History Of Backpacking

Backpacking today is a lot easier and more fun then it was in the when it started. People are able to backpack with all the things they love from their homes, such as computers, phones and even watch TV on their trips. Due to all the latest technology like solar panels to charge all their equipment. Back then it was a different story. A lot of people backpacked for necessity either because of disease, starvation, wild animal attacks or robbers to name a few. It wasn’t till the 17th century people traveled for educational or entertainment purposes.

Wealthy European men were sent on a “grand tour” one last hurrah before they settled into marriage and careers. Just like the pre-college trips the teenagers in Europe take these days. Giovanni Careri was the first pioneer to travel the globe for fun. He did this travel in 80 days and wrote the accompanying book “Around the World in Eighty Days’. He was able to do this by smuggling valuables from country to country. The earliest backpackers were the ancient hunters-gatherers. Where they followed animals and ate the wild fruits. These nomadic tribes were the Aborigine Australians, South African Bushmen. Pygmy Tribes of the Congo and the Native Americans.

In 1492 Christopher Columbus ventured to America and David Livingstone explored Africa in 1841 are just two of the many explorers who paved the way for backpackers. In 1920 Lloyd F. Nelson invented the camping backpack by adding a pack board to make the pack more comfortable. Before that the backpack was just a loose sack with shoulder straps. In 1965 President Lyndon Johns proposed the National Scenic Trail Act which encouraged individuals to discover the outdoors and appreciate nature more. This provided hikers with well-defined trails to follow. Greg Lowe designed the internal fame backpack which distributes pack weight across the hips. And the backpacking gear got better from wooden frame to aluminum tubing, heavy canvas to waterproof nylon, steel cookware to titanium, wool clothing to quick dry synthetics and petroleum/wood for stoves to alcohol/butane.

In 1910 backpack is coined. In the 1940’s post World War 2 more people had time to travel so the travel trailer and camping grew in popularity. Because of the military design backpacking gear goes lighter with aluminum-alloy frames. Then the lighter frames become popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Then 1970’s lighter weight nylon backpacks are everywhere. In 1990 the program Leave No Trace Behind is developed. In 2000 all the best innovations in shelter, sleeping bags, cookware get lighter and easier to carry.

The best is yet to come as the principles of the program Leave No Trace Behind become important for our eco-conscious society and so backpacking will grow more and more. Leave nature as you found it don’t disrupt it and our beautiful wild life will continue to flourish.

Backpacking Safety Tips

The most important thing to think about when going on a backpacking adventure is to be prepared for anything. As the saying goes, if it can happen it will happen. These tips will help you avoid any misadventures and enjoy your backpacking trip to the fullest.

Keep Hydrated

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to keep yourself hydrated no matter what type of a backpacking trip you are on. The best way to do this of course is through the drinking of large amounts of water. You of course do not want to drink it all at once, but spread it out over the course of the day. Making sure that there is plenty of purified drinking water that is available for you and your entire group will lead to many happy campers.

It is important to note, that it does not matter what type of weather or what the temperatures that you are in when going on the trip, you will need to be hydrated. It may not be as obvious that you are losing fluids while on your trip in colder weather, but it is occurring nonetheless.

Dress for the Occasion

One of the most important pieces of clothing to a backpacker is their sleeping bag. This is the item that most do not think of as clothing, but in essence it is the clothes that you sleep in. Make sure that it has the proper ratings for the weather you will be encountering while on your trip.

Make sure to dress in layers as well so as to be able to put clothes on and off to adjust body temperature as necessary. Use your clothes as a thermostat regulator to prevent overheating and overexposure on the trip. Sun poisoning, heatstroke and hypothermia are all things to avoid.

Of course, you are going to want to take care of your feet as well while on your expedition. Make sure to wear hiking shoes or boots that will give you the necessary support so as to avoid twisted and sprained ankles. Do not forget to wear proper socks and sock liners so to prevent blisters and rubbing of the feet.

First Aid

Having an adequate first aid kit is one of the most essential pieces of equipment that you will need to carry on your trip. Make sure to of course have the bare essentials in the kit such as an ace bandage, band aids, burn cream and all other minimum items. Also, keep items to aid in rehydration if someone is dehydrated, such as a powdered electrolyte drink mix.

Make sure to keep things handy and to be ready for any type of danger encountered such as a snakebite kit, or emergency ice packs.

Food Safety

When you are going on a trip, food is always a good thing. Keeping it away from animals as well as safe for you are the two most important things to look at when going on a trip. Perishable items are never a good idea on any backpacking trip. This is because of the inability to keep them at the optimum temperature to preserve food quality.

When preparing food on a trip be sure to follow instructions and to use proper sanitation in order to limit the possibility of illness from poor preparation or cleanliness. The last thing that anyone wants is to be sick because someone did not clean the dishes properly. Wash, rinse and sanitize to ensure the safest practices. This goes for dishes and people as well.

Know the best food storage practices of the camp or area you are in. It could be hanging your food in a tree to avoid bears, or using provided lock boxes. Either way, you want o keep yourself and the animals safe by not allowing the food to fall into the wrong hands.

Know the Trek

Make yourself familiar with where you are going. Know what type of terrain you will encounter as well as the environment you will be in. These factors will go a long way in clothing, food and time decisions for your trip. These will also put you in better shape when it comes to being safe for your trip.

As always, be ready for anything and have a good idea of what you will encounter before heading out.

The Backpacking Experience

If you have not tried backpacking yet, then it is about time you give this travel approach a shot. You may be apt to prioritize your convenience every time you go abroad or visit a domestic tourist hotspot but to avid travellers, comfort travel is hardly enjoyable. How can you see the sights and wonders of a place if you limit yourself to your hotel room, the swimming pool or to a nearby posh restaurant? How can you feel the local culture if you do not venture out into less modernized areas to get a taste and feel of the past or interact with natives to understand their way of life?

In a nutshell, backpacking is the art of budget travelling. It is basically travel sans the comfort and luxury most travellers prefer. There are many benefits to being a backpacker including a significantly lower travel investment and a chance to enjoy a more personal experience of the country’s historical spots, culture and people. In fact, you realize you gain more by actually spending less.

How many of us here have secretly hoped to travel far and wide, but unfortunately do not have enough financial backing to pursue such a lifestyle? Travelling can be costly on the surface. Money will always be a consideration. However, if you are a keen backpacker, you know for a fact that there is more to travelling than just draining all your savings to fund your wanderlust.

Here are the top three benefits of being a backpacker:

1. The Joy of Learning

If there is anything that backpacking can guarantee, it is that you will learn something from start to finish. Trekking parts of the world you have never been to before, you get to see, feel and immerse in stuff you could not find or experience in the corners of your home. Besides learning about the places you have travelled to, you also learn more about yourself – what types of food you like, whether you are good at reading maps or how well you can overcome language barriers (particularly in places that hardly speak English). Regardless of what you discover along the way, this approach to travelling can make any trip worth it.

2. The Development of Inner Strength

The thing about backpacking is that you don’t only learn more about yourself, but you also understand every discomfort, every little burst of triumph and every person you meet, which can also lead you to a better understanding of who you are and life in general. Because you have to rely on yourself every step of the way (even if you travel with a backpacker group), you develop a sharper survival instinct. No backpacker will ever want to fall apart while in the midst of a journey. You need to be a tough cookie if you want a real adventure.

3. Authentic Cultural Experience

What better way to experience a country’s culture than through backpacking. Many people post pictures of having dinner in a luxury restaurant or swimming in a hotel pool abroad. While they may look elegant and sophisticated, there is not a hint of culture and history in those common urban activities. Restaurants may serve delicious local dishes, but we know for a fact that much of the taste has been “edited” for commercial purposes. If you want to have a first-hand experience of native culture, then do not be afraid to buy food from the street stalls or ordinary stores (take note of hygiene, however).

Rather than go straight to souvenir shops where prices are doubled, you may want to visit workshops or museums instead. Do not limit yourself to hotels and restaurants. Historical sites and natural spots should top your backpacking list.

4. Free Exercise

One of the perks of being a backpacker is that you do not stand still. There is hardly a dull moment because you are always on the move. Yes, it can be tiring if you are not used to it. Once you get the hang of things, though, you will realize that backpacking actually helps increase your physical stamina and endurance – enjoyable budget travelling with all the perks of exercise.