Backpacking Essay Research Paper BACKPACKINGHave you ever

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Backpacking Essay, Research Paper BACKPACKING Have you ever been fed up with the stress and noise of city life? Do you like spending time outdoors? You are not alone. Every year thousands of people head to the nearby Appalachian trail to get away and spend some quality time outdoors. Backpacking is, at least, an interesting way to spend time outdoors. By keeping all their gear in a backpack, campers can travel distances with ease. The following will identify and explain the techniques and equipment used for backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail, or A.T. as it is known to backpackers, is a foot trail that runs from Springer Mt., Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. (Curran, 7) Running through the Appalachian Mountains, the trail allows packers to encounter

wooded landscape with a variety of terrain, temperatures, and weather conditions. “In practice, the Trail is usually a simple footpath, purposeful in direction and concept, favoring the heights of land and loaded for minimum reliance on construction for protecting the resource. The body of the trail is provided by the lands it traverses, and it’s soul is the living stewardship of the volunteers and workers of the Appalachian Trail community.” (definition of the Appalachian Trail, from Appalachian Trail Management Principals.)(Curran, 7)Because the trail is over 2,100 miles long, it becomes very difficult for a packer to hike the entire trail. Each year about 5,000 people attempt to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Of these 5,000 it is estimated that less than 300 accomplish

their goal. (Curran, 8) Many other packers enjoy weekend or short trips and hike the trail in pieces. Either way, backpacking is extremely challenging and enjoyable. Hiking on the Appalachian Trail requires it’s own kind of equipment, unique to backpacking. Campers must have a sturdy reliable backpack to carry their equipment. (Drury 37) Backpacks are generally supported by a combination of straps around the shoulders and hips. Packs usually come in two styles: external frame and internal frame. (Gorman,1) An external frame pack is an excellent choice in a backpack for many reasons. An external pack is easy to load and organize because of the large panel that opens for easy access. (Gorman, 1) External packs often have large pockets or compartments so that the backpacker can

quickly find a specific piece of equipment. (Howe 94-95) Another quality of the external frame packs is that air circulates between the camper’s back and the packbag, keeping them cool in the hot summer months. (Golman,2) Perhaps best of all, they don’t drag hikers down when carrying a heavy load. Because external frame packs have a higher center of gravity, they allow hiking in a more upright stance. (Gorman, 2) For a pack that typically costs less than half an equivalent internal, these features are noteworthy. Internal frames are built with lighter loads in mind. They are supported by stiff aluminum poles inside the packbag. (Gorman 2) All of the camper’s gear is stored inside the pack as well because there are no outer poles to strap equipment to. Internal frame packs

carry the weight lower than externals, and closer to the back. The result is a pack that has much better balance, ideal for off-trail hikers, but not too important for a well groomed trail like the A.T. (Drury 41) ” Select an internal or external frame pack based upon the outdoor activities you normally do and consider that external frame packs are generally less expensive.” (Drury 43) Another essential piece of equipment for the backpacker is shelter. (Drury, 56) Although some lightweight enthusiasts prefer a simple rain-fly or tarp, bugs can often be a problem. A tent is usually a good solution. There are many types of tents to choose from. One reliable type of tent is the seventies style “A-Frame”. (Drury, 57) The A-Frame is a triangle shaped tent that works well at