Campsite by Royal Arch, Royal Arch Loop, Grand Canyon.

The First 5 Things I Do in Camp When Backpacking

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I doubt that I had any typical routine when arriving at a campsite on my earliest backpacking trips; like many backpackers, I probably just dropped my pack, shucked off my boots, and kicked back until motivated to move by the urge to eat, drink, get warm, or go to the bathroom. Over the years, though, I’ve developed a routine that I follow almost religiously when I arrive in camp at the end of a day of backpacking. These five simple, quick, almost effortless steps make a world of difference in how good I feel that evening and the next morning, and how well I sleep.

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5 Responses to The First 5 Things I Do in Camp When Backpacking

  1. Mike B   |  October 1, 2017 at 12:26 am

    My four priorities are shelter, water, food, washing (me and potentially my clothes), and which comes first, second, etc. will vary depending on weather, where I’m hiking, and my personal condition when I roll into camp. Sometimes I am camping near water after a long dry stretch and water is priority #1 as I’m dehydrated. Sometimes it is overcast or actively raining and shelter is #1. Sometimes I run out of snacks in my help belt, and food is priority #1. It all depends on the circumstances, but those 4 are always the first four.

  2. Scott   |  August 23, 2017 at 6:20 am

    I agree about changing clothes. This summer, I changed into my next-day’s t-shirt and underwear just before turning in, and it really made a difference. I felt cleaner, so I slept better, and then I was mostly dressed for the next day.

  3. Tony   |  August 22, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    The very first thing I do is tent setup, due to unpredictable weather. Next filter 3L of water for dinner & breakfast.

    • MichaelALanza   |  August 23, 2017 at 5:32 am

      Hi Tony, thanks for the comment. As I wrote above, I save pitching my tent until after the first four steps assuming no foul weather. It only takes a few minutes to pitch a tent, so under fair skies, there’s no urgency to it. Also, I don’t filter water for cooking since I’ll boil it, anyway. But as I also wrote above, under #5, at some point during the evening I’ll fill my water bladder or bottle(s) with however much water I need to start hiking the next morning–and the amount will depend on how far I’m hiking before reaching more water sources.

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Grand Canyon Hiker