How to Leave No Trace & Backpack Responsibly

[Guest blog provided by Derek from dedwards.me]

Backpacking is a fun activity you can do alone, with a partner, or with a group. However, it’s important to be responsible when it comes to hiking through the wilderness. Showing respect for nature is a crucial part of preserving it for generations to come, and that respect comes in simple acts of principle.

“Leave no trace” is a principle that guides responsible outdoorsmen. It’s a set of outdoor ethics that, when followed properly, play an important role in the conservation of wildlife and natural ecosystems around the world.

For your next holiday, consider reconnecting with nature and taking a backpacking trip through the local trails, and follow these tips to leave no trace:

Walk Single File

It comes as no surprise that hiking is a favourite campsite activity, so if you’re traveling with a group, try your best not to disrupt the environment and travel single file through the trail. Planning ahead and knowing what kind of terrain you should be prepared for can also help minimize any damage or disruption to your surroundings.

Minimize Campfires

Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight backpacking stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light, when you can. If you need a fire, try to keep it small and use existing fire rings. Before you set off on your journey, you may also want to do a little research on the fire danger of the area you plan to backpack so you can be extra cautious, if needed. And finally, be sure you completely extinguish any campfires you make before leaving your campsite.

Reduce Trash and Dispose of Waste Properly

While it may seem obvious, it’s crucial to keep your waste to a minimum when backpacking through the wilderness and practice sustainable camping. The phrase “pack it in, pack it out” includes food containers or wrappers, toilet paper and hygiene products, and even biodegradable waste like orange peels. When it comes to human waste, make sure to dispose of it in a cathole far away from any water source.

Leave What You Find

Every plant, rock, animal, insect, and artifact plays a role in the surrounding ecosystem. While it’s encouraged to look and explore the area, please do not take or move anything you find on the trail.

Keep Your Distance from Wildlife

You may encounter some wildlife on your trip, such as birds, reptiles, deer, and other woodland creatures. As tempting as it can be, it’s important to keep your distance and disturb them as little as possible while backpacking. Do not try to attract or approach any animals you see during your hike, and please avoid feeding them any food that does not come from their natural habitat.

Backpacking is a wonderful way to connect with nature and appreciate the world around you, even in your own backyard. If you follow these tips to leave no trace, you’ll not only benefit yourself, you’ll preserve the environment so others can enjoy it as well.

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