10 Rules for Beginner Backpackers -The Toast

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1. Pack light

“Who brings two ceramic mugs backpacking?”

2. Always let someone know where you’re going (Part 1).

“We should probably text someone where we are before we leave the car.”

“I don’t have cell service.”

“We could leave a note?

“For who?”

“Those people.” [Gestures toward the other empty vehicle parked at the end of the logging road] 

“What should it say?”

“Our names and what day it is, and to please call my parents if the car is still here tomorrow?”

“What if someone actually calls your parents before we get back?”

“It’s fine. Don’t talk about it.”

3. Know the flora of the area. Avoid dangerous plants, such as stinging nettles.

“If you hit me in the face, I will make it my life’s mission to eradicate you from the planet.”


4. Practice “No-Trace” camping. (If you pack it in, pack it out.)

“I should really take my tampons back out with us. But I don’t want to.

“Can’t you just bury them or something?”

“I’m going to put them in this bag of garbage and then I’ll be the only one to open it again and we’ll never speak of it.”


5. Always let someone know where you’re going (Part 2).

“We definitely should have texted someone already.”

“Maybe there’s cell service in the town?”

“Check now.”

“I have one bar. No wait, no service. No wait–”

“Do you want me to turn around?”

“Maybe. Yes.”

“How far was it?”

“Don’t know. One bar—no wait, now searching. There must be a spot somewhere.”

“Maybe there’s a library on the way.”

6. Always take a map

“We could just buy the whole book.”

“It’s like, 40 bucks. No way.”

“I think the girl behind the cash knows what we’re doing.”

“It’s fine, let’s just write down directions for a couple places.”

“Don’t forget the one with the goats.”

7. Don’t eat anything you can’t identify

“But they look like blueberries.”

“I don’t know. They’re really small.”

“Wild berries are always small.”


“They must be blueberries.”

“Are they supposed to have all those little seeds?”

“They totally taste like blueberries. It’s fine.”


8. Keep all food out of reach of animals, particularly bears.

“I forgot to get the pop-top tuna cans. Also the can opener.”

“Use the knife to cut it open. Try not to get tuna juice all over you.”

“It’s fine. I’m pouring it out.”

“On the trail?”


“Where we’re going to sit and eat?”


“And where the animals live?”

“Where is that bear bell?”

9. Always remember to bring emergency food.

“Wait. How much couscous did you bring?”

“One night’s worth. My list said one night of couscous. How much did you bring?”


“Didn’t your list also say one night of couscous?”

“I brought Mr. Noodles?”

“Mr. Noodles and ready-to-serve Indian food for dinner?”



10. Don’t take unnecessary risks

“Look at that log. It looks like it used to be the bridge.”

“It’s not that far.”

“The water is moving pretty fast.”

“Maybe I could—”


“Not the whole way, just—”


“But if I aim for that rock—”

“Absolutely not.”

“What if we take the river signpost and lay it across and then…?”

“Ok, cool.”

Erin Flegg is a freelance writer and journalist based in Vancouver, BC. She always carries emergency Mr. Noodles.

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