Backpacking New Year’s Resolutions

A New Year’s resolution is a chance to add beneficial habits or possibly remove harmful ones. This year, my resolutions will focus on backpacking, and will all be intertwined. In the year 2012, and well into the future, I would like to do three things.

First, I want to get out and enjoy more trips. With my new location in South Carolina this may involve even a bit more driving than I already had, but it is one of the reasons I spend so much time making my gear. If I can’t find time to go out and enjoy it myself, then I may as well pick something else to make.

Secondly, I want to enjoy camping more. This may sound odd considering the amount of backpacking I do, but the camping portion of my trips is the portion I enjoy the least. Camping out on a three day trip is merely a means to an end. That is, traveling longer distances in the backcountry is why I go out, not to camp. I feel most alive when traversing the backcountry during a long day of hiking, but feel a bit bored when I stop to camp come dark. This problem is multiplied during long winter nights and solo trips. And so, I plan to incorporate new pieces of gear and practices to better my camping experience, such as: making camp fires where allowed, bringing along the Kindle I received for Christmas, packing a comfortable inflatable pad or hammock for sleeping, and, most importantly, using my new dehydrator to ensure I eat very well.

Finally, I want to introduce new activities into my backcountry trips. Recent articles and postings at BPL and especially in other blogs have gotten me thinking about the purpose of ultralight backpacking. Originally, I saw UL as a way to travel faster and farther. However, over the last few months, I have begun to think that while this may be true, UL can have a much more profound calling in allowing you to also travel more pleasurably. I can still travel far and camp, but I can also incorporate other activities that would traditionally add weight to an already heavy pack. Along this note, I would like to begin Tenkara fishing, increase my wilderness photography, and do a lot more aimless wandering on side trails. These activities are meant to get me enjoying the wilderness, not just the trail. An end goal for this would be to purchase a packraft, but that will have to wait til I have more money and possibly move again to a new location in the fall.

The latter two resolutions absolutely have an impact on the first, but I think going into a trip with a positive state of mind, knowing I will try new things to enjoy the trip more, I will get  more out of it as well. As nearly every high school counselor will tell you, a positive attitude can make all the difference.



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