**Paul Osborn, shares his experience of how to get the most out of a camping trip with this #TeamSierra post on Basecamp Backpacking.**
Tonight there's Mexican and roasted smoked sausages, then fresh cake and hot pie baked under a clear mountain sky. Tomorrow, take in some amazing views and maybe even catch a fish. Or, just laze around camp. You could be a seasoned backpacker, or maybe this is your first night outdoors. Either way, it's basecamp backpacking.
Basecamp backpacking is an easy way to relax for the weekend, to get away from it all. The concept is simple: Choose a short, easy hike to a well-appointed spot. Set up camp. Then, make day trips with only basic gear and snacks, leaving all the lux stuff behind at the tent. This way, the pie iron and the wine and the comfy camp chair and the steak can ALL come along.
For me, this style of backpacking is a huge part of my outdoor adventuring and complements my lightweight trips. There are a whole bunch of benefits to basecamp backpacking. Here's a look at a few:
When you set up a basecamp, you can hike out on trails in different directions. One of my favorite basecamp adventures is a trip in the local Monashee range. On a one-day hike, we'll venture Northeast of camp up across a ridge, follow a river and end up at "Gate's Ledge," an incredible drop off that gives you a breathtaking view of an untouched valley. On another hike, we might explore east and over into another valley where a simple mining operation took place almost 100 years ago. You can drink from a mountain spring. The highlight of this area for some is a very challenging trip northwest to the summit of Mount Fosthall, which takes eight to 11 hours and gives even more spectacular views.
Because you're leaving the tent, sleeping bags, cooking gear, food and extras at camp, you're able to go farther and lighter. Slip on a day pack with rain jacket, GPS, water and snacks and take off. You won't get weighed down with gear and you'll have more time to stop, pick berries and take photos. Oh, and there'll be a lot less puffing on the way!
Typically, basecamp backpacking trips involve a shorter hike in, which gives you the ability to carry in a heavier load of goodies to make meals and time around camp a bit more fun for everyone. To give you an example, my brother has packed in pie irons and grills and produced everything from kabobs to smokies to fruit or chocolate peanut butter pies! I was a skeptic myself until I got to indulge in some real Mexican food and a PB and chocolate pie for dessert.
Add to that a lightweight camp stool, tarp, fishing rod or hammock and even the most skeptical first time backpacker will want to go back again.
Fun for everyone
Basecamp backpacking is an opportunity to get friends and family of all ages outside with a low pressure, high return adventure. You don't need to be an experienced backpacker. You don't need to put in a lot of miles, and you don't have to deprive yourself just to get the miles in.
I've slept under an 8-foot by 4-foot tarp in Bolivia. I've hiked the John Muir Trail in 16 days, but basecamp backpacking still remains a big part of my backpacking lifestyle. Why? Because it's fun and relaxing and something everyone can enjoy. And there's pie.
What's the craziest thing luxury item you or a friend has packed on a backpacking trip?
Paul Osborn is an avid outdoor adventurer. He's loved being outdoors since he was a kid and is always game to try something new. Currently, he's trying to instil that love for everything wild in his own kids. Paul's website, The Outdoor Adventure, encourages others to open their doors and get outside by giving them the tools and confidence necessary to do so
Basecamp Backpacking: How to Get the Most out of a Camping Trip
By Paul Osborn
October 30, 2013
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