Four Things to Bring on Every Backcountry Adventure
Heading out into the open wilderness isn’t something that should be done hastily or haphazardly. Proper preparation and packing are key in ensuring that you’ll have an enjoyable trip. On the other hand, failing to bring the necessary equipment, accessories, and provisions will have you feeling more like a stranded wanderer in distress than an adventurous backpacker on a journey. Most people can use common sense to decide what they need on a trip, but to simplify the process and make sure you don’t miss anything obvious, we’ve categorised the basic backpacking essentials into four categories:
1. Comfort – Clothing, Shelter, and Sleeping Equipment
Most of us go out into nature to soak up the sun’s rays and bask in the beauty of the great outdoors, but it’s kind of hard to feel like you’re having a great time when you’re uncomfortable in every way. Here’s a list of things in the comfort department that you definitely won’t want to go without:
- Sleeping bags and pillows
- Clothing for hot, cold, and rainy weather
- Foldable umbrellas
- Hats and visors
- Hand fans or battery-powered camping fans – for hot and tropical climates
Backpackers have to accept that they’ll be sacrificing a bit of comfort in exchange for a more authentic camping and hiking experience, but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely uncomfortable along the way.
In fact, you can easily find women’s outdoor clothing that is both comfortable and fashionable, light to carry, easy to wash and dry and does not take up too much room in the pack!
2. Navigation – Map, Compass, and Possibly a GPS
At the very least you should bring a map and compass, and prepare yourself by thoroughly reviewing the map and viewing satellite imagery online before departing. With satellite coverage expanding across many remote areas nowadays, it’s also a good idea to bring a satnav GPS for good measure. Many sat navs also have downloadable or offline maps that you can use to keep track of your whereabouts even when a signal is no longer available.
3. Safety – First Aid Kit, Sunscreen, and Fire Starting Tools
Don’t forget to bring a small first aid kit equipped with all the basics plus sunscreen. Ideally, your first aid/emergency kit should include a flare gun that you can fire off to signal rescuers in the event you accidentally deviate from the beaten path and become lost in the wilderness. Carrying fire starting equipment would also be wise, just to prepare for the possibility of being stranded out in the woods during dangerously cold nights, or even just for the purpose of heating your food.
4. Nutrition – Water, Food, Utensils, and Cookware
Last but certainly not least, you should make sure you’re not going to be starving or dehydrating yourself unnecessarily. Bring a camping water filter that you can use to filter water from streams, rivers, lakes, and other natural water sources. This way you only need one or two water bottles, along with any eating utensils and cookware you might need. It also means you are not throwing away plastic bottles.
Narrowing the List and Preparing for Nature
If you’re traveling with a few other backpackers, which is recommended for safety reasons, it’s possible to take along all of the things mentioned above and share the load.
If, however, you plan on backpacking alone, you can still manage to carry most of the aforementioned items, but you’ll probably have to downsize on your clothing selection, and some of the less important items like foldable umbrellas and camping fans might need to stay behind.