Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned veteran, there are few summertime activities so fulfilling as backcountry camping. After all, what's better than exploring the wilderness with everything you need strapped to your back?
"Backcountry camping" (also known as backpacking) means you'll be hiking deep into the wilderness and spending at least one night with the native flora and fauna. Backpacking requires preparation, since "winging it" in the backcountry can spell disaster. Remember, there aren't any convenience stores or ER's out there!
By outfitting with the right gear, your adventure can be as safe, comfortable, injury-free, and fun as possible. Make sure you check off all of the following items before you head out. Enjoy your trip!
Without the basic hiking gear to travel across the trails of the backcountry, you might get stuck at home.
- Backpack - Whether you're going for a day or a month, you will need a comfortable, balanced, and well-fitting backpack that can fit everything you need for your backcountry excursion. Having a good selection of compartments can be invaluable as well.
- Hiking boots - A high-quality pair of hiking boots need to cost a fortune, although they do need to be sturdy, comfortable, and grippy on all surfaces. Remember ankle protection too, especially for more rocky, technical trails.
- Apparel - Comfort is key, as is being prepared for ALL weather, and remember to bring enough socks, etc. with you. However, wearing the same shirt and pants for days at a time is part of the fun, so don't over-pack!
Once you reach your destination, you'll need some basic amenities to enjoy your new home away from home.
- Tent - Being sheltered and protected will keep the experience enjoyable. Remember, a good tent doesn't have to cost a lot, though look for light-weight, ease of setup, and durability.
- Sleeping bag - Whether you choose natural or synthetic insulation, you need a sleeping bag rated for the temperatures you will experience, and fits well in your pack.
- Sleeping pad - Why wake up achy? Instead, look for one of the many high-tech and easy-to-carry pads which make sleeping on the ground practically like...sleeping on your own bed!
Cooking and Dining
It's easy to get so caught up in packing the right gear that you forget to bring enough food. Set yourself up for proper feasting!
- Camp stove - You will be amazed at what you can do with a small, fuel-efficient camp stove and/or JetBoil. Both are easy to carry, and invaluable.
- Fuel - Whoops, I thought you brought it? Seriously, make sure you bring enough of the correct fuel for your stove!
- Freeze dried food - The wonders of freeze-drying allow you to enjoy some surprisingly tasty, nutritious dishes which are feather-light to carry. Enjoy!
It doesn't matter how well-prepared you are - if you forget to bring water, you might as well book it back to the car.
- Water bottles - Make sure you are able to comfortably carry enough water from source-to-source, and BPA-free is also recommended.
- Water filter - There may be times when there are no other options but to drink from a questionable source. The right filter will remove the threat of parasites, pathogens, and other contaminants.
Don't forget the little things. They add up!
- Pugs Sunglasses - The only thing better than affordable sunglasses for protecting your eyes are affordable polarized sunglasses, especially in exposed, high-mountain regions.
- Multi-purpose knife - Don't leave without it! The more features the better, and be sure it fits easily in a pocket.
- Headlamp - A headlamp is perfect for freeing up your hands while setting up tents in the dark, visiting the, ummm "natural facilities," or other times you need both hands AND a light to see by.
Although this list gives you an idea of the important basics, remember that you might want to get your hands on the countless other pieces of gear and accessories to truly enjoy your backcountry camping experience.
As we continue into the dog days of summer, make sure you get out and enjoy nature while you still have time. Remember: be prepared, be safe, and above all, have fun!
Visit the Pugs store now to stock up on fresh sunglasses for all your summer adventures!