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The Essential Needs for a Backpacking or Hiking Trip

May 10, 2008
Two of the most thrilling outdoor activities for individuals and families would have to be backpacking or hiking. When choosing an outdoor activity with such an element of the unknown it is important to prepare for every scenario before heading off on the backpacking or hiking trail. Backpacking or hiking requires supplies and essentials to make the event more safe and secure.

Sun Protection. Sun protection is very important when backpacking or hiking. Sun protection comes in several forms and all need to be covered. The skin is the first line of protection against the sun while backpacking or hiking, sunscreen should be waterproof and offer an SPF of at least 30. The second area to protect while backpacking or hiking are the eyes. The sun can be bright and cause sudden spots of blindness, which is something that is never needed when backpacking or hiking. Sunglasses and an extra pair or two, should always be packed.

Safety First. Many people forget about safety when backpacking or hiking, but there can be problems and when there are, a whistle can help. Depending on where you are backpacking or hiking, a whistle with no "pea" (the small ball in the center) may be the best choice. If the backpacking or hiking is taking place during cold months, the "pea" could freeze. Along those same lines, a plastic whistle will be sure to never stick to your lips in the cold.

The fluid of life. Water will be the largest part of the backpacking and hiking trip. With constant movement comes the constant need for water. Every team member will be packing water for the trip, but for safety, a constant water supply will need to be assured. An outdoor water filtration device can turn any water into drinkable water in a few minutes.

Bring the heat. A firestarter or waterproof matches are essential when backpacking or hiking. A fire will be needed for those backpacking or hiking trips that last overnight. But, even for the day trips, matches and / or a firestarter are needed if only as a safety precaution. Safety is the number one concern and it is always better to be safe than sorry when backpacking or hiking.

First aid first. A first aid kit should be prepared for every backpack used during the backpacking and hiking trip. If only one packer has access to a first aid kit, the other hikers will be unable to provide first aid in the case that the group loses touch with each other. A first aid kit should include a pocket knife and a set of pocket tools for everyone.

Know Your Way. A map and a compass are two things that no backpacking or hiking can do without. These will keep you going in the right direction when things get turned around. Each pack should have their own set for guidance. On a more advanced tip, many backpacking or hiking trips are being centered on the new GPS technologies making getting lost even more difficult.

Backpacking and hiking are two fantastic ways to spend some time out of doors. When properly prepared, a backpacking and hiking team can enjoy their time and experience and safe and fun filled trip together. These essentials are just a few of the things that are needed for each and every backpacking or hiking trip.
About the Author
Before you head into the wilderness next time make sure you're prepared by checking out our tips on hiking preparedness and backpacking preparedness.
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