Six Backpacking Lessons you can apply everyday – part 2

Posted: February 29, 2012 by None Smith in English
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Every once in a while I find myself in an urban environment and I have the sense that I’m just as alone or without a safety net as if I were miles away from civilization in the back country. While out in the wild, you begin to hone in on some skills that come naturally, and some that you have to work for. It is these skills that can help you change the tides in your favor in while out in the wilderness. Likewise, they can turn a potentially bad day in the city to a good one.

Previously, I talked about the need to really watch where you going and also the need to pay close attention to the weather.

Here are the next two points I learned from backpacking that have helped me in everyday matters.

Proper Footwear

You’re about to embark on an 18 mile, round trip day hike through rocky terrain. Or you have a meeting downtown which requires you to walk 8 blocks through a poorly maintained part of town. What your day entails changes what footwear is best.

For those of us who don’t have to go very far, or are in public transportation or our cars most of the time don’t have to worry too much about footwear. But when you have that lunch across town and need to walk a distance – are your leather shoes really a good fit? Sure, you’ll get there in one piece, but will they? Or will you be comfortable? Switching into a pair of sneakers can change your whole day.

When out in the wilderness, terrain can change drastically and footwear is of the utmost importance. On loose rock, you’ll want ankle support. On flat, well-kept trails, your trail runners or minimalist shoes will probably be fine. In urban settings, we usually see people change their shoes during the winter months when they commute with boots and then slip something more comfortable on when they get to work. Do you pay attention to your shoes or do you just wear whatever is in front of you? Test it out! If you haven’t commuted in sneakers before, try it and see how you feel.

Be Prepared for….

Everything! And no, I don’t mean carry a gun everyday because who knows when the zombie apocalypse will happen. But be prepared for as much as you can. For everyday in an urban setting, knowing basic things like what subway stations, trains or roads might be closed can make an easier transit. Out on the trails, know what “bail trails” you have available. A Bail Trail is the term for any possible “outs” you would use in case the situation got really bad. On my recent trek through Devil’s Path we found out we were over our heads with a lack of gear and used a “bail trail” to get out of a potentially bad situation early.

Preparedness is a huge topic. This section could be expanded into a book all on its own. Instead, I’ll keep it simple. If you’re not sure if you need your rain jacket or not – take it. Can’t decide whether to bring that extra pair of gloves or not? Pack ’em. This needs to be done within reason (no one should bring a kitchen sink on a backpacking trip or to work), but being aware of what you might or might not need can change a soggy, unhappy day to a pleasant one. I’ll use a quote an Uncle of mine once said: “It’s better to have it and not use it than to not have it and need it.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s