Hells Canyon Wilderness

My Backpacking Philosophy


My backpacking philosophy has been years in the making.  I have learned that quality is better than quantity. If you are trying to get in as many miles as you can everyday then you are missing out on so much.

Wilderness backpacking is not only about the scenery but the history of a wilderness area. Wilderness areas in North America offer us a key to the past when life was simpler.

Before I head into a wilderness area I research that area thoroughly.  I learn about the wildlife, plant life, and the people who lived in the area.  It is fascinating for me to understand these aspects so I can thoroughly immerse myself in the backpacking experience.  All backpackers see the scenery but some miss out on the history.

My Wilderness backpacking philosophy is simple and it allows me to not only see the scenery but to experience and learn its history. Below are my (3) tips for making your experience in a remote and rugged Wilderness area memorable.


First, get off the trail and do some bushwhacking. Look for remote areas well off the trail that are less travelled by other wilderness backpackers.

Second, find a good location for your basecamp.  Use the acronym I came up with, (W.E.S.S.) when you are looking for a spot to set up your basecamp.

Third, Explore the area near your basecamp by doing daily expeditions.   This allows you to carry a lighter backpack as you navigate the rugged terrain more easily.  These expeditions will allow you to explore the terrain more thoroughly as you look for unique things untouched and lost in time.


If you choose to follow my philosophy it will make your stay in a wilderness area more memorable.  When I was in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness I found some unique artifacts around my basecamp from an old homestead.  Make sure that you are up to date on your land navigation skills, and always do your research before heading into any wilderness area. I have a series of articles and videos on land navigation here on my website that will help you refresh those skills.

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