|While you are resupplying (or enjoying a treat) it's important to safeguard your gear|
Having hiked over 4,000 miles along the Appalachian Trail and continuing to section hike to this day, I have found it necessary to make sure my gear and valuables are safeguarded. Each year there are reports of hikers' backpacks getting lifted. Would-be thieves have no issue making off with a pack that could house some nice treasures, like a good tent or that expensive sleeping bag. One hiker even had her belongings taken out of a tent last year as she was cooking dinner a half mile away at a shelter.
So what are my tips for safeguarding your gear and personal belongings?
- Never leave your gear unattended at camp. Always have it within your sight.
If you plan to tent in a shelter area, don't leave your tent alone with your gear and then go make your food at the shelter, especially if it is out of eyesight and near another trail. Be sure you can see your campsite from the shelter. If you can't then choose to cook in the vicinity of your campsite. Or cook first at the shelter then set up your campsite last.
I have been known to carry my backpack down to the water source to get water for the night (I always get water first before anything else when I arrive at camp for the night). Leave your gear to get water only if you know a buddy will watch it for you at the shelter site. I have also seen hikers leave backpacks at trail junctions to take in a view. I don't do that. I carry my backpack to the viewpoint. You are carrying it many miles anyway. You can carry it a half mile round trip to a view.
- Always keep your hiker wallet and cell phone on your person when you take off your backpack.
- Be careful with your gear at town stops and while in town.
Be careful also with your gear in open hostels. Most are safe, but still you are taking a chance if there is no way to "lock" up your gear at a hostel. Again, keep your valuables (money, cell phone) on your person at all times, even in a hostel.