Ask a seasoned camper and they’ll tell you that backcountry camping is the thing that brings back a genuine smile to their face because nothing heals the soul better than to connect with nature.
It doesn’t matter if you spend the whole day hiking through the woods and follow it up with overnight camping, or spend an entire week in the backcountry enjoying the best that nature has to offer.
What makes backcountry camping so unique is the fact that it forces you to rely on your own devices and the company of those around you. It strips you down to the bare essentials, so that you have no choice but to travel light, live simply and laugh from the belly.
This also means that you’re at the mercy of nature a majority of the time and you have to stay strong no matter what the weather conditions are.
But, even with all the challenges, backcountry camping is similar to primitive camping and can be very rewarding, when done right. You get to breathe fresh air, walk barefoot on the crisp morning dew and savor incredible views that can make a grown man weep.
Backcountry Camping Definition
Backcountry camping is what outdoor enthusiasts do when they really want to connect with nature. It’s an opportunity to experience the wilderness as it was meant to be, with rugged forests and jungles and untouched landscapes that contain ancient trees and where wild animals thrive.
In order to survive a backcountry trip, you need a hatchet for camping and a very specific set of skills. You must prepare yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and materially for this trip of a lifetime, and you’ll need special survival skills that you probably wouldn’t have learned at school.
In this post, we’re going to show you some of our best tips on how to enjoy the best experience.
How to Prepare Yourself
Start by looking for a suitable area. This could be a national park that was recommended by a friend or family member, or it could be a popular spot on online wilderness forums, or better yet a place you’ve always wanted to go to but never got around to.
Once you’ve picked a place, get the right permits in place to ensure that you can enjoy an uninterrupted and worry-free, legal stay.
Find out what the best trails and areas of interest are, so you can plan your itinerary as much as possible. Your plan should include a starting point, areas that you plan to visit during the day, and the time at which you plan to return.
Leave this information with someone you trust like a sibling or close friend. That way, they can take action if you don’t get back on the predicted date and time. Also, make sure you have the right survival gear for your trip, and that it’s in mint working condition.
Why You Should Go Backcountry Camping?
At this point, you probably know what backcountry camping is and you’re just looking for a bit more validation to start packing your bags.
Without further ado, here are some of the top reasons to go on a backcountry camping trip:
1. You Will Discover New Places
You’ll get to experience nature first-hand, from glimmering lakes to vibrant forests. The vast ecosystem inherent in every forest, jungle, and glade is extraordinary, and you’ll be in awe at the diversity of plants and wildlife that you come across.
2. You Will Come Close to Wildlife
Not many people are into backcountry camping, so you’re more likely to bump into wild deer and squirrels instead of other humans. The feeling of seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat and at close range is edifying.
3. You Can Observe the Stars
Backcountry camping also means you’ll be able to gaze at the stars uninterrupted by light pollution. You’ll see the movement of stars and planets across the Milky Way, and you might even spot a shooting star or two. Look out for the official International Dark Sky Parks guide of places that offer a clear night sky.
4. There Are No Crowds
Backcountry camping allows you to enjoy peace and solitude, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Things You Should Take with You
There’s a lot of information available on backcountry travel and backpacking out there, from books to blogs and online forums. But, most of this information can be condensed into a few simple tips.
The basics you need to know include the stuff you need to take in order to travel, sleep and eat while you’re on the road.
- Food: What is backcountry camping without adequate food supply? For best results, make sure the majority of your provisions are foods that don’t require any preparation. This includes things like bananas, apples, cheese, salami, nuts, and seeds. Of course, we can’t forget GORP which is a popular hiker’s snack that consists of “Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts.” During the winter you’ll want to pack hot drinks like instant soup, tea, coffee, and cocoa, with your breakfast options being fried fruit, oatmeal or granola. Or you can even make your own coffee with the help of a camping coffee percolator.
- Cooking Device: Thanks to lightweight and portable camping stoves, your cooking options are not as limited as they once were. White gas stoves require you to travel with refillable metal bottles, while pressurized gas stoves use heavy-duty pressurized gas cans that can add to the overall weight. Another alternative would be to opt for an alcohol-powered stove. Before you pick a stove, be sure to ask the storekeeper what their options are. They should be knowledgeable enough to provide you with all the information you need to choose the perfect stove that you can use to cook inside a tent.
- Camping Tent: There are many shelter options at your disposal when camping. This includes tarps and tents. The most important thing is to purchase a form of shelter that’s suitable for the season and terrain that you plan to camp in. Quick setup tents might take up more space than a simple tarp but they’re more reliable. They’re warm and great at repelling insects. Tarps, on the other hand, are flexible and can be arranged in any number of shapes. Once you’ve purchased your shelter of choice, be sure to practice putting it up so you know what to do when you get to your destination.
- GPS Device: In addition to shelter and food, you need a way to navigate your surroundings. You should have at least two or more GPS devices at your disposal to help you find the correct trail. If you’re not well-versed in map reading or gauging directions, be sure to study a map and compass book or take an orienteering class. These skills will come in handy when your GPS device fails. You never know what could happen in the wilderness.
Backcountry camping is a venerable tradition of communing with nature, discovering the beauty of the wilderness and breathing in clean, fresh air.
Whether you’re hiking up a mountain, staring out at a clear night sky, swimming in cool lakes, basking in the sunlight or birdwatching, there’s so much to enjoy when camping in the wilderness.
Just make sure you’ve made the right preparations so you have ample food, comfortable shelter, and proper navigation during your trip.