Backpacking is one of the most popular ways to travel and one that draws literary minds and romantics alike. Since the popularization of nomadic lifestyles by works like Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” backpacking has become a staple rite of passage with young people. People usually engage in backpacking because they want to find themselves or expand their horizons.
However, people can go backpacking trips for other reasons. One of the more popular options is survival backpacking. This activity, although not as strenuous as extreme sports, is more taxing than other forms of backpacking or hiking.
But what’s survival backpacking? Why would people go on such trips and what survival tools should you bring on such an adventure?
What’s Survival Backpacking?
Survival backpacking is an outdoor recreation activity where you try to hone or develop your survival skills. This usually means foraging or fishing for your own food, building a shelter and using other skills to last as long as possible.
When so many other forms of backpacking have been decreased, survival backpacking is becoming more popular because of how it enhances your talents.
A survival backpacking trip is not like camping or backpacking. Most backpackers tend to go through cities and towns to experience cultures. Survival backpackers are more akin to people who believe in doomsday prepping and your trip will most likely take you into deep wilderness or the great outdoors in an effort to ensure you have the skills needed to survive.
Why go on Survival Backpacking Trips?
Survival backpacking trips are very strenuous and can be dangerous for the ill-prepared. It’s not an activity for casual campers or those who are only used to going outdoors in recreational vehicles.
Why would you even want to lug a survival backpack through miles of wilderness?
Here are a few reasons people or you may want to go on a survival adventure.
Test Your Skills
The main point of a survival backpacking trip is to ensure your skills have not rusted and that you can still take care of yourself in case you find yourself in the wild. Of course, this is only an objective if you already have a lot of survival skills, such as those cultivated by expert outdoor enthusiasts or those who have been prepping extensively for such situations.
A good trip may take a few days to a few weeks, depending on how much you want to test the upper limits of your abilities.
Another great motivation for going on a backpacking trip through vast woods or rough mountain terrain is to avoid the distractions of urban environments. Unlike regular backpacking trips, which often take place traveling between cities, a survival backpacking trip lets you thoroughly take in the beauty of the outdoors.
With more focus on survival and nature, you will undoubtedly develop a new outlook on why forests, mountains and other areas are the pinnacle of beauty.
Learn about Survival
Finally, you can be going on such a trip because you want to learn more about how to survive in the wilderness. If you are a novice at survival backpacking, you should never attempt to do it alone.
First, you may not know what you should pack in your survival backpack. Second, you will need a guide or a mentor to help you develop the skills needed to last long outdoors. Their greater experience will not only teach you these abilities, but they will also help you avoid dangerous situations.
What Should You Bring When Survival Backpacking?
When you go on a survival backpacking adventure, you will need the right survival tools to ensure you don’t get into terrible situations. Bringing the right things with you is an essential survival skill on its own. Naturally, these items are meant to supplement your survival skills, not supplant them.
For example, although it’s appropriate to bring a tent or similar shelter, bringing matches or lighters defeats the purpose of a survival backpacking trip. If you must bring such things, they should only be used as a last resort or in case of an emergency.
Below are a few things that every backpack you must have stored in your pack.
Although some survival adventures often only include a single backpack full of gear, bring a pop-up tent or similar shelter. Building your own cover at night or to fend off the rain or snow is undoubtedly a valuable survival skill but when push comes to shove, a tent in your gear bag can help you stave away hypothermia or the cold.
Your backpack’s one of the most important survival tools in your arsenal. The back must be durable enough to withstand high or low temperatures and protect the contents from water.
A cheap backpack won’t last long in the wilderness.
Your pack must also be large enough to contain everything you need for the length of your stay. This means ample room for clothing, supplies and gear. And it must have plenty of straps and other features that help secure your pack for all the long hours it will spend while travelling.
You can’t just go on a survival backpacking trip wearing ordinary clothes. You need to carefully consider the type of environment you’ll be trying to survive in. Survival clothing can take many forms depending on environmental considerations.
For example, if you’re going on a trip to a rocky stretch of desert, bring sweat-wicking clothing for the morning and a sturdy jacket to keep the cold away at night. Wading boots are survival clothing if you are going somewhere that has a lot of waterways and sees a lot of rain.
There are a variety of tools you will need to bring with you, from a small spade to dig holes in the ground to a trusty survival axe. These tools can be important in keeping you alive and comfortable. The spade is not only useful for burying waste and digging up edible roots.
A survival axe can be useful in gathering firewood for cooking and warmth as well as building sturdy shelters against the weather. Other tools include plenty of rope, fishing line and a large piece of tarpaulin. Your survival tools should be suited to your environment, just like your clothes.
You may need immediate medical assistance out in the wilderness. Or, despite years of experience, you could end up lost while out on your survival backpacking trip. You’ll need some form of communication equipment to get in touch with emergency services.
Satellite phones, hand-powered radios are both popular options since they have long battery lives and don’t need signals to function. Be sure you know how to operate the device and to have redundant power supplies for them.
Survival backpacking is an intense and potentially dangerous activity but one that can be very helpful in honing your skills. If you want to test the limits of your abilities, going on such a trip with the right tools and gear is essential to keep you comfortable.