Travel_mountains_hiking

How to Prepare for the Ultimate Backpacking Trip

By Jim Burch

John Muir once said, "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” And there is no better way to see America's wilderness than to strap your gear to your back and walk. But it's not that simple, is it? Backpacking, while fun and rewarding, is sometimes difficult and requires real preparation.

Get in Hiking Shape

Even at no grade and low altitude, hiking for 10 miles and 25 plus pounds on your back takes a toll on your body. If you're a beginner hiker or you spend most of the day sitting in an office chair, there are a few simple exercises to get your legs and core into prime hiking shape.

  • Core - Deadlifts are crucial to back and core strength. Learn to do them safely and properly.
  • Legs - Squats and lunges target both the front and back muscles all the way down the leg.
  • Mobility - The "Limber 11" is a great series of stretches to make long hikes safer and more comfortable.

Get the Gear

The toys needed for a backpacking adventure into the wilderness are minimal, but you should still invest time and research into these key items before exploring the backcountry:

  • Backpack - A good backpack should carry 35-45 liters of gear and have an internal frame to distribute the weight off your shoulders and onto your hips.
  • Tent - The giant tent you use for family car camping won't do for this excursion. Backpacking tents are light, small and only big enough to fit the exact number of people in your group (usually 1-3). Make sure it has a rainfly and consider the additional footprint if you'll be camping on rough ground.
  • Sleeping Bag - If there is one item to splurge on, it should be the sleeping bag. Down feathers pack down and loft out better than synthetic material. You should also find one with a temperature rating below the coldest night of your trip.
  • Sleeping Pad - Most people think the primary function of a sleeping pad is to give cushion, but it's actually to separate you from the cold ground below. The best sleeping bag does nothing if it's pressed up against the cold ground, but a sleeping pad offers a buffer between your body and the dirt below. It also just so happens to be more comfortable.
  • Water Filtration - When you're more than a day's hike from the nearest clean water source, you need a method to filter your own from a stream or pond. Water filters filter out impurities from any water source so you can have safe, clean water to drink and cook with.

There are dozens more items to consider, such as headlamps, a knife, and first aid, but any good backpacking checklist will help ensure you have everything you need.

Get Your Itinerary

You've got the gear, you're in great shape, now it's time to prepare for the actual trip. Controlled land, such as National and State Parks, will usually require backcountry permits for wilderness camping. Popular parks such as Grand Canyon and Yosemite are very difficult to get permits for, so you should sign up for them the moment they're available.

Even if you're backpacking through a national forest or wilderness area, which usually does not require permits, it's a good idea to have an itinerary and share it with someone before you leave. National parks use permits to control crowds on the trail, but also to know where you are if something happens (a fall, an animal attack, etc.).

Make an itinerary, share it and stick to it and you'll be just fine.

Focus on the Journey

Multi-day backpacking trips can be physically challenging, but try to enjoy each moment — even when your body is tired — instead of just thinking about completing your journey. After all, you're off the grid and among nature to savor every step and take in every sight.

 

About the author:

Jim Burch studied creative writing and journalism while working as an editor for the Murray State News in Kentucky. These days, he writes diverse copy -- from sports and movies to tech and health.

 


Traveling to Southeast Asia This Year? Check Out These 4 Gorgeous Places of Worship!

According to a report that Google produced late last year, travel trends have recently been shifting. People are starting to favor adventure-based vacation ideas over luxury-based vacations. Vacation spots which were once considered the norm among American tourists, such as Paris, France, and Cancun, Mexico, although still common, are being replaced with fresh new spots in a completely different part of the world: Southeast Asia. Travel to this Southeastern Asian countries has risen recently, and is expected to keep booming, especially into 2025.

As a very culturally rich and diverse area of the world, it only made sense to focus today’s blog topic on some of the gorgeous temples, churches, mosques, and other places of worship that really showcase the cultural diversity of South Asia. Regardless of whether you’re a religious individual or not, each of these places is still a breathtaking sight for pictures and can tell you an enriching story about the area’s cultural history.

So, without further ado, here are 4 gorgeous houses of worship you absolutely must check out if you’re visiting Southeast Asia anytime soon!

Continue reading "Beautiful Places of Worship in Southeast Asia" »


7 Spooky Destinations That Capture the Essence of Halloween

Halloween is ubiquitously magnificent. It’s one of those holidays where you can really enjoy the adrenaline rush of all the talk of ghosts, witches, and the paranormal. It’s also a time to appreciate the night sky, costume parties where you can be someone (or something) else for a day, and really give yourself the chance to let loose a bit. But the question always stands: Where is the best place to celebrate Halloween? Well, in case you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these top destinations that really capture the mysterious and spooky aura of Halloween.

Continue reading "7 Spooky Halloween Destinations – Travel Insurance Services " »


5 of the Most Diverse Labor Day Weekend Festivals

So, what are your Labor Day Weekend plans this year?

It’s time to say goodbye to summer! Labor Day Weekend is a chance to celebrate the end of summer with your friends and family, so it’s no surprise Labor Day is widely celebrated by people all over the country. People celebrate with delicious barbecue, their favorite brands of beer, and good company. It’s also pretty common for individuals to celebrate at beaches and bays, as this is the last time to really enjoy the summer climate before autumn arrives. Boating, water-skiing, and kayaking are some of the more popular activities that people engage in during Labor Day weekend. But are you looking for something a little different? Not that boating and water-skiing aren’t awesome activities, but all of us want something fresh and new every now and then. So that’s why we’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most culturally diverse Labor Day Weekend festivals around the country!

Continue reading "5 Labor Day Weekend Festivals – Travel Insurance Services " »


7 National Geographic Photos that Will Leave You Speechless

There’s a reason people are crazy about National Geographic. It is a rich source of information on the wonders in our Earth, and provides cultural tips for traveling to certain destinations. But recently, Nat Geo’s been really attracting us with their Photo of the Day campaign. This National Geographic photo campaign features photo op moments of gorgeous destinations from all over the world that tend to go unnoticed compared to more popular, publicized places. Here’s some of National Geographic’s best of the best hand-picked destinations to give you some inspiration as you plan your next vacation. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the view!

Continue reading "7 Best National Geographic Photos – Travel Insurance Services " »