When planning a backpacking trip, there’s a tendency to assume that you’ll be fitter and healthier than ever, with all the walking, etc. you’ll be doing. This is certainly true in some cases. However, when your routine is interrupted and uncertain and it’s difficult to plan your meals ahead, the opposite sometimes happens.
Whether you’re planning a quick getaway, a fun-packed gap year, or something longer-term, it pays to prioritize your health.
If this is your first backpacking trip and you’re a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ sort of person, you’ll need to tame this a little. Backpacking takes some planning to make sure you have the right gear. You can find a useful checklist by clicking here. Having the right clothing and equipment can be the difference between a fun, easygoing vacation and the misery of aches, pains, and finding yourself in some precarious situations.
It’s important to pack light to reduce the pressure on your neck, the small of your back, and your hips, legs, and feet. You may feel like you need to take some extra items right now, but when you have to carry them night and day, you’ll regret that decision.
2. Your Feet
Wherever you’re traveling, your feet will take the brunt of the experience. Therefore, it’s important to find the right boots that will be suitable for various terrains. During your trip, you’ll likely be walking up hills, on flat ground, on grass, in wet conditions, etc.
A good grip is of paramount importance to ensure you remain upright. Waterproofing is also important to ensure your feet remain dry. However, allowing them to breathe must also be considered, so tailor your choice to your location. Adequate ankle support should also be considered.
When buying new boots, opt for a pair designed for backpacking. Make sure they fit correctly. If they feel wrong, don’t buy them. And make sure you break them in before leaving. Wear them around the house and out and about. Blisters are not fun on a hiking holiday.
3. Eating and Drinking
You’re on vacation! So, the temptation is to throw caution to the wind and partake in the local delicacies and alcoholic beverages. This is fine, of course, but don’t overdo it. A raging hangover is not the hallmark of the backpacking lifestyle. And if you intend to hike for an extended period, you’ll soon begin to notice that your fitness and health are slipping.
Try to eat a varied diet to take in a range of vitamins and minerals, and don’t forget fruit and vegetables. Alternate between indulgent treats and healthier choices.
It’s easy to become dehydrated without even noticing and this will make you feel dreadful. So make sure you get enough fluids into your system, especially if you’re drinking alcohol.
Overall, walk as much as you can but take time for rest and relaxation too. Your body needs time to recover, especially if it isn’t used to all this activity.
The key to a healthy backpacking adventure is balance. It’s not about restrictions; it’s about moderation. Plan your equipment carefully and go easy on the booze. Taking a few practical precautions will ensure you get the most of your trip and have fun.
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