than perhaps any other outdoor activity, backpacking and hiking rewards the efficient
packer and punishes the people that over pack. After all, you will have to both
live with and carry and every decision you make! In assembling a personal packing
list, experience is the best guide. Here is a useful list of things that you will
Maps and guidebook
Water bottles (at least two 1-liter bottles
Water purification (filter or iodine)
Stove and fuel
Matches and lighter
lightweight bowl and spoon
Utility knife (e.g. Swiss Army-type
Hiking Boots (broken in and waterproofed)
3 pairs of socks (no cotton! wool or synthetic,
or not - your preference)
1 pair of long underwear bottoms (synthetic)
1 long underwear top (synthetic; zip-T style ones are best)
1 pair of shorts underwear (optional)
1 T-shirt (cotton or synthetic)
Rain jacket and pants
Wool or fleece sweater or jacket
Wool or fleece hat
Wool/fleece gloves or mittens
Accessories and Optional Items:
Toilet paper in zipper-lock
Extra zipper-lock/trash bags
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Journal & pen
Small strainer (for filtering
while cleaning dishes)
Once you have chosen how many days you have and how many
miles you plan to cover, you can make a decision on your route and the length
of your hike. It is important to make sure you have the right maps and guidebooks
covering the area that your hike involves. Don't forget to take into account big
climbs or difficult stretches of trail where you're pace will/ could be a little
slower. If you're a planner, you might want to decide in advance where your target
campsites will be. However, some people prefer to just 'go with the flow'.
Discuss plans with your hiking partner (You should have at least one until
you are confident in your outdoor skills). Make sure you agree on the basics,
the most important is how many miles you plan to walk each day.
At that point:
Check with your partner(s) regarding sharing gear:
You don't both need an army knife, stove, tent, first aid kit, and water filter,
so this is a great opportunity to shed some weight.
Get all your
gear together and check its condition to be sure nothing is falling apart and
no parts are missing.
If you haven't been hiking in a while,
it's a good idea to take a few walks wearing your boots. It'll help you break
your feet in and avoid blisters on the trail.
Shop for food.
Remember last minute items such as water and any
food you've stored in the refrigerator.
Respect the Countryside
It is very important to respect the countryside around
you and to avoid damaging anything in or around the areas that you cover on your
hike. Here are some things to bear in mind:
Hike in a single file.
Hiking two or more abreast widens and erodes trails.
the trails. Don't be tempted to cut switchbacks they're there not only to make
the grade easier for walking, but to prevent erosion. If the trail is muddy, walk
straight through the middle rather than walking around the edges, which broadens
the trail unnecessarily.
You can help prevent flooded or muddy
trails by shoring up broken water bars. Placing a few rocks across the trail can
help divert any water downhill and away from the path. Unless you've got trail
maintenance experience, you'll be more helpful if you do your bit and repair damaged
water bars than if you attempt to install new ones.
so-called 'social'/ 'volunteer' trails that veer off in all directions, sometimes
criss-crossing meadows. Stay on official trails. Encourage others to do the same
by barricading shortcuts and social trails with some sticks and stones, the recognized
hiker sign for 'trail closed' or 'don't go here'.