Many people enjoy backpacking not just because it brings them closer to nature but also because of the fun and adventure. Yet, too much eagerness coupled with ill preparation and ill planning usually results in disastrous, or even fatal, camping and hiking activities. This article will provide you with pointers on some of the considerations that you need to make as you plan for your camping and hiking outings.
Almost all camping and hiking sites are governed by regulations set in place not just to protect the flora, fauna, and physical surroundings of the site but also to protect those who intend to go camping and hiking there. Some sites, for example, would allow you to set up your tent at least 200 feet away from hiking trails or bodies of water. Other sites explicitly forbid camping anywhere on the site, except in expressly designated areas. You should make it part of your pre-camping plan to find out what regulations are enforced in the camping and hiking site that you’re going to.
Where can you find information about the camping and hiking site that you plan to visit? Rules, regulations, and site policies are usually posted on signboards at the trailheads. The same information can also be acquired from guidebooks. You can also ask about them from ranger stations and national forest stations, as well as from local state park offices.
Of course, you shouldn’t forget your map. Your map is one of the most important things that will help you find your way. Before you start hiking, study the area’s topographic map and locate any flat spots that lie along your trail or route and that are of considerable distance from the trail. These flat spots are your potential camping sites and your daily goal. Also, check whether the hiking trails on the map are reasonably within your physical ability. You wouldn’t want to choose a very long trail, only to run out of breath and stamina midway to the next campsite.
In looking for a place to set up your camp in, choose a location that is inconspicuous. If you put up your camp in a place that is far from the trail, your camp will be out of sight of passersby and doing so is actually an act of courtesy to them.
Set up your tent on sturdy ground. Generally, an area that has been camped on a lot of times in the past tends to be more durable and is, therefore, a good place to set up camp in. Rocky areas, of course, are good ideas for campground. So are areas where leaves have gathered and grassy meadows.
Do a visual sweep of your campground before putting up your tent. You would not want your tent to lie near or under hazards such as dead trees or dead branches that could fall down anytime. Stay away from areas where loose rocks could fall off, or where avalanches are possible. Avoid camping near drainage that could spill out and wash you away in a flash flood.
If you keep these tips and pointers in mind, you will be able to plan well for your camping and hiking trip. Needless to say, planning well for camping and hiking will help you make it less dangerous and more fun.