New Year's Resolutions For The Backcountry
The New Year has begun and you probably have a few New Year?s Resolutions under way. You?ll lose weight, lose a bad habit, add a good habit or even mend an old fence. But do you have any resolutions for the backcountry? Are you ready to make this year your best backcountry year? I?m ready. Here are a few of my backcountry New Year?s Resolutions; please adopt a couple of these for yourself. If you do, 2005 will be your best outdoor year yet.
First off, I resolve to spend more time in the backcountry. No matter how much time I spend hiking or camping, it never seems to be enough. So this year I will try to get my fill of the outdoors. Of course, I said this last year too but failed to get enough.
Next I resolve to upgrade my critical gear. Some things are more comfortable the longer you own them, but this isn?t good practice for critical backcountry gear. For example, it?s been a few years since I upgraded my first-aid kit or my hiking boots or my sunglasses. These items become a liability if they are not properly maintained. I?ve let that slip. I?ll also take a long look at my binoculars and my camping kitchen, especially my stove. Taking care of your gear will ensure its ability to take care of you when you need it most.
While we?re discussing gear, let?s keep going with another resolution. I resolve to learn how to use all of my gear. I?ve been carrying a magnesium stick for fire starting for about 5 years. I don?t think I know how to use it. I?m going to learn. I need to understand more about my GPS receiver (Garmin eTrex Vista). I use about five percent of its capabilities and this is only because I haven?t taken the time to learn. That changes this year.
I also resolve to learn a new backcountry skill. I haven?t decide what skill to learn but it will be something I?ve never done before. I?ve never taken the time to learn how to rock climb. Perhaps that?s the one, or maybe kayaking. I?ve never collected water using a solar still. That sounds interesting too. Maybe you need to learn CPR or how to read a map or tie a variety of knots. This is the year to fill in the knowledge gaps.
Finally, I resolve to bring someone new into the backcountry this year. When I see the perfect sunset or a herd of antelope, the next thought I have is ?I wish so-and-so was here to see this!? So this year, I?m going to share the awe of our backcountry with someone brand new to the outdoors. By sticking to these New Year?s Resolutions, I will have a great year in our backcountry. I hope to see you there!
Use this information and you?ll Get It Right The First Time. Get Outdoors!
About the Author: Chuck Fitzgerald is the owner of Arizona based BackCountry Toys, an online specialty store with the ?Best Gear Out There? and dedicated to helping outdoor enthusiasts to ?Get It Right The First Time? with timely educational information. Please visit http://www.BackCountryToys.com to find great gear and to receive the Fact & Tips e-newsletter, "FreshAir.? (800) 316-9055.