"Adequate trip planning and preparation helps backcountry travelers accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably, while simultaneously minimizing damage to the land.
Poor planning often results in miserable campers and damage to natural and cultural resources. Rangers often tell stories of campers they have encountered who, because of poor planning and unexpected conditions, degrade backcountry resources and put themselves at risk.
WHY IS TRIP PLANNING IMPORTANT?
You may want to create additional answers for this list:
- It helps ensure the safety of groups and individuals.
- It prepares you to Leave No Trace and minimizes resource damage.
- It contributes to accomplishing trip goals safely and enjoyably.
- It increases self-confidence and opportunities for learning more about nature.
SEVEN ELEMENTS TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING A TRIP
- Identify the goals (expectations) of your trip.
- Identify the skill and ability of trip participants.
- Select destinations that match your goals, skills, and abilities.
- Gain knowledge of the area you plan to visit from land managers, maps, literature and online resources.
- Choose equipment and clothing for comfort, safety, and Leave No Trace qualities.
- Plan trip activities to match your goals, skills, and abilities.
- Evaluate your trip upon return note changes you will make next time.
- Regulations/restrictions (permits, camping areas, fires)
- Private land boundaries
- Average hiking speed of group and anticipated food consumption
- Group size (does it meet regulations, trip purpose and Leave No Trace criteria?)
- Water availability
Benefits of Good Meal Planning:
- Reduced trash.
- Reduced pack weight, resulting in faster hiking times and less fatigue.
- Reduced dependence upon campfires for cooking.
- One-Pot Meals and Food Repackaging
Planning for one-pot meals and light weight snacks requires a minimum of packing and preparation time, lightens loads and decreases garbage. One-pot meals require minimal cooking utensils and eliminate the need for a campfire. Two backpack stoves can be used to cook all meals for large groups if you have two large pots (one large pot can be balanced on two stoves when quick heating is desired). Don't rely on campfire cooking (and please, do not make aluminum foil HOBO meals. I have seen too much foil left in campfire rings). Most food should be removed from its commercial packing and placed in sealable bags before packing your backpacks. Sealable bags (like ziploc bags) secure food and reduce bulk and garbage. Empty bags can be placed inside each other and packed out. This method can reduce the amount of garbage you must pack out at the end of the trip and eliminate the undesirable need of burying unwanted trash or burning it in a campfire (NEVER burn your trash!)"
Other things to consider. It's important to know before you go. Know where you are going. Know your physical limits, especially as you are carrying a backpack over uneven terrain. Bring maps, compass, guidebooks of the area you plan to hike. There are map apps for your phone. In some areas it's good to have a GPS device. Familiarize yourself with the area. Bring a cell phone for emergencies. Know first aid and what to do in an emergency, for unplanned weather, or if you are injured. Bring adequate clothing and equipment like a good tent (don't rely on trail shelters) and water purification. Always pack an extra day of food in case you must stay for an extra day because of bad weather. Don't rely on fires to keep you warm but have a good sleeping bag and warm weather clothing like merino wool underwear, an insulated jacket, a hat, and rain gear. Be sure to keep your sleeping bag and clothing dry at all costs.
Don't let poor planning and preparation ruin your dream.