First time backpacking treks into the backcountry are exciting, and full of new adventures and experiences. But, there are some challenges as well, so it’s best to take some advice from the Boy Scouts of America: Be prepared.

There are no services in the backcountry: When you’re backpacking in the backcountry, you are traveling entirely independently, and need to carry in everything you will need for your adventure. Take the time to carefully plan your supplies, and then consider the additional weight these supplies will add.

Nature is unpredictable: Weather in the backcountry is unpredictable, but this is part of the thrill and excitement of backpacking. It’s impossible to know exactly what weather you’ll encounter, so it’s best to plan for the obvious and expect the unexpected.

Respect the backcountry: Part of the joy of backpacking comes from absorbing the backcountry as it is, unspoiled and pristine. Soak up all of the beauty and marvel at the world around you, and then leave it exactly as you found it so others can have the same experience. Take only pictures leave only footprints.

Preparing for a Backpacking Trip in the Backcountry

Bring a Buddy: Having an experienced friend with you, on your first backpacking trek into the backcountry, can make the trip more enjoyable. And, if you do run into problems, there is someone to help.

Create an Itinerary: Easing into your new backpacking hobby is probably the best approach; it gives you an idea of what to expect and isn’t full of overwhelming new experiences. When starting out, choose a destination close to home, and plan for a shorter excursion.

Be Prepared: Try a few day hikes to condition yourself, to make sure your boots are broken in, and to become accustomed to the weight of your backpack. Blisters and back pain can ruin anyone’s day. Familiarize yourself with the terrain, check the weather forecast and always remember that conditions can change in an instant so bring the supplies you anticipate needing.

Acquire the Equipment: Do some research to make sure you’re getting the right equipment; ask an experienced backpacker, read information online, and ask salespeople for advice.

Few things match the thrill and incredible peacefulness that can be found on a backpacking trek through the backcountry. But, the experience can turn scary and even dangerous if proper preparation and planning isn’t done before the excursion. The most successful backpacking trips are the ones that are well organized.