Responsible Fun: The 6 Ways of a Responsible Backcountry Traveler

Backpacking

The most common reason we have for traveling, aside from educational purposes, is the fun and enjoyment we experience while going around the world (or simply in one country) while experiencing many different things at once.

Backpacking
Image source: Flickr

Enjoyment is the primary reason why we are inspired to take that long hike or that awfully scary flight towards a new and unknown world, where we are introduced to a custom different from ours and to a backcountry totally opposite ours.

However, in pursuit of this so called “enjoyment”, we tend to forsake other things, especially the place where we go on an adventure to. We were too busy laughing with our friends on a campfire to notice that our trashes and dirt are left on the earthen floor.

Thus, we can say that out enjoyment has a negative feedback towards our environment, which is far from the characteristic of being “responsible”. Being “responsible” means that we care enough to follow the “unspoken yet universal” ethic codes of every backpacker in order to ensure the future generation’s opportunity to have the same kind of enjoyment.

Here are six ethic codes to start you off into becoming a “responsible” backcountry traveler:

1. “Take only pictures leave only footprints”.

The most common of the unspoken rules of a backcountry traveler is the phrase, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints”. This means that you should not take anything from your backcountry destination and you should not leave anything as well. It might as well look as if you’ve never been there.

This is a way of preserving nature as it is, without adding anything and removing anything. This will also reflect leave the place as natural as it has always been from the start, without the touch of the modernity of humans nowadays.

2. Protect the water resources.

Camping near the water
Image source: Flickr (Click on image for bigger size)

In preparing for things you can use in a backcountry travel, always choose those products classified as biodegradable. Rather than using soap with many chemicals that can harm our water reserves, use the biodegradable soap and dishwashing liquids to lessen the harmful effects.

If possible, use hot water in cleansing your dishes and do it at least a few meters aways as to minimize the harmful chemicals.

3. Be a good and considerate neighbor.

Another silent rule we should follow is being a good neighbor. Similar as to how it is when we’re at our homes or flats, camping grounds also has neighbors we need to be considerate about.

Thus, it is better to minimize the noise you create as much as possible as to not disturb them. Moreover, if you have pets along, make sure to keep them on a leash in order to avoid disrupting the neighbor and burdening them with your pet’s waste.

4. Have respect for the environment.

Aside from being respectful to your neighbors, you should also respect the environment and everything that is in it. It doesn’t mean that they are only trees and bushes; you have the right to hammer nails into them or to pick on their leaves.

If you really must, make sure that it is of utmost importance, and keep it to at the least minimum.

5. Stay on designated trails.

Following the trail
Image source: Flickr (Click on image for bigger size)

When going on a fun exploration of nature through hiking or biking, make sure that you follow the trail until the very end. Not doing so will not only lead to you getting lost, it also damages the vegetation and facilitates soil erosion.

Make sure to keep at the trail to avoid unnecessary things. Keeping with the trail will also keep the damage to the area to a minimum (meaning, only the trail).

6. Clean before you leave (may it be your campfire or your campsite).

The last thing you should keep in mind when going on a backcountry travel is to clean up before you leave, may it be towards continuing forward on you journey or towards home.

Make sure to clean up the ashes and coal left in your fire pit, as well as the trashes scattered throughout the campground. If possible, bring along with you a reusable plastic for waste and bring your trashes home. Leaving it be will damage the soil since most of the products we use are made up of plastic and rubber.

Being responsible means that you understand why we should preserve our environment and the consequences we reap when doing otherwise. It doesn’t have to be done forcefully.

After all, if you enjoy backcountry traveling, then you must love nature to the sense of preserving it and keeping it the way you loved it.

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