Getting Ready For Your Backcountry Adventure
Much of your hiking gear is only used when hiking or backpacking. And for many people, once you get home, it gets tossed into the closet until the next trip.
Prepare For Your Trip
If this is you, you have to be certain that all of your gear is in working shape before you leave on your next adventure. Even if this isn?t you, you still need to check everything out before you leave home. This should be done a few days before, just in case you need to do some cleaning or replace parts. There's little worse than having something vital, like your stove, break down on the first night or, even worse 20 miles into the backcountry.
Prepare For Weather
Having the proper equipment for inclement weather is absolutely necessary when backpacking. You need to be prepared for rain, cold temperatures, and even the sun.
In wet conditions, you?re going to need raingear. The best option is a waterproof breathable jacket. Rainpants are great, especially when the weather is cool or in higher winds. In warmer conditions, they may not be needed if you have hiking pants made of a quick dry material. Even with the best gear, you shouldn?t expect to stay completely dry, if you are hiking all day in the rain. Purchasing clothing made from synthetic, quick-dry materials, helps because when you do get wet, it'll dry faster. A raincover for your pack is also a necessity. A lightweight alternative to carrying a jacket and pack cover is to carry a hooded poncho to cover yourself and your pack all at once.
No matter what weather you are expecting on trip, you need to plan for the worst and always have the following: raingear, hat, gloves, extra dry clothes, extra pair of socks, and waterproof boots. Even if you?re planning on staying in trail shelters, you should always carry your own shelter. You should also be prepared by packing two fire sources. Obviously, this is just a quick, basic list; backpacking in extreme conditions requires extra equipment.
After You Return
When you get back home, remember to clean everything thoroughly. Vacuum the zippers of your pack, sleeping bag, and outerwear to minimize wear caused by dirt. Make sure your boots are clean and, if needed, (re)waterproofed for your next hiking trip. Clean your stove to prevent buildup. Spend a little time doing the proper maintenance and the life of your gear will be extended and help to make sure that your gear will be ready when you need it.
About the Author: Michael Savio is an avid outdoor adventurer and owner of Compass Monkey, which is dedicated to help other outdoor adventurers get the information they need about places, skills and gear. Featured activities include backpacking, hiking, mountain biking and road cycling. Visit http://www.compassmonkey.com for more tips and advice.