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11 Tips To Make Sure Your First Overnight Hike Goes Smoothly

Overnight hiking is one of the best ways to integrate yourself with nature. Not only will you enjoy some of the benefits of hiking, but you’ll also allow yourself to unplug for several hours. When was the last time you thoroughly unplugged from technology for 48 hours?

If you can’t remember, you’re not alone.

 Photo by  Hennygraphy

Photo by Hennygraphy

Hiking tunes you into the most primal parts of your brain. The human body was created to live alongside nature—not in the modern world. You’ll learn how to navigate the forest, cook for yourself and entertain yourself without the use of modern technology. 

Spending time outdoors has plenty of health benefits too. In addition to reducing stress, spending time outdoors can help enhance your mood and help you sleep better. Yet, you’ll need a few pointers if you’re about to embark on your first overnight backpacking trip. One of the most important things to understand about hiking is: planning is everything.

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Tip #1 - Plan Ahead

Planning is one of the best things you can do to ensure success on your hiking trip. The more you prepare for your trip, the more successful your trip will be.

Your first hike should be planned when the weather conditions are expected to be mild (or at least, not so erratic). You don’t want to deal with drastic drops or rises in temperature for your first trip.

Tip #2 - Don’t Pack for a Fortnight Away

It’s important to be prepared, but sometimes less is more when it comes to packing. Don’t pack everything. Many first-time hikers tend to pack all the modern comforts they think they’ll desire over the next day.

Just remember that you’ll need to carry everything that you pack. You’ll want to lay out everything you plan to pack before you place anything in your pack. Take a good look at everything you’ll need to carry. You can go ahead and discard those four extra pairs of socks you just thought you wouldn’t be able to live without.

Tip #3 - Preparing to Dine Al Fresco

It’s important to plan out your meals in advance, so you don’t find yourself burdened with too much (or worse—without enough food) over the course of your trip. Make sure to pack plenty of protein and carbs to keep you satisfied.

Remember that you may have to pack your waste out, so don't bring lots of food in heavy containers such as tins. It's best to prepare meals in advance, and bring them in ziplock bags or buy freeze-dried meals that only require boiling water to cook.

Although, don’t forget to have a little fun with your food! Try a new recipe for an old fan favorite like buttered popcorn marshmallow smores.

 Photo by Cam DiCecca

Photo by Cam DiCecca

Tip #4 - Bring a Map (and know how to use it)

Despite how much Google Maps has rocked your world, you’ll need to bring an old-school waterproof map. You’ll also need to know how to use it. Navigation skills are hugely important in the wilderness where cell phone batteries can die, or your GPS doesn't get a signal.

Tip #5 - Test Your Equipment at Home

It’s important to test out all of your equipment at home before your hike. You should break in your hiking boots before hitting the trail, so you don’t destroy your feet.

Sometimes manufacturers forget to include all of the parts in products, and you don’t want to wait until you’re in the middle of the woods before realizing that you don’t have the main pole for your tent. Test your equipment in your backyard first.

Tip #6 - Learn to Dress Appropriately

Hikers and backpackers these days swear by the three-layer system that will help keep you comfortable in (most) any weather. This involves a thin base layer, to wick away moisture, a middle insulating layer to keep you warm and then an outer shell layer to protect you from the wind and elements. Simply remove or add layers to suit the climate.

Also, don't forget to bring accessories such as sun hats, sunglasses or cold weather gloves.

Tip #7 - Familiarize Yourself with LNT & Local Regulations

You know the saying, “Take only photos, leave only memories?” Leave No Trace means that you leave nature the same as you found it. This means that everything you "pack in" should be "packed out" again.

Don’t bother the wildlife, pick the flowers or camp on sites that aren’t already established by other campers.

Lastly, you also want to ensure you have the appropriate permits before you step foot on the trail. Don’t assume that you don’t need a permit.

Tip #8 - Check the Weather Before You Go

Leading up to your trip double-check the weather forecast and consider rescheduling your trip if the weather won't be in your favor. If you still plan on heading out, make any final adjustments to your pack based on the likely (and worst case) weather forecast.

Tip #9 - Panic Time, Leave One!

Never hike without telling your friends and family where you’re going. Establish a panic time. This means that you tell your friends and family when you’re leaving, where you’re going, your exact route and when to call the authorities if you haven’t returned.

As soon as you are back in your car (and have cell service), call your designated family members to let them know you’re okay.

Tip #10 - Keep It Simple

On your first trip, just keep it simple. You'll probably be doing a lot of new tasks for the first time such as map navigation, long strenuous hikes and setting up a campsite. Don't further add to the burden by planning to hike 15 miles a day or fit in lots of extra activities.

Tip #11 - Enjoy Yourself

The most important part of your hike is remembering to have plenty of fun. Enjoy yourself! Hopefully, you’re planning this trip because you already have a love of hiking. Don’t forget to have fun and relax!

Article written for UP KNÖRTH by My Open Country. My Open Country is a campaign to try and get more people excited about the outdoors. Improve your wilderness adventures with their in-depth articles on hiking/backpacking skills, inspirational trip guides & awesome gear reviews.
Find them here: https://www.facebook.com/myopencountry/
48 Hours In The Yukon; Photo Journal By Hennygraphy
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Ever wondered what 48 hours in the Yukon look like? Think cold, grey skies, snow-capped mountains, campfire and tea by a wood stove. Some of our product made the journey with Hennygraphy and photographer Jong Sun Park on their 2 day, fully loaded trip of the Yukon. 

All photography credit to Hennygraphy. See more of the journey here.

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 Shop our Up Knorth minimalist   t-shirt here.

Shop our Up Knorth minimalist t-shirt here.

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 Our women's Cabin Socks doing the trick up north.   Shop them here.

Our women's Cabin Socks doing the trick up north. Shop them here.

Looking Ahead To Summer; Everything You Need To Know Before Hiking Berg Lake Trail
 Berg Lake by  Panafoot via Flickr

Berg Lake by Panafoot via Flickr

Arguably one of the most scenic hikes around. The 23km trail takes about 7 hours to complete, and passes vistas most of us can't even imagine to be real. Any photos you've seen of this place are no comparison to the real thing. Along the way you will past through Kinney lake, white horn and the valley of a thousand falls - overall, hoping you catch a clear day, you will see 16 glaciers in the remote backcountry. 

 On the Berg Lake Trail (Mt Robson Provincial Park, BC) by  Emanuel Smedbøl on 500px

On the Berg Lake Trail (Mt Robson Provincial Park, BC) by Emanuel Smedbøl on 500px

Additional info: The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September, with many half day and multi-day hikes starting from the Berg Lake Area. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. There are a few campsites, and very few facilities. This is not a hike for beginner or novice mountaineers. For additional info and reservations and trail maps visit: 

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/mt_robson/berg.html

Stay safe, respect the trails and do your homework before you go. Tag and share your stories at @upknorth and #upknorth.

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6 Winter Survival Myths Debunked

In most cases, whatever situation you may be in, survival ultimately comes down to one thing - knowledge. All the fanciest gear in the world could amount to nothing without the proper knowledge of both your body and the environment you're surrounded by. 

1. Rub frostbitten skin
Don’t. Ever. Frostbite occurs when ice crystals form in your skin and other tissues. Rubbing the injury causes more tissue damage as the ice crystals lacerate new cells. Instead, treat the victim with painkillers as you slowly rewarm the tissue—frostbite hurts!

2. Drinking liquor will warm you up
We’ve probably all seen the cartoon depicting a Saint Bernard dog with a cask of brandy around his neck reviving some avalanche victim. But liquor is the last drink you need in a cold-weather survival scenario. Although you may feel warmer, alcohol actually dilates skin-surface blood vessels and capillaries, which will chill your core even faster. Instead, drink hot tea or cocoa.

3. All base layers work equally well

Not true. Cotton kills—or, at least, could lead to hypothermia if you rely on it as your primary base layer in cold weather. It’s a great fabric to wear around the house, and it has great applications in hot, dry climates. But once cotton gets wet, it loses its insulating properties. Before you even break a sweat, normal skin moisture will soak into the cotton fibers and start to cool your body through conduction. These fibers can hold up to 27 times their weight in water and then store that moisture up to eight times longer than synthetics or wool. This doesn’t just leave you feeling clammy—it steals vital heat from your core. If it’s cold enough for long johns, then it’s too cold for cotton.

4. Don’t feed a victim of hypothermia
Normal shock treatment and hypothermia treatment are different—you don’t, for example, want to feed someone who may be going into shock because he can vomit and choke while unconscious. However, in mild to moderate hypothermia cases, high-calorie foods can be given in small, repeated doses to create metabolic heat in the victim and help him restore his own heat-generating ability.

5. Let a hypothermic victim get some sleep
After the shivering, confusion, slurred speech, and clumsiness of hypothermia have manifested, an exposure victim also gets drowsy. This is a serious warning sign because sleep can lead to death. Keep the victim awake as you warm him up.

6. A hot tub will cure hypothermia
Rewarming is the main way to treat someone whose core temperature has dipped far below 98.6 degrees. But dropping somebody in a Jacuzzi will cause excruciating pain and can even trigger a heart attack. Instead, put hot-water bottles in both armpits, or use skin-to-skin rewarming. Never use a high-heat source to treat a hypothermic person.

 

Read the full article written by Tim Macwelch for OUTDOORLIFE

Photography shot at Elfin Lakes by Hennygraphy

Elfin Lakes Trail; PNW Winter Escape
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Nestled 1,600m above Squamish, BC, Elfin Lakes is a mountain escape that equals no other. The mountain cabin holds a capacity of 33 bunks on the upper level, with ample space for cooking and dining on the level below. The 11km trail (one way) is accessible in both summer and winter months, and doesn't doesn't fall short when it comes to panoramic mountain views. 

Incredible images were captured by Hennygraphy

Visit www.hennygraphy.com for the full set.

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Campfires and Chasing Auroras

Unplanned adventures always seem to turn out with the best surprises. Our short trek out to Furry Creek a few weeks back only strengthened this rule, as a casual night around the campfire quickly turned into a spectacular showcase of the milky way above and the northern lights dancing behind.  

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Location: Furry Creek, BC

All photography by Ian Tyley. Find his works here. Follow him on Instagram: @iantyleyphoto

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