7 Tips for a Perfect Backcountry 4th of July

Get the most out of America's most patriotic holiday with our pro tips.

1) Carry the Stars and Stripes

AFS-USA/ Flickr

Photo: AFS-USA/ Flickr

Wear your patriotic pride on your pack by carrying a mini-American flag on your hike.

2) Jump in a lake

Powder runs/ Flickr

Photo: Powderruns/ Flickr

Hot summer days have turned pool parties into an essential part of the holiday. But there’s no debate that a crisp alpine lake beats a neighborhood pool on any day. Check out our lake jumping tips.

3) Eat watermelon

Marsha/ Flickr

Photo: Harsha K R/ Flickr

No, not the 22-pound behemoth from the grocery store—a dehydrated one. Yes, they exist, and despite looking a little bit like raw meat, the leathery strips of dried watermelon are the perfect tasty trail snack for July 4th festivities.

4) Roast hot dogs

Barlit/ Flickr

Photo: Barit/ Flickr

If you're giving up your backyard BBQ on the 4th, you'd better have a good substitute lined up. Hot dogs (and veggie dogs) should do the trick. If campfires aren't allowed or appropriate at your site, roast ’em over your stove’s flame instead. Tip: Use a knife and a steady hand to whittle a sharp point on your roasting stick to make the cooking process easier.

5) Make your own light show

Anna Gonzalez/ Flickr

Photo: Anna Gonzalez/ Flickr

Although fireworks and sparklers are a big no-no in the backcountry, glow sticks can be just as fun. Test your photography skills and try some light painting by playing with your camera’s shutter speed.

6) Add some history to your campfire story

Tristan Schurr/ Flickr

Photo: Tristan Schmurr/ Flickr

Instead of a classic ghost story, spice it up by telling your kids the story of our country’s birth. Or read a spooky revolutionary war story. If you’re feeling extra patriotic, you can bring a copy of the Declaration of Independence along with you (it’s only about 3 pages) and read it aloud around the fire.

7) Appreciate public lands

Steven Bratman/ Flickr

Photo: Steven Bratman/ Flickr

Wherever you end up—a national park, a wilderness area, BLM land, a state preserve—take a moment to appreciate the beauty and untrammeled quality of our country's protected public lands, as well as the men and women who work tirelessly to keep them that way. After all, what could be more patriotic than that?