Don’t get me wrong, I love backpacking. I’ve been backpacking about as long as I can remember and I have never found a reason to stop seeking out trails and campsites. Getting away from the city and experiencing a bit of nature is always a welcome change. I even like hostels – the interesting company, youthful vibe and on the go lifestyle are all fun ways to shake things up and are a surefire way to shake things up. But even though I love my hobby, doesn’t mean I always like it. Here’s a list of the three things that can ruin even the best trip.
1. Crowded hostel bedrooms
Whenever I’ve traveled abroad, I’ve preferred to stay in hostels. They’re a cheap, simple way to spend a night or two in a big city under a roof and maybe meet some new friends, however, when rooms are overbooked or overcrowded, I can get a little cranky. I can remember rooms in some more metropolitan areas with the walls covered with beds stacked up high on the walls. The smell of ten, twelve, fifteen backpackers and their gear all crammed into a hot dorm is unpleasant to say the least, it’s like a middle school locker room. Nobody’s showered but everyone has been very sweaty for several days.
2. Wet socks
I like only packing in a limited supply of clothes, but I always bring two pairs of socks, the reason being that the one time I needed a second pair and didn’t have it was the worst trip of my life. If it rains, your socks are going to get wet, which means hiking in wet socks. There is no hell worse than hiking ten miles in wet, wool socks.
3. No campfire sites
I do a fair amount of my backpacking along the West coast, specifically in the Point Reyes National Seashore. In the winter, it gets dark rather early and evening winds can bring with them fog and a chill that penetrates to the marrow. The combination of darkness, fog and wind can drive any backpacker to turn in as early as 7:30pm, unless the backpacker is able to light a campfire. The thing is, the Point Reyes National Seashore has been known to institute a no campfire policy (this has happened especially frequently since as California drought has worn on), which is a reasonable regulation, however, it can ruin even the most promising of winter nights out on the trail.
Will McQuilkin is a senior Communication major, hailing from a small California farm town in the San Geronimo Valley, often described as a hamlet. He has survived not one, but two surgeries on his right hand (pinky finger and thumb) due to baseball related injuries. His favorite candy is Sugar Babies.