The Essential Travel Hacks for Rational Backpacking
Those tourists who prefer camping and hiking know that the smart backpacking of bags is very essential. That is why if you have never experienced these activities on your own, you may need the expert backpacking guide. Without the expert tips, even the best hiking backpack can turn to be useful. To stay healthy and fit during your journey, you are to understand what is an essential backpacking list and what things or medications you really need to take along on your camping or hiking trip.
The first-aid essentials for backpackers
The experts from WebMD and Mayo Clinic recommend every backpacker to think about his or her health first when checking the list of the essential things for a backpack. Consider taking such medications and tools in your survival kit for your camping or hiking journey. They won’t take much space in your bag, but can make your backpack travel much easier in the case of a medical emergency:
- Your prescription medications that you can’t skip taking during your trip;
- Precut or “cut-your-own” sheets of moleskin, preferably of various sizes;
- Any preferred anti-inflammatory analgesic like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc. Any over-the-counter medication from this group will do. Keep the pills dry in a small Ziploc with a drug’s title written on it. This is the cheapest waterproof option available in many sizes;
- Anti-diarrhea and anti-constipation medications (depending on your stomach’s sensitivity) – like antacids or laxatives. For example, Loperamide (Imodium) can help with diarrhea;
- Eye drops (like artificial tears) for reducing the irritation and dryness of the eyes. The wearers of contact lenses have to pack another small bottle with saline solution for lubricating your eyes;
- Band-Aids of different sizes. Consider backpacking minimum 3 adhesive bandages from each variety pack. Opt for butterfly bandages as well – they can be good for holding the edges of the deep cut. For larger cuts, try using several butterflies;
- Sterile gauze – all “good” backpacks have to take a few 2″x 2″ sheets of gauze. They can be a relief for lacerations that can’t be covered with for Band-Aids. Keep them sterile in ziplock bags;
- Antiseptic wipes. Opt for unscented iodine or alcohol wipes, they may also work for lacerations and cuts;
- Electrolyte pills like Emergen-C. These “wonder” pills can replace the lost minerals due to the excessive sweating or fever;
- Many backpackers also recommend taking an antibiotic cream like Neosporin. However, these creams may turn to be ineffective in the wildlife or even trigger dermatitis. Instead, try using petroleum jelly for treating the infected wounds. At first, you need to clean the wound with biodegradable soap and water, use petroleum jelly and then protect with a bandage.
Also, you will probably need a few medical and camping tools for making your backpacking trips more comfortable and safe. The specialists from WebMD claim that backpackers need to use such tools:
- A 3’ duct tape – you may roll it on the reusable water bottle or trekking poles;
- Tweezers – can be helpful in removing ticks and splinters;
- 2 large safety pins – for holding your gear, securing bandages, etc;
- A large needle with thread – you can keep one in a match box;
- 1 pair of medical gloves. Opt for non-latex or nitrile surgical barrier gloves for the sanitary option;
- If you are going to travel with a backpack through Europe or America, particularly, in the rainy locations, consider taking waterproof matches and a fire starter;
- Emergency blanket (the expert recommend taking an aluminum style reflective blanket to save yourself from cold or wet weather that may trigger hypothermia). Such blanket can save up to 80% of your radiated body heat or may simply serve as a ground cover under the tent. Some backpackers apply it as an additional insulator under your sleeping bag;
- If you travel in environmentally-challenged regions, you may need a few water purification tablets. Alternatively, you may use chlorine drops or iodine tablets;
- Even if you have a multi-purpose knife, backpack a single-edge razor blade, just in case;
- Small fingernail clippers, because you can easily break your nails during a trip.
Other optional tools and drugs that can be helpful in your trip
However, if you feel that the mentioned essentials are not enough, consider taking a few optional tools and medications that may be actually helpful. If you own a bag made by one of the best backpack brands, then it is spacious enough to pack all these meds:
- Antihistamines, particularly if you suffer from sleep problems or allergies (like Benadryl);
- Epi-pen – for severe allergies that may worsen in the wildlife;
- Hydrocortisone cream in a travel size tube for reducing the swelling and itching. These symptoms can be triggered by insect bites and stings;
- Antibiotic ointment for applying to clear wounds;
- Antihemorrhagic remedy (Quikclot or cornstarch for stopping the bleeding);
- Lip Balm with sunscreen to prevent chapped and painful lips;
- Any insect repellent;
- Multivitamins to prevent any nutritional deficit;
- A specific Snake Bite Kit – that you can buy at any drugstore;
- Activated charcoal – for absorbing the poisons.
With all these tools in your medical survival kit, you can fulfill your dream of traveling with backpacking around the world. Any moderate health issues won’t be a problem for you thanks to these medical essentials.
The ultralight backpacking tips for beginners
Most experienced backpackers understand that it is essential to learn how to backpack in an ultralight way, and at the same time to have all necessary tools and products for eating, sleeping, and the emergency treatment. Consider using the ultralight backpacking tips given by the experienced hikers and camping enthusiasts from Backpacking.net:
- If you can’t buy one of those fancy best backpacks with a lot of compartments and space within, consider refusing from a portable stove, especially in summer when you can start a fire. You may also eat “cold” if your trip lasts no longer than a weekend. The most nutritious “cold” foods for campers and hikers are summer sausages, hard cheese, oatmeal, packed sandwiches, etc.;
- If you can’t live without a portable “kitchen”, then opt for a minimalistic backpacking stove that like MSR’s Pocket Rocket or anything similar;
- Pack some “sleep” clothes, and one spare outfit, preferably warm, especially if you travel during early spring or late autumn. For summer camping trips, don’t forget to wear bikini or swimming boxers (yes, you can wear it instead of the underwear);
- Take 2 pairs of cotton or wool socks, preferably made of the natural materials to prevent blisters;
- Use a superglue, you never know when it can become handy.
Commonly, the locations and weather conditions have to be taken into account when you backpack. If you are planning to hike or camping in an exposed, sunny area, don’t forget a powerful sunscreen lotion, wide-brim hat, and sunglasses. The backpackers traveling in snowy or cold regions need to pack warm gloves, a hat covering the ears, and an extra pair or wool socks. Those hikers who can encounter bears need to wear a pepper spray and whistle. Also, if you travel alone, don’t forget to tell your family and friends where you are going to travel and call whenever you can to prevent their worries. Make sure to speed dial an emergency medical phone contact into your cell phone.