Backcountry Hiking—Part 2
In preparation for an enjoyable backcountry hiking adventure, you’re going to want to make sure you have important quality gear. There’s a lot to consider, and it can be overwhelming without some guidance. Parts 2-9 of this series break it all down for you:
· Part 2: Hiking gear
· Part 3: Camping gear
· Part 4: Food
· Part 5: Fluids
· Part 6: Clothing
· Part 7: Protection
· Part 8: Accessories
· Part 9: Snow/ice gear
1.) Make sure you have a large capacity lightweight backpack that can hold a water bladder. It also should have a removable rain shield because you often never know when rain will roll in, even if only for short periods.
A backpack with a good support system will be easier on your back. Some also have a ventilated back panel.
Your backpack should have a hip belt that rests as tightly as possible on top of your hip bones. A tight strap helps to prevent chafing. Pockets on the hip belt are highly recommended. These can be used for snacks, lip balm, and other items you might want handy.
In addition to a hip belt, your backpack should have a chest strap. This one should not be worn super tight.
A backpack with elastic attachment loops is also recommended. These can hold an ice axe, your trekking poles, or other gear.
2.) Trekking poles allow your arms to help with your hike, and make you much more efficient. They allow you to take the weight of your backpack on four points instead of just two. The more efficient you are the further you will travel each day!
· Make sure your poles have carbide tips, and set the pole height so that your arms are at a 45 degree angle when holding the grips.
· Angle the poles in the direction you are headed with grips forward.
· You’ll always want to use the poles in an asymmetrical way, with your right hand going forward as your left foot steps forward.
This video shows proper technique for holding as well as using your poles:
3.) A bladder for water with an attached hose line, held securely in your backpack, is key.
You will need to refill this water supply often when in the backcountry. Look for running water, preferably catching water from a waterfall of any size. Even a super small waterfall will allow you a better chance of no extra debris being swept in.
You can add a filter on the hose line or bring water purification drops with you. These drops have improved tremendously over the last few years, and they are safe to use with no taste.
4.) Direction aids will keep you on the right track.
A compass is an inexpensive, important tool to check that you are going in the direction you should be going.
A GPS watch is great to keep track of your miles and elevation, but without a way to recharge it in the backcountry, your battery may not last for multiple days. Typically you will have no service when out on the trail. A GPS track pod will track a whole trip, but these are an expensive accessory.
An altimeter is an expensive item to bring along, but may be necessary if attempting snow-covered trails. This will help you confirm where you are by checking the topographical lines on your trail map.
Good map reading skills are always handy, and you will get better at this with practice.
A note from the author: Get excited about trying a backcountry adventure!
I invite you to connect with me and follow this series.
Please message me directly with any questions. I also invite you to share your own backcountry hiking experiences!