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50 Wilderness Backpacking Tips You Need To Know

Backpacking in the wilderness is fun, exciting and good for your health - but it's not without its dangers. These 50 tips should help you prepare for and stay safe during your next backpacking trip.

By: G. John Cole + Save to a List

You learn some pretty tough lessons in the wilderness, and that’s partly what backpacking is about – going beyond your safety zone and discovering something about yourself, your comrades and nature. But while you will inevitably become a more wizened traveller with every expedition, there will never be a time to turn your nose up at a well-meant tip. If you’re new to the game, you’ll certainly want to stock up on a little hand-me-down expertise before making your first big excursion.

You might not think, for example, to check your watch when setting off, but making a note of the time means you’ll know how much time to leave for your return. Factor hourly breaks into that schedule to allow your body to rest and regenerate, but for your sake and others, keep those toilet trips at least 200 feet away from any water source.

If you happen to get lost out in the wild, it is only natural to keep going: to try retracing your steps or urgently pressing onwards in the hope of reaching a meaningful landmark. But in fact, it is wisest to remain put until you are discovered, or you can relocate yourself on your map. If you’re really in a bad situation, laying down on the floor can make it easier for rescue helicopters to see you, and making a fire will keep you warm whilst also signalling your position to anyone who’s hopefully looking for you. If the situation is not quite so pressing, note your path as you work your way up to higher ground. The new perspective may help you reposition yourself in the surroundings.

Properly prepared, though, everything should go fine – so be sure to check out this new infographic, bringing together fifty must-read backpacking tips, and you’re all set: 

... Take care out there!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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