Best Practices for Summer Hiking and Backpacking
Summer brings the opportunity for epic outdoor adventure. Whether you are hitting the trails right in your backyard or planning an extensive backpacking trip, we can all use a little help preparing.
The first key to success is simply planning ahead. Get the lay of the land on where you’re hiking by researching trails, checking on trail closures and noting current trail conditions. If possible, plan your hike or trip to avoid times of high use and make sure to start your trek early. Also, make a gear list. Although your list may depend on the length of the trip, there are certain essentials that can’t be forgotten including navigation devices, sun protection, a first aid kit, and fire supplies.
After the hike or trip is planned but before hitting the trail, make sure to test your gear. If you are a beginner and have new boots, break them in and make sure they’re a good fit. You might also want to consider traction devices if you’re going where there’s a chance of snow and ice at higher elevations. Being that you’ll be wearing your backpack most of the time, adjust your pack to make sure it’s comfortable and properly fitted. A great way to test out all your gear is to go on some easier day or overnight hikes beforehand.
Once packed and ready to go, familiarize yourself with the following general safety tips. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and invest in a water purifier or water treatment supplies to refill on the trail. Next up, prepare a trip plan and make sure to sign in and out of registers at trailheads to let people know where you are going and when. On the trail, the weather can change in an instant so make sure to check local weather forecasts beforehand to be prepared for various conditions.
On the trail, make it a priority to leave no trace. As a hiker, it is your duty to protect and enjoy the environment responsibly. This means disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, respecting the wildlife, and minimizing campfire impacts. For a full list of tips and practices, head over to the Leave No Trace website.
With these practices and tips in mind, make the most of this summer and enjoy your time on the trail!
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