Etiquette When On Backpacking Trips

If you're new to hiking and backpacking, you might not be aware that just as when you're back at home, there are certain rules of etiquette that should be followed. Proper etiquette on your backpacking trips will help you to earn the goodwill of fellow backpackers, and many of these rules are nothing more complicated than common-sense guidelines for typical activities on backpacking trips.

Etiquette While Hiking

Of course, backpacking trips typically involve a lot of hiking on trails, and occasionally off them. When on the trail, basic etiquette for backpacking trips suggests that you and your companions should stay close to the center of the trail whenever possible. The reason for this is to avoid eroding the wildlife at the edge of a trail; if you've ever seen a grassy area where people often cut across along a particular path, it's the bare spots that inevitably show that you are trying to avoid making.

Etiquette When Resting

Just as you want to limit the impact your activities on the trail have, creating low-impact campsites complete the most important rule on backpacking trips. Try to use already-established campsites when stopping overnight, and do your best to eliminate what evidence you can of your camping in the morning. This allows the majority of nature along trails to remain unspoiled.

Part of keeping your campsite low-impact is proper management of the campfire. If you make a ring of stones for your fire, be sure to return the stones to where they were after you're done. Also, try to keep your ashes from being seen; spread them around once the fire's out and the embers cooled. Just as with campsites, it's best to start a fire where there's been evidence of a fire already.

When Meeting Other Backpackers

When you pass others hikers on your backpacking trips, proper etiquette is to at least greet them with a nod, wave or hello. Besides being good manners in general, being friendly to others on your backpacking trips can help to make friends. Besides, friendly backpackers are more likely to give you information about good campsites, places to get fresh water, and may alert you to other trails to try.

By doing your best to foster a friendly environment on your backpacking trips, you create a relaxed atmosphere for your own trip and for others. And the whole point of all the rules of backpacking etiquette is to ensure that the trails are enjoyable for all.