Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on one’s back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often but not always an extended journey, and may or may not involve camping outdoors. In North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts found widely in Europe are rare. In New Zealand, tramping is an equivalent term though overnight huts are frequently used. Hill walking is the equivalent in Britain, though backpackers make use of all kinds of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa. Similar terms used in other countries are trekking and bushwalking. Backpacking as a method of travel is a different activity, which mainly utilizes public transport during a journey which can last month.ï»¿
Backpacking gear begins with a suitable backpack, proper both in size and fit. Next is clothing and footwear appropriate for expected conditions. Third is an adequate amount and type of food. Fourth is some form of sleep system (typically a sleeping bag and perhaps a foam pad). Fifth is some amount of survival gear, once again appropriate to the planned trip and skill-level of the backpacker. After that, everything is optional. A shelter appropriate to expected conditions is typically next. Practical items not already mentioned – cook kit, stove, container for water, a means of purifying it – are characteristically but not always taken in some form. (Depending on the trip ready-to-eat foods may suffice and suitable water be found along the way. More minimalist backpackers find ways to do with less, those willing to carry more do.) Weight is always critical. A rule of thumb suggests a fully loaded backpack should weigh no more than 25% of a person’s weight. Every single item is scrutinized, many removed the first time a pack is hefted. Lightweight gear is widely available, which may or may not sacrifice utility and durability but will always cost more. A wide variety utilizing carbon fiber, lightweight alloys, specialty plastics, and impregnated fabrics is available.