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Backpacker Safety – The Essentials

The following post was written by +Sarah Clarke who blogs for Al Fresco Holidays, specialists in camping holidays in France. For more information, visit the blog

Backpacking can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It can be a great workout as well and be a way for friends and family members to spend quality time together. For this to be the case, there are a number of essentials to pack and some safety considerations to keep in mind.

Planning

Before heading out on any trip, it is necessary to do some degree of planning. This is true for a simple weekend trip just like it is necessary for a month long backcountry excursion. In this planning phase, maps and information about the area should be reviewed. Take into consideration the ability and skill level of other backpackers and the type of hiking and adventure that is desired. A basic route for each day should then be planned along with alternative routes and options for leaving the area in an emergency situation. Knowing the nearest hospital, access points and other areas of civilization is critical as well. Once everything is well planned out and any necessary permits acquired, it is wise to leave a copy of this itinerary or schedule with a friend, family member or neighbour. In the event of an emergency, this person will know an approximate location of the backpacking group.

Supplies

The right equipment is important when it comes to the safety of everyone in the group. This would include things such as camping stoves, adequate food and water, and a decent first aid kit. All members of the backpacking group should be relatively familiar with all of these supplies which includesknowing how to use and cook on stoves and be able to take care of minor first aid emergencies that might arise. The more knowledge people have, the better. Everyone on the trip should be able to contribute in some manner.

Clothing

Even in warm summer weather, having the right type of clothing is necessary. Dressing in layers will help to best regulate the body temperature. If a person does not have appropriate backpacking clothing, it is best to borrow some items or make a trip to an outfitter to purchase the appropriate clothes. When possible, cotton should be avoided. Clothes that wick away sweat and moisture will keep a person dry, comfortable and safe from problems such as hypothermia. Well-fitting boots will be needed as well. These should be comfortable and broken in before the trip begins. Otherwise, a person can quickly get painful blisters and find out the boots do not fit correctly.

When backpacking, safety should always be thought about. By having the right gear, making an appropriate plan and dressing correctly, everyone is sure to have a safe and truly amazing and memorable time backpacking in the wilderness.