Every hiker’s worst nightmare is being stranded cold and alone in the depth of the woods. Few people know how they’ll react or survive in such extreme conditions. By following a few tips and tricks, you can ensure that you are prepared with the essentials for combating the cold.
1. Building a Shelter
Constructing a shelter is the first way to get out of the cold and reduce your exposure. The most common type of shelter for this circumstance is the lean-to. Constructing a basic lean-to with branches and shrubbery will protect from wind, rain and snow. In order to insulate and keep generated heat inside the lean-to, be sure to pack snow around the exposed areas. This will create a shelter that will protect from most of the elements you’ll experience in the cold. Another great tool for shelter is the use of a fallen tree as cover. This requires expending less energy in gathering resources, but does require energy to dig a hole out from under the fallen tree.
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The whole point of backpacking is to allow travelers to see and experience more of a place, while keeping costs down to a bare minimum. It’s more than just an alternative mode of travel; it’s a lifestyle.
But while some people can readily adapt to backpack travel, others may find the whole low cost thing a bit discomforting. They would often spend way more money than what is necessary, thus throwing the real essence of backpacking out the window.
Going on a budget trip does not mean putting up with shady hotel rooms and crappy meals. For the backpackers out there who have trouble sticking to their travel budget, the tips below should make your every penny count for that dream trip.
Invest in a High Quality Backpack
Nothing is worse than owning a bad backpack: your belongings could easily get drenched in a thunderstorm, your clothes could spill out at the most inopportune moments or you could get sore from having ill-fitted straps digging into your shoulders all day.
When it comes to backpacks, bigger does not always mean better. Make sure what you choose is proportional to your size; the thing here is that the weight should be balanced evenly on your back so that you won’t experience backaches when you lug your backpack around for the duration of your trips. Most sports/camping supply stores will allow you to try on their backpacks with weights so you can see if it’s a comfortable fit for you before purchasing.
A good backpack is one that can withstand the rough-and-tumble of backpacking trips. It should be water-resistant, multi-compartmented, have a sturdy internal frame and padded shoulder straps. But don’t go for those that are priced over $250 – these are unnecessarily expensive. There are decent backpacks that will only cost you anywhere from $100 to $200.
This is a no-brainer. The rule of supply and demand is always at work when it comes to airfare and transportation costs. The summer season can be a great time to travel, but it’s also the most expensive compared to other seasons throughout the year. If you must travel during a lean season, book flights early to save yourself from the skyrocketing prices later on. Also, you might want to travel during weekdays, when flights are priced cheaper.
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The Appalachian Trail, also known as the A.T., runs approximately 2,200 miles, from Georgia’s Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Managed by the National Park Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, this trail meanders through wilderness, across rivers and through some towns. The greatest challenge associated with the A.T. is the “thru-hike,” or an attempt to hike the whole way during just one season. If you are looking for an adventure that will let you see a great deal of the beauty of America, and you have a period of months to dedicate, then check out these tips about making it all the way from northern New England to the Old South.
There are some people who ship packages to themselves containing supplies, picking them up at small post offices along the way. However, the A.T. gives you access to quite a few towns with stores as you go, so you don’t need to worry about figuring out mailings. This way you can shop as you go, for most of the route. The only places where you might think about shipping packages is to the post office in Fontana Village, North Carolina (which also offers a place to stay and do your laundry), and to the Kincora Hostel, in Dennis Cove, Tennessee.
You’ll find almost 300 shelters along the trail, but they can get loud and crowded; the most seasoned thru-hikers recommend putting up tents instead. They are good places to stop and get the news about conditions up the trail, mooch some provisions from the short-term hikers, who are usually glad to dump the weight, and check out the shelter’s log to read the adventures of others.
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