Backpacking, Hiking and Camping
So what is thebackpacker.com all about?
thebackpacker.com is a website dedicated to the backpacking and hiking community. It is intended as a place for beginners to learn about backpacking and also as a gathering place for more experienced backpackers. Many people have used thebackpacker.com to meet fellow outdoor enthusiasts in their area. All the backpacking gear reviews and hiking trail reviews are submitted by the people just like you. Some reviews are positive and some reviews are negative. There are no "professional experts" here. Everyone is welcome to voice their opinion, that includes occasional day hikers, weekend backpackers, thru-hikers and those just dreaming about starting to backpack.
thebackpacker.com believes that in a very competitive world, backpacking is a way for many people to relax and get away from the daily grind. This idea is best summed up below...
"To be a true sport you must be able to play it." That was a part of a conversation I had once with some friends. One person wanted to say that you "play baseball" and "play football", but you don't "play bowling". So bowling shouldn't be considered a sport. I know this is a gross error, but it does have some merit when it comes to backpacking. Have you ever heard anyone say, "let's go play backpacking"?
Backpacking isn't a true sport in the common use of the word. After a backpacking trip there isn't a winner and a loser. You can't score points by hiking a half a mile faster than the next person hikes. But many people are trying to push backpacking in that direction. Take a second and look over many Internet message boards, including Trail Talk on this site.
People want to make backpacking into a competition. One of the favorite topics of discussion is weight. Comparing the weight of your pack has become the new way to attract women. It has gotten to a point where people are practically sucking the air out of prepackaged food just to save weight. How many miles you can hike in a day is also another hot topic of discussion. It is as if backpackers can earn points and eventually be labeled as the "Uber-Packer".
There are no national rankings of backpackers, no polls to compete in, no tournament to qualify for. You don't leave college early to become a professional backpacker. The nearest competitions for backpackers are Adventure Races, and even those are more of a hybrid of many activities.
Since backpacking isn't a sport, why should the backpacking community bicker whether your way of camping is better than my way? You can't break rule number 5.3.1c because it doesn't exist. Backpacking is a recreation, a time to get into the wilderness and absorb. Ask parents why they take their kids camping and one idea usually comes up, to share that time with their kids in the wilderness.
Someone wrote into Trail Talk and said that if you ask twenty backpackers a question on camping that you would get twenty-one different answers. That is how it should be. Everyone has a different backpacking routine and everyone backpacks for different reasons. But does it really matter?