day treks. Utilizing the identical course of, construct your self as much as longer stays within the woods. However earlier than you are able to do that overnighter, you might want to get some fundamental gear and do some extra planning.

4. Gear Fundamentals 

You must do not forget that you may be carrying every thing you want in your again. Many individuals hand over backpacking after their first journey as a result of they carry actually every thing — forged iron skillets, giant four-person tents, radios, you title it. It’s not good and is often the top of their backpacking adventures.

The thought is to strike a stability between packing gentle and nonetheless being snug. There’s a science to purchasing the proper gear on your journey — tents, sleeping luggage, meals, and so forth. The American Climbing Society is likely one of the finest sources for studying the intricacies concerned in making the perfect decisions for backpacking gear and making your first backpacking journey satisfying and comfy.

There are just a few necessities you might want to actually give attention to. The primary is water, a backpacker’s finest good friend and worst enemy.

It’s the hiker’s finest good friend as a result of consuming sufficient water on a hike is crucial to maintain you hydrated and wholesome. It’s their worst enemy as a result of it is rather heavy to hold.

A superb rule of thumb is to drink one half-liter of water per hour of reasonable exercise in reasonable temperatures. Improve or lower the quantity relying on the hike’s problem and the surface temperature. Be sure you add electrolytes to your water to assist with hydration.

Don’t drink from any water supply on the path with out first purifying it both by way of a filter or with chemical substances. Diseases from water-borne germs like giardia aren’t a laughing matter. Whereas it’s treatable and infrequently deadly, the bodily toll it takes in your physique will not be enjoyable.

Discuss with the native clothing store about water filters on your pack or water bottle. The go-to journal for backpackers, Backpacker Journal, does an annual assessment of the newest filters that may also enable you make the proper selection.

At all times carry fundamental communications — a cellular phone and GPS unit. Cell telephones are OK to a degree, however you’re by no means certain if you should have a sign or not, and naturally, the batteries die.

Don’t ever use your cellphone as a GPS machine. Once more, lack of sign is the issue and may go away you stranded out within the backcountry. It additionally drains batteries rapidly. As an alternative, go for a GPS machine. Costs begin at $100 for the fundamental Garmin GPS Map 64ST.

Even with GPS unit (and having realized tips on how to use it), there’s nonetheless one factor you must study earlier than your massive journey…

5. Be taught Orienteering 

A GPS is nice, however you possibly can nonetheless lose the sign or the batteries can die. It’s a good suggestion to study orienteering — using a conventional map and compass. Oh, and make sure you carry them with you in your hike.

Nationwide topographic maps for wherever within the nation can be found on-line from the U.S. Geological Survey in addition to native outfitters who can instruct you on the artwork of orienteering or information you to somebody who can train you.

Campers stand around campfire.
Creator, Joe, preparing for an evening on the path with mates round a campfire.
(Photograph Credit score: Joe Cuhaj)

6. Make Knowledgeable Choices About Your Trek 

As you see, planning is every thing for a profitable backpacking journey. However there’s extra to it than simply the gear you carry.

In fact, you need to make your backpacking journey memorable and expertise all that nature has to supply, however you might want to know your limits.

Good path guides and maps will let you know the diploma of problem of a path. However that’s all subjective and often relies on the writer’s expertise and situation, which will not be the identical as yours.

With path information like these discovered on AllTrails or an app, you possibly can take a look at the map and the accompanying elevation achieve to get a way of what sort of climbing you’re in for on the hike you select to take.

Additionally think about the size of the hike. Positive, the typical individual can stroll 2 or 2.5-miles an hour on stage floor, however add in climbing ridges and mountains and fording streams, and except you’re in high situation, your pace will drop considerably and a shorter distance in a single day hike could also be so as.

Find water sources alongside the path earlier than you head out. Are there loads of streams and is derived the place you possibly can filter water? That may assist lighten the load, however nonetheless all the time carry lots with you. You by no means know when that water supply can be dry.

7. Be Climate Clever

Test the climate earlier than heading out. If extreme storms are predicted, don’t probability it.

Hikers, walk across a wooden bridge into the woods.
“Take a day hike together with your gear to strive it out earlier than doing an in a single day backpacking journey.”
(Photograph Credit score: Joe Cuhaj)

8. Closing Suggestions Earlier than You Hit The Path

By no means hike alone. I’ve many backpacking mates who go solo, but it surely’s not a good suggestion. Emergencies occur on the path and having somebody with you can be the distinction between life and loss of life.

Pack alongside a primary support equipment and know tips on how to use it.

Wherever you go, let others know of your plans — when you may be on the trailhead, what route you take on the path, the place you may be spending the evening, and what time they’ll anticipate you to return dwelling.

Earlier than going in your first in a single day, think about doing a shakedown hike of your gear. Load your pack with every thing you propose on taking with you and do a day hike by way of a neighborhood park or state park. Stroll a distance. Is the pack snug or too heavy? Take the gear out and check out it to ensure it really works and that it’s not too tough to function on the path.

And with that, you’re able to lace up the boots, strap on the pack, seize the climbing poles, and take your first backpacking journey. Comfortable trails!

For extra info on Tenting, discover these articles:

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