After backcountry camping for many years I have found that there are certain things that are always important to consider when going. These are good to know if you are going camping for the first time or good to remind yourself of if you have been camping for years.
Plan Your Trip - Planning is important for many reasons. You may need a permit. You will need to check for site availability. Know how long your hike or paddle will take. Know what gear you need to bring.
Have a Checklist - A checklist will ensure that you don't forget needed items. It is often the small things like flashlights or first aid kits that you may forget. Although sometimes you forget to pack the big things like a sleeping bag or paddles for the canoe.
Pack Properly - By pack properly I mean efficiently. This will help things take up less space. It will also help for weight distribution. Also pack so that frequently needed items are accessible.
Be Prepared for All Kinds of Weather - Spring, summer, fall, winter. Have clothing for the weather conditions. Have clothing for weather that you may not expect. Rain can happen on any trip. Nights can be colder than expected. Also be sure you have shelter for bad weather.
Carry a Map - It is very easy to get lost without a map. Use one.
Take and Use Safety Gear - Safety gear includes things like first aid kits, flashlight, fire making gear, personal floatation devices, a whistle, etc.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected - This can be anything. That's why it is unexpected. Bad weather. Surprise encounters with animals. Equipment breakdowns.
Be Spontaneous - Planning is important but so is being spontaneous. Take the time to explore that trail, or paddle down that creek, or climb that hill.
Leave No Trace - You go into the backcountry to experience nature, clean and pristine. Leave it that way. Pack out everything that you pack in.
Take the Time to Soak It All In - Pay attention to everything around you. The sights. The sounds. The smells. Soak it all in. Nature recharges the soul.
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