Friday, November 6, 2015

Lighter pack a great reason to day hike

Consider traveling light by opting to instead day hike.
Many day hikers – especially former backpackers – tend to believe they should pack more the farther away the trail is from civilization and the longer the distance they plan to traverse. There is some logic to this, primarily safety considerations if one gets lost on a trail.

Among the reasons to day hike, however, is to avoid a heavy backpack. If you’ve properly prepared for a hike by examining a trail map before setting out and then checking your location against that map and a compass as walking, the odds are low against getting lost on a day hike.

Indeed, day hiking with its lighter pack offer many benefits over backcountry hikes with the heavier load:
Increased comfort – A day hike means there’s no need for camping and cooking gear and lower amounts of potentially heavy items, such as food and water. The lighter the backpack, the less digging into the shoulders. Less exertion is needed with every step.
Better for the body – A lighter pack results in less wear and tear on joints and muscles and helps prevent aggravation of old injuries.
Cover more ground – Lighter packs allow you to go farther per hour and across more difficult terrain with greater ease than if you were lugging about a heavy backpack with overnight gear.
Helps the environment – The lighter your backpack, the less weight each footfall will have on the trail, preventing damage the boot might do to sensitive ground. This is particularly true when in the desert, when on muddy ground, and when crossing scree.

The upshot: If looking to loosen your load, consider going on a day hike.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.