Leave No Trace
Backpacking Tips

Backpacking Tips-Follow the Leave No Trace Guidelines with these 7 easy steps.

Equally important as bringing your backpacking essentials including your backpacking first aid kit is following some simple hiking rules of the trail.

Even if you are going winter backpacking and especially if you are a beginner backpacker.

These backpacking tips for hiking follow the Leave No Trace principles to protect the wilderness that surrounds us for both the wildlife that lives there and our future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

Taking your family hiking involves teaching your children these important backpacking tips so they too will become responsible young hikers and stewards of our natural environment.

All fellow hikers will appreciate everyone following these backpacking tips that involve the Leave No Trace Principles. Nobody likes to hike into the pristine wilderness to find human waste or garbage strewn about the meadows or tent sites. Worse is seeing human destruction to trees, shrubs and alpine meadows. We all need to advocate for the wilderness that surrounds us on our hikes to preserve it for future generations to enjoy.

Here are the 7 principles for

all of us to follow:

1. Plan ahead and be prepared.

This might seem basic but I've seen so many hikers trudging up miles of rugged mountain terrain totally unprepared for either the change in weather, temperature change and more. It's so important to understand that weather can change very quickly in the back country and so can the temperature. Know where you are going, how you are going to get there and make sure you tell at least one person of your hiking itinerary.

2. Hike and tent on designated trails and tent pads.

If you are hiking in a park area with hiking trails then please use them. The purpose of designated hiking trails is to minimize the environmental damage to the area from hikers damaging the ground and ground cover over the years. The alpine and sub-alpine meadows have very short growing seasons and survive under extreme weather conditions. This means that even small damage can take years to grow back and recover. This goes for tenting also. If there is a designated tenting area along your route, please use it. Many back country areas have designated tenting areas or even tent pads.

3. Leave what you find.

Sometimes it may be tempting to bring home a souvenir from your hiking trip. What's the harm in a rock or some flowers? The truth is that the flowers, shrubs, trees and even the rocks are all part of the natural resources of the wilderness you're hiking in. If everybody removed a souvenir or two we would be stripping away what nature needs to preserve the area and what the wilderness in the area also need for their survival. Digital cameras are great for capturing those memories.

4. Pack out what you pack in.

This backpacking tip is so basic and really goes back to early childhood lessons about not littering. I can't tell you how many times I've come across large and small bits of garbage along trails and tent sites. It's so important to take your garbage out with you. I think the best and easiest way is to bring along a large ziplock bag with you and toss your garbage inside. It stays sealed, it's waterproof and you won't be leaving an unsightly mess for other hikers to see and the wildlife to deal with. Many of the items I've seen tossed would be a hazard to any animal that might decide to eat it.

5. Respect the wildlife.

Feeding the wildlife is hazardous to their health. They need to be able to hunt and find their own food without becoming reliant on hikers for snacks that may or may not be what their natural diet is made up of. And the streams, rivers and lakes in the area are the drinking water source for them and us. Make sure you are doing all your washing of yourself and your dishes at least 100 feet away from any natural water source.

6. Minimize your campfire impact.

Many parks prohibit the use of campfires all together in the back country and this really should be respected. Besides the danger of starting a forest fire, even small camp fires can cause permanent damage to the surrounding area. Best bet is to use your gas stove for all your cooking needs.

7. Be a considerate hiker.

This should go without saying, but like I've mentioned above I have seen the behaviour of disrespectful hikers too often.

Follow these guidelines and you will be showing respect to your fellow hikers.

If you are tenting in an area where there are fellow hikers it's also important to respect each other's privacy especially at night time.

Loud music or noise is a disturbance to all.

By following these backpacking tips and leave no trace guidelines we can all contribute to the preservation of our wilderness and become better hikers for it.

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