Keep a Journal when Hiking or Backpacking

Hiking JournalDo you remember your first hiking, camping or backpacking experience?  How well do you recall the details?  What trail did you hike?  How many days did you stay?  What was the weather like?  Who was there with you?  If you had kept a journal, then a lot of these facts would be available anytime you wanted to read about your adventure.  If you didn’t write it down, then most of the details have probably been lost forever.

Keeping a journal to chronicle events has declined over time.  Years ago, journals were common place.  Many famous events were written down.  Like Anne Frank and her diary.  She kept up with what was going on with her family during two years of hiding.  What about Lewis and Clark and their expedition?  Yes, there is great detail in their adventure.  They made over 140 maps and documents local plant and animal species.

Okay, so you don’t want to write about that much detail in your journal.  But, it might be nice to be able to look back on some of the hikes that you have been on in the past.

A few things to remember about a backpacking journal include:

Make sure that it is small.  You don’t want to carry around a 5 pound book.  Just bring something large enough to write in, but lightweight as well.

Either put it in a protective case or watertight bag to protect it from the elements.

One obvious item is that the journal should have plenty of space to write your notes.

A bonus is there to be titled fields to remind you of certain things to write about.  Some of these fields should include:

  • Where you were hiking, backpacking or camping.
  • Who was with you on your adventure?
  • Did you meet anyone and what is their contact information?
  • What was the weather like?
  • Did you have any unusual, fun or exciting experiences?

When you get back from your trip, your journal should be able to give you:

  • Detail of the site where you camped, so that in the future, you and your friends can find the area again.  Or more importantly decide whether you want to go back to that same spot.
  • Contact information of anybody you met on the trail.
  • Any fond memories about your hike.
  • A great memento to pass onto your children or grandchildren.

One final thought is that you should write in your journal while you are on the trail.  Don’t leave it up to, “I will remember that when I get home.”  Chances are you won’t remember.

Hiking, backpacking and camping are great ways to get back in touch with a slower pace of life.  The experiences while performing these activities are endless.  Writing in a journal makes them timeless.

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