Backpacking is a favorite activity of many people today. It is a popular outdoor adventure that many are invested in. Week in or week out, many are heading to various destinations to experience the beauty and thrill that nature offers.
However, did you know that the proper etiquettes can make your backpacking trip more enjoyable and safer? It also helps other backpackers experience the same delight as you do.
I have listed some of these essential conducts below. Take time to read them and apply them in your next backpacking or hiking adventure.
While On The Trail
Give way to hikers going uphill - You can assist other hikers by giving way to them, especially if they are ascending. Uphill is harder than downhill, and you are giving other hikers a breather while scaling the steps.
Give way to small groups - Just because you are hiking in a bigger group doesn't mean that you can own the trail. Prudent hikers would always give way, especially to those small-group and individual backpackers. It is essential that the last person in the group say "hiker back" so that all members would switch to the right.
Remain on the trail - There's a benefit if you stay on established trails. First, it preserves the wildlife around you; you are not stepping into potentially endemic plants and creatures on the ground. Second, you are preventing erosion from happening. If you keep on trampling on erosion-prone areas, you are increasing the possibility of disasters in the long run.
Remember to greet other hikers - I know that this one is quite an odd thing to do. But there's no harm if you are going to try this. It is a way of notifying others that you are a friendly passerby. Moreover, by doing this, you are indicating your presence to other backpackers. In emergency situations, that might really help you out.
Rest away from the trail - When you drive your car on a busy highway, you wouldn't want to halt in the middle because the other driver in front of you suddenly stopped to park. Similarly, you wouldn't want others to block your way whenever you are backpacking or hiking, especially if the trail is narrow. If you want to rest, feel free to step away from the lane. In this way, you wouldn't obstruct other people, such as those who are ascending.
While Hiking With A Group
Learn the art of communication - It is essential that you communicate to your group your plans for the trip. You should never be spontaneous when giving updates or instructions. As much as possible, the members of the group should already know what to do before the big day. Well, you can always re-adjust your plans, but you should do it comprehensively so that everybody gets notified.
Adjust your pace - When hiking or backpacking with a group, it is important you consider your companions. If you have a member that walks or moves slowly, you should adjust your pace to them. If you think that it is too much, then inform everyone that they should hike based on the most comfortable pace. But at the same time, you have to make sure that you'll meet at a certain location or landmark to rest or eat.
Give others time to rest - Also, it is crucial that you are aware of the endurance levels of your party. If you are aware that someone is exhausted already, slow your pace and let them catch you. Once they reach you, let them have a break. Veer off from the trail so that they can regain their strength. Doing this is quite important, as it prevents potential injuries and unwanted incidents.
Notify others if there are hazards and obstructions - As long as you are backpacking in a group, you have the responsibility to notify others of existing threats and problems in the trail. In unfavorable conditions, such as rainy weather, you should be keen on doing this task. Who knows? It could save someone's life.
Provide ample space - Since you are already in the wild, there's no need for you to be physically close with each other, especially while on the trail. Aside from being uncomfortable, being too near to your group members gives off that awkward feeling. Just give space so that you can enjoy the breeze and scenery.
Don't nag and complain - If you aren't enjoying the trip, you should just keep the feeling by yourself. If the unpleasant feeling is just because of a ruined preference, just don't address it, especially if others are enjoying the activity. Considering other's experiences is a must when it comes to backpacking as a group. However, if you are experiencing discomforts (such as body pains), don't hesitate to share them.
Bring your own tools - While it is true that you must become a team player in this situation, it is crucial that you don't become a burden. Specifically, what I am saying is that you have to be responsible for your needs. You have to bring your utilities and gear. Don't share cups and utensils with your other members. You should bring your own sleeping bag or tent if you are expecting an overnight stay.
Practice The "Leave No Trace" Principle
The "leave no trace" principle is an important ingredient to responsible backpacking. It contains particular guidelines that can help you enjoy the trip but without damaging the environment, you are in.
Here are the core concepts of the "leave no trace" principle:
Plan ahead and prepare
Travel and camp on durable surfaces
Dispose of waste properly
Leave what you find
Minimize campfire impacts
Be considerate of other visitors
Backpacking should be a fun and worthwhile activity. It is something that you and I can enjoy. However, we should keep in mind that we should do this pursuit without compromising the environment and other backpackers. It would be best if you are aware of your actions so that you can keep things peaceful, safe, and convenient.
That's it for now. If you have other questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.