Planning for a backpacking trip
1) Lay out a map and think where you want to stop each night. Remember the capabilities and limitations of the hikers that you're going with. Knowing how far they can hike with a backpack will be helpful. Also consider where the hikers all live, and what the elevation is of the hiking locations, and of the homes of the hikers. Scale back the expected daily hiking range if they're flatlanders hiking on 10,000 feet elevation trails.
2) Either align the planned camping sites with water sources, or plan on how you will carry all the water you will need or determine where you will need to stop while hiking to go to the en route water source to top off your water stores.
3) Figure out how much food, water, batteries, and other variable resources that you'll need and determine how you'll split up the burden of carrying those group resources. Make sure that everybody is on board with the menu, too!
4) Check out your equipment, and make sure that you don't need to replace or repair any critical item when you're out on the trial away from resources for such an activity. If you do buy something new like a camp stove, then take it out of the packaging, and test it before you leave to make sure that it's working properly.
5) Go over the itenerary with all the participants, provide information files so they can put the files on their smartphones, so if something happens to any of the participants, then the group can go get help and find their way back. Also, get agreement on how far to hike each day.
6) Figure out transportation to and from the respective trailheads that are the terminal points of your backpacking trip. Normally these trips are one-way trips, so you will need to get to the starting point, and there needs to be transportation resources at the end as well.
7) Review the trail maps and other information about the trail. If it's a poorly maintained trail like one finds in many wilderness areas, it may be necessary to look on google maps and trace the trail from a gps track to make sure you get the correct GPS fixes to not lose your way, or if you do get off trail, so you can get back on the trail at the next fix or previous fix.
8) Check the weather forecast, make sure that everybody has the right kind of garments and gear to deal with the weather that's expected. If Rain is forecast, review whether there are lots of stream crossings, if the stream might flood. Review risks of flashfloods in the area, and take heed of that information.
9) Review the locations to see where there is likely to be or not be cell phone coverage. If there is a risk of emergency, then it may be worthwhile to have a irridium satellite text phone to get a message out in an emergency.
10) Review any wild animal risks or warnings in the area, and determine if it seems prudent to go backpacking in a different area then.
11) If possible have a backup plan. If things aren't working out, change the route to a less problematic route. Think it through, about if there was an emergency at any given point in the trip, what measures would be required to get the needed help in a timely manner.
Information Sharing in the wanderers' community
Last Update: May 4, 2015
Copyright 2015 all rights reserved