Backpacking in the backcountry is one of the most exciting experiences for people who love the outdoors. Fantastic scenery, scary yet beautiful wildlife, and the pure bliss of wandering off the beaten path are some of the reasons why outdoor-people get lost in the wilderness.  

Below are some essential guidelines that will make your backcountry backpacking safer and more exciting, whether you are new or have done it many times.

Be Careful with Fire

Wildfires are becoming more common and extreme. Fires are constant danger particularly to places with drier climates like in the West where the mountains are blocking the moisture from getting through.

Wildfires can burn acres of forest into ashes in no time. Whenever you are backpacking or camping, don’t forget to check if any fire bans are being implemented in the area. You can also check the NIFC’s reports on fire prediction to know if you are in a hot zone.

Here are some simple rules in building and maintaining a fire so you can avoid a possible man-made wildfire:

  • Keep the fire away from low tree branches or  near bushes that can catch fire easily
  • Contain the fire inside the stones or rocks
  • Make sure that the fire is extinguished thoroughly and do not leave any cinders burning

Pack Lightly

You need water, food, and gear when hiking across the backcountry. However, you don’t want to make your hiking burdensome because of overpacking. Be a minimalist hiker by bringing only the important items and leave the rest of your stuff in your closet.

Don’t Forget Water

Most first-time backcountry backpackers that they can stop to get some water from any raging rivers or ambling brooks to drink. Unfortunately, many rivers, streams, and lakes (no matter how clear or clean the water from it looks like) has harmful bacteria, brain-eating amoebas, and pollutants that are harmful to humans. Pack enough water for your backpacking or bring any water purification like iodine drops, tablets, or a good quality purification filter.

Let Your Friends Know

Whether you are traveling with a group or alone, it is always wise to inform at least three of your friends where you are going, when will you return, what kind of vehicles you are going to drive, and type of gears you are going to bring. This information may look basic, but it could be useful for search and rescue in case your backpacking goes wrong.