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Backpacking Skills Checklist

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 4

The first thing we think about when we plan to go on a backpacking or a hiking trip is a checklist. This list of equipment and gears help us survive the wilderness and whatever difficulties we may encounter. Although having the most advanced items and fire starters is a good thing, but what you really need is a list of helpful and useful skills that will help you use these items to the fullest and would make your trip safer and totally enjoyable.

Here is an example for some of the skills you should put on your list prior to making the backpacking checklist:


Skill to Navigate

 You probably think having a compass, a detailed map of the area or even the latest model of a very high-tech GPS would be enough for you to navigate during your hiking trip, but you can’t be more wrong. Those things will not help you navigate at all unless you learn how to use them, you can start by practicing to navigate using them in a place close to home before you go on your backpacking trip.

How to cook over a small fire

Boiling water over a small fire is not as easy as it seems even if you have the latest fire starters in your backpacking checklist.  it’s still very hard, because you still have to learn how to cover it, how to manage a technique to block the wind from getting to the fire and finally how to maintain the concentration of the fire. This can be done by simple practice, time yourself, don’t take too long but don’t rush yourself either.

Cooking Over a Small Fire

Tricks on How to Stay Warm

Use wind-blocking clothes, use several layers so you don’t sweat to chill and always wear a hat or a bandana over your head. And the last trick is to eat food that contains a lot of fats before you sleep, this will keep you warm during the night when you most need it.

Recognize Edible Plants

Recognizing edible plants in the woods during hiking. You have to learn at least how to recognize three to five wild edible plants or berries; this will make your backpacking trip more fun and more enjoyable. Because you may never know if you are going to lose your food to a wildlife animal.

Pitching a Tent

Making a proper tent, this one is very important during your hiking trip, because if you don’t pitch your tent carefully, rain will start pouring in, and you don’t want that. What you should do is practice on how to make your own tent in the back yard before you go backpacking.

Pitching a Tent

Basic First Aid

Basic first aid knowledge, for example knowing what is hypothermia, how to cure it. Blisters and how to treat them in the right way such as duck taping them, those and a couple of basic first aid knowledge will defiantly be useful while hiking.

Understanding Animals

How to manage encounters with dangerous animals, such as bears. Learn whether the bear wants to attack you or scare you off, if he is stalking you, then playing dead will not do you any good. That’s why you need to learn the difference so you don’t end up in the bear’s belly. This is a very important skill to learn to make your backpacking trip safer.


Learn how to make a fire. Best way to learn is to begin with only one match, and the next step is to learn when it’s raining, because it’s much more difficult to start a fire while it’s raining. This is the most important skill that is used during emergencies.

Learn How to Read the Sky

Learn how to read the sky, so you can predict the weather. So you can see and predict a storm, rain and thunderstorms. So you have to study the weather in the area you are going to go hiking in. this will make your backpacking trip safer.

Those skills on your skill backpacking checklist is even more important than the usual backpacking checklist which is filled with items and tools. So start learning new skills and check them off your skill checklist before you go on a hiking or a backpacking trip.



Jan 11, 2012 9:59am
I doubt if I'd try this but should I do so, your tips made them sound easier than how they seemed to be.
Jan 11, 2012 12:42pm
Make sure you have got water or access to water - biggest problem is running out of a water source! Great article.
Jan 15, 2012 6:42pm
Interesting article, love the idea about finding out what plants to/not to eat. Will give that a go next time i head out!
Jan 18, 2012 6:12am
Great advice, especially for someone who is new to backpacking.
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