Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Backpacker’s Guide to Philadelphia

The many opportunities to hike around Philadelphia PA draw backpackers of all ages and skill levels. This may be because of the convenience of backpacking in the woods, or the chance to trek through the city, or maybe try a combination of the two. The excitement of backpacking through Philadelphia is such a strong draw that there are many groups of backpackers to enjoy; if you prefer hiking solo, there are plenty of opportunities for you as well. Check out the different places to rent the gear that you need, mark your maps of the area, and prepare to discover some of the hidden treasures in and around Philly.


Backpackers Meetups in Philadelphia

If you are just starting out or if you love to backpack in company, check out one of over 70 meetup groups in the Philly area. These groups plan backpacking trips and other jaunts along with a variety of social activities to take advantage of the diverse scenery of Philadelphia and neighboring cities. Once you join a group, you’ll often have access to weekly calendars, notices of situations affecting popular hiking areas, and information about other outdoor adventures. Plus you’ll have the opportunity to meet people and hike with a group. If you prefer to backpack alone, membership in a backpacking group will still often allow you to benefit from the shared information.


Get Your Gear

If you don’t have your gear already, you’ll find that it is easy to rent or purchase everything you need. For those adventurers who are coming from out of town, the chance to rent backpacking equipment is a convenient opportunity. While shopping for gear, take the time to grill shop personnel about bear issues, the proper backcountry manners, and the fun of geocaching in Philadelphia. When it comes to the gear you need, a lot depends on what you intend to do. However, some of the most basic equipment includes:
  • Tents
  • Backpacks
  • Sleeping bags
  • GPS and tracking devices
  • Safety essentials as described below
Of course, you may also be interested in hydration supplies, food preparation and cooking equipment, lights, clothing, and other items.


Plan Your Hikes

From Pinnacle and Pulpit Rocks to the craggy backbone of the Blue Mountains, your options are wide open. You can enjoy the peace and quiet of an easy meander for seven miles of shady ridgeline or tackle a more exciting steep hike. Some trails to check out:
  • Lock 12 Loop
  • Falls Trail Loop
  • Ridley Creek State Park trails
  • Boone Trail
  • Appalachian Trail
  • Wind Gap to Smith Shelter
As you plan your backpacking adventure, make sure that you have the equipment and well-marked maps that you need to explore in safety.


Preparation and Safety

The equipment you carry could have a huge impact on the safety that you enjoy while out backpacking. There are some safety essentials which you should always carry with you, even for short trips. These include extra layers of clothing, your map and a compass, plenty of drinking water and emergency food, an emergency shelter, first aid kit, pocket knife, lighter, a whistle, and a flashlight. You might also be glad to have sunscreen on hand. It is also a very good idea to let someone else know where you are planning on going and how long you expect to be gone. Keep a copy of this information in your car as well so that  if you get lost, searchers will have an initial point to begin their search. Backpackers also do well to keep a written record of their name, any medical conditions, and any other information you think would be helpful if you weren’t able to communicate yourself. If you do become lost, it is usually best to stay in one spot and wait to be found. You can use the whistle to draw attention to yourself. The sound of a whistle travels farther than the human voice and will last much longer.


Backpack Your Way Through and Around Philadelphia

Once your preparations are complete, you will be ready to embark on certain adventure. You may intend to backpack through sections of the city or head into remote areas of breath-taking scenery. You might have plans to sleep under the stars or stop overnight in a friendly hostel. Maybe you want to enjoy the friendship of a group of regular backpackers or you prefer your own company in the peaceful stillness of the woods. However you plan to do it, backpacking in Philadelphia provides an escape from the humdrum of everyday life.

About the author
Article courtesy of Charles Withers of the Two Guys Wine Blog. Charlie is an independent food and travel blogger. Visit his blog or follow him on twitter @twoguyswine

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