Last week, we extolled the virtues of basecamp backpacking : that is, hiking in a short distance with your camping gear to establish a basecamp, then doing day hikes from there. You get the advantage of backcountry camping minus the burden of hauling 35 pounds with you wherever you go.
You know why you haven’t gotten into backpacking?
A simple misconception.
When you think of backpacking, you likely think of hiking with 40 pounds on your back all day. In fact, you don’t. If every backpack trip we took involved lugging a full pack for days on end, we wouldn’t backpack, either.
What’s the worst part of a hike?
When it ends and it’s time to head home.
But what if the hike didn’t end and you didn’t have to go home?
That would be backpacking.
Imagine, for instance, that instead of sadly piling into the car and heading home after 5 or 8 or 10 miles on the trail, you pitch camp, make dinner, then enjoy the quiet of the backcountry and the transition from day to dusk to dark. Then, awake the next morning and repeat.
The following originally appeared August 15, 2018. We run it again because it’s a good reminder — to us especially — to always pay attention, to never get cocky out there, and that, nature is always in charge.
You learn a lot while backpacking, especially about yourself. I’m pretty sure the nine backpackers I spent this past weekend with in Linville Gorge know a lot more about themselves today than they did before our trip.
You like the idea of hiking solo, but the thought of being alone in woods makes you uneasy, at best.
Most of us hike in the protective bubble of a group, and that’s a good thing. You have people around should anything happen: a twisted ankle, overheating, you emerge from deep conversation to discover you have no idea where you are. Critters, including the few potentially harmful ones, are more likely to scatter when they hear a group approach. Strangers present less of a danger when you’re in a group. And there’s the social element.