You’ve met with your friends, found a time window, the money, and the goodwill, so the camping trip is on. Now comes the part where you have to plan it all out and make sure it all goes smoothly, without any problems. Enter backpacking trip planner.
This article will lead you through the planning process and help you achieve it without losing too much time and nerves. We’ll try to answer your every question on how to plan a backpacking trip topic – from finding the right place, over what gear to bring, to final stuff you should do, before you lock your doors and hit the road.
How To Narrow Your Options
Finding the right place for your camping trip is one of the most important things that will make a difference between the time of your life and the disaster that could separate you or some of your friends from camping for a long time.
Time And Distance
The two most important parameters for your trip are the time you have for your trip and the distance you’d love to hike each day. Set up the basic trip parameters, which will help you ease the search. Start by calculating how much time you have for your trip. For example, if this is your first trip or you have some beginners or kids in your group, you’d probably have to tackle a shorter distance and have more time to rest. Some usual hiking distance varies from 3 miles per day to 10 miles per day, if you’re in excellent shape, along with your companions.
Take the time you have for your trip, try to spread the distance so you cover each day, but don’t be unrealistic with your goals. Keep them achievable. It is better to have some time in your pocket than to be in a hurry, so if you have five days for a 10-mile hike, set your goal to 1.8 miles daily. When you exceed it, celebrate it with your companions.
If you have limited time for your hike, let’s say a weekend, it is not wise to choose a place you’d have to drive a few hours to get to. The goal is to spend more time hiking than on the road, so if this is just a weekend hike, look for a place not far from you, so you don’t have to lose much of the hiking time on getting there.
Group Size Matters
Remember that saying which states that “the chain is as strong as its weakest link”? This is the logic for your group, too – you’re only as fast as your slowest member is. But the group size won’t affect only your speed. Some trails don’t have enough space for larger groups, so make sure the one you choose can handle it.
Be Ready For Your Trip
Take some time to prepare your body for the trip. If you’ve planned this trip at least a month ahead, start taking shorter walks and increase the distance along the way, to prepare your legs and the rest of your body for stress.
If you’re planning to go to a camp site, and you’re in a group, it is a good idea to get one big tent instead of the ultralight one. If you do it, then you should split the weight along the group – someone could take the fly, the other one could bring the poles, etc.
Time And Weather
To avoid possible unpleasant surprises, make sure your chosen destination is available during that time of year. Also, make sure you’ve checked the weather. It shouldn’t be a deciding factor because a little rain won’t ruin your trip, but if the storm approaches or there is any kind of extreme forecast, at least you’ll know what to expect and you’ll have a chance to get ready for it.
Gathering Information And Finding The Best Route
OK, you’ve found the right parameters; you know what you want from your trip, now it is time to use them to find the best route. Start by finding any guidebook about your wanted location, or a website. There you’ll find information about trail difficulty, distance, direction, nearest water sources, stuff to see, elevation gain, trail features. Also, you’ll find the trail’s rules. If you want to fully enjoy your trip, try your best to stick to them.
Another useful option on the website is the chance to look at the reviews and other users’ experiences. You could also try and find information on internet forums.
Hiking Project – Website You Should Bookmark
This website has information on more than 83.000 miles of trails with maps, photos, and descriptions of those places included, so you could check it out just to prepare yourself a bit. Don’t worry, you won’t spoil the fun, the real excitement comes from the surrounding, not from the picture itself, so feel free to inform yourself. And you’ll possibly run into something that looks too good to miss.
If you’re a backpacker, you probably know other backpackers, too, so you could always ask them for a recommendation. Or you could listen to your friends’ suggestion. But if you opt-out to do it this way, make sure they are aware of those parameters.
If this doesn’t help, or you simply want another opinion or insight, contact local hiking organizations or rangers of the place you’d love to visit and ask them what you need to know. They should provide you with the newest information about trail conditions, local wildlife…
Check The Trail Details
The parameters have helped you to find the best route, now it is time to start planning on day-by-day activities and schedule.
Start by getting a detailed topographic map and go through it. Yes, in the modern era you do have smartphones, etc., but they could malfunction, and you could end up having to rely on the topographical map, so it is good to learn how to read it if you don’t already know.
Next, check for the campsites along the way. If the distance between the two campsites is big, try to find if there is any other place you could stay for the night.
Make sure you’ve located the water sources. Check if they are drinkable. Also, get the water purifier or a filter, so you can easily clean it. And make sure you have something to cook water in if you’re not sure if the water is good, and the nearest water source is hours away. You could also meet the snow.
Check The Reports Regularly
Few days before you arrive, make sure you check the reports and news on your chosen site’s web presence. This way you’ll learn if there are some changes, like re-routes, or some warnings about wildlife, or if you’re lucky and come at the right moment, information about some local celebration or cultural event, where you could learn more about that place and take part in local customs.
Essential Gear, Useful Stuff And Other Supplies
When the time comes for the packing, you’ll already have more than enough information on what you’ll need. Feel free to leave some stuff behind, like – if your trip is scheduled for the middle of summer, you probably won’t need a survival kit to prevent hypothermia.
Check the laws and the rules. Some federal lands require different permits, so make sure that place you’re going to doesn’t have this policy, and if it does, make sure you have every permit needed.
Visiting nature without meeting some of its inhabitants is basically impossible, and most of the time you’ll be dealing with mice, raccoons, or other rodents. But don’t be lazy, do your homework and research about wildlife, and what to do if you run into a wolf or venomous snake. Some places are known for their bear population, so check on recommendations and laws about proper food storage. Another unavoidable thing is insects. Yes, camping and backpacking mean there will be bugs, so have an insect-repellent.
When it comes to food, it is better to have a bit more than to run out of it. The same goes for fuel. Make calculations – have a test during an overnight in house camping, doing stuff you’d like to do while on the track. Check how much food and fuel you’ve used, and bring a bit more than that, just in case. If you’re bringing dry food, the usual amount goes from 1.5 – 2.5 pounds daily per person.
Check The Gear Condition
Before the time to go arrives, check if everything is OK – tent, sleeping bag, backpack, pad, stove, headlamp, shoes, rainwear… Setting up a camp in your backyard, or even in your house, will help you see if everything is in a good shape.
Create A Checklist
With lots of information going around and lots of stuff, you’d have to do, make a checklist of everything you have to bring. When the time for packing comes, make room on the living room floor and spread all your gear on it, then start packing it one by one. If you think there is something you won’t need, feel free to leave it at home, especially if someone else will bring it – like a water purifier, filter, stove… Also, this way you’ll know if you need anything else. And don’t forget to actually check the items off!
Globo Surf Overview
Planning and organizing a trip could be fun. You’d have the chance to learn something new, and even find some places you’d visit next time. This article should serve you as a backpacking trip planner and help you ease the process and have fun even before your trip has started.