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February 2001

Organize Your Backpacking Trip

Meet Jamie and Joe, who need help with everything from planning to packing to eating well. Enter our team of experts, with a few simple tricks designed to turn them-and you!-into well-oiled backpacking machines.

They’re experienced backpackers with a grim secret: Their friends won’t hike with them anymore. It’s not because Jamie and Joe snore or stink or stick grubby fingers in the communal peanut butter jar. Our couple is guilty of a far greater sin, and that’s poor planning. Jamie and Joe choke down bad meals by the dim light of a fading headlamp miles from campsites they never had a chance of reaching. They spend hours looking for lost gear and trying to get their bearings. They run out of fuel. They’ve even been known to forget the group TP.

But before you write off Jamie and Joe as backcountry boneheads, consider how many late nights you’ve spent pulling together a last-minute trip, then gotten to camp the next day and realized you’d forgotten something. Between work, family obligations, and other responsibilities, it’s easy to do. Just as easy is abandoning a trip altogether because “it’s too much trouble.”

You don’t have to, though, and here’s where Jamie and Joe can help you. With expert assistance from packing and planning professionals, we identified four key areas of improvement for our befuddled pair, then devised strategies to correct their bad habits. Jamie and Joe (they willingly volunteered, by the way) took the advice to heart, made simple changes, and turned themselves into backpacking dynamos. The moral is simple: If these guys can improve, you can, too.

Here are the four key areas our experts identified:

arrowDilemma 1:
Finding The Time
arrowDilemma 2:
Planning A Trip
arrowDilemma 3:
Getting Into Gear
arrowDilemma 4
Eating Well

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