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Time outdoors is a precious commodity. Outdoor enthusiasts long for their next adventure. However, are we making the most of our limited free time? One way to ensure the maximum enjoyment of each backcountry experience is to use quality gear.
Before purchasing hiking and backpacking equipment, spend a little time researching the pros and cons of the items. Look at not only cost but other items as well. For example, read item reviews and talk to others before purchasing.
Also, consider how much each item weighs. What is the R-Value and comfort rating of sleeping gear? Is the tent large enough? Then, you are able to acquire quality hiking and backpacking gear before setting out on your adventures.
Here are 5 ways to get the most out of your backpacking gear – and your backcountry experience.
1. Purchase the Best Hiking and Backcountry Gear
Purchase the best gear your budget can afford. You do not need it to be the most expensive. It just needs to be the best quality for the price. You can always upgrade later.
Why would you consider upgrading your equipment – because technological improvements constantly take place. For example, two-person backpacking tents now weigh less than three pounds whereas they weighed five pounds twenty years ago.
It’s not unheard of to spend a year or more planning a great backpacking adventure. There are frequent trips to the gym to get in shape for hiking by conditioning muscle groups required. And that doesn’t even touch on the costs and vacation time needed for outdoor adventures.
So why would you buy inferior equipment that is sure to spoil your trip? A good backpack, quality sleep system, and proper footwear will make all the difference in the world.
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This applies to all of your backcountry gear. Whether it is your GPS unit, rain gear, or backpacking stove. Be sure to carry good equipment in order to get the most out of your outdoor adventures. As the Geez likes to say – Don’t buy cheap! Buy quality!
2. Learn How to Use Your Backpacking Gear
Learn how to use all of your gear correctly and practice using it. For instance, when you are completely lost and your GPS battery dies, that is not the time to learn how to navigate with a compass and map.
In addition, when both you and your firewood are wet, that is not the time to learn how to start a fire with the fire starter you’ve been carrying for 5 years in your pack.
Take time to learn all of the features of your gear. For example, you might be surprised to learn just how useful your GPS really is when you understand how to use the backtrack feature.
The older you get the more your shoulders, back, and hips groan under the weight of a backpack. Old geezers like me constantly look for ways to reduce the weight in my backpack.
Learn proper weight distribution techniques for your backpack. Take time to learn – practice around your home before you venture into the backcountry.
Go on a shakeout backpack day hike to find out what you still don’t know. That is a great opportunity to lighten your load by finding out what you are carrying that you really don’t need.
3. Backcountry Gear is Not Just for Hiking
Keep your gear with you and use it as much as possible. Your backpacking gear isn’t just for the backcountry. It has unlimited uses in everyday life.
Most importantly, never go on a road trip without your pack. You’ll almost always find an opportunity to use it. For instance, your binoculars or GPS unit might come in handy. The Geez keeps this great hiking accessory not only in his pack but one in the car too!
Although you may not be venturing out in the backcountry, your pack can still be handy when traveling. Extra food, water, and a coat can be carried on day hikes. If you don’t have your gear with you, you will invariably need it – it never fails.
4. Keep Your Gear in Great Shape
Take great care of your gear. Hopefully, you’ve learned this from your childhood and not necessarily from experience. Your gear will only take good care of you if you take good care of it.
Conversely, your backpacking gear will let you down if you don’t take good care of it. That’s a bad situation to be in. Inspect everything before you embark on your adventure. Clean and properly store all of your gear upon your return. Replace expendable items.
Have you checked your gear’s straps, fuel, waterproofing, batteries, and overall condition lately? Taking good care of your equipment is an important part of enjoying your backcountry trips.
5. Donate Your Old Hiking and Backcountry Gear
When you’re done with older equipment consider donating it. You might also donate some of your time – for instance to a local scout troop. They are always looking for assistance from outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll feel great getting this last ounce of benefit from your old trusty backpacking gear!
As an alternative, consider loaning out your old backpacking gear to beginners. Most backpackers have two and three of everything because of upgrading their equipment. Give a newbie the opportunity to experience the great outdoors for themselves to see if they even like backpacking.
The easiest way to ensure maximum outdoor enjoyment is to get the most possible value from your gear. Let these 5 ways guide you in getting the most out of your backpacking gear – and your backcountry experience.
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