Your Black Hills Backpacking Trip
– By MeWhen you think of becoming one with nature, do you ever want to put all of your needs into a backpack and head out into the forest? If this has crossed your mind, read on for some simple backpacking tips that will keep your adventure fun and exciting, not scary and frustrating.
1. Use a good backpack
Cheaper is not always better, especially when it comes to choosing a backpack. This quintessential item of equipment is going to spend a lot of time on your back and you won't get far if the straps start digging into your shoulders and sides or if your crucial piece of backpacking gear breaks in the middle of nowhere. Restrain your urge to get the largest one you can find, as the biggest backpack usually ends up being the heaviest one too. Average is the perfect size and, as long as you pack smartly, it should offer plenty of room for your gear. If you can't afford the backpack you need, see if you have a friend willing to let you borrow one. This will also give you a chance to have an experience of your own and give you personal insights as to what matters to you when you do purchase a backpack.
2. Pack smart
The second tip for first-time backpacking will be about the talent of packing for an exciting and often quite spontaneous trip you are planning to take. First, you'll need to assess the conditions in which you will be living and travelling. Will you be able to wash your clothes? If the answer is no, make sure you have enough clean underwear, socks, and shirts to stay dry and comfortable. Bring medications you're not sure you'll be able to buy where you're going and definitely bring an insect repellent because bugs and critters will attack you, viewing your skin as breakfast, lunch and dinner. A warm piece of clothing is a must even if you're going to Africa and the same goes for a multi-purpose garment like a sarong. A pair of inexpensive flip flops is a good idea to protect your feet in creek beds, or at times when you do not want to mess with putting on hiking boots. Stay away from perfumes, lotions, and hair products. They will all only help to attract bugs.
3. Have a plan
There is a difference between planning and over scheduling, this first one being one of many important tips for first time backpacking and the second one being something you don't want to do unless you want to end up having a complete anxiety attack. Part of the excitement of backpacking is the sheer spontaneity of the journey. However, a basic plan should be in place and sufficient research should be completed prior to your trip. Having an idea of what options are available in the way of transportation and lodging are crucial. Going in completely blind is not only foolish, but could also prove to be very expensive. So allow for spontaneity, but also have some knowledge of the area alternatives, just in case things do not go according to the original structure of the trip.
4. Keep your backpacking group small
The more the merrier is not usually the case when backpacking. Large groups of people can prove to be problematic, especially if traveling with people you do not know very well, have nothing in common with or have conflicting personalities. Possible quarrels are not the only potential outcome of the large group scenario. Just as you have things in mind from planning that you would like to do or see each person in the group probably will also have points of interest in mind. If you are not all on the same page, someone is bound to feel slighted, and put a damper on the entire backpacking trip.
By keeping these backpacking trip tips in mind, you are setting up for a fun adventure, whether you are going for a day hike in the Black Hills or month long journey.