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9 Reasons Why Backpacking is the Perfect Way to Find Yourself

9 Reasons Why Backpacking is the Perfect Way to Find Yourself

When most people think about finding themselves, they imagine sitting in a therapist’s office, exploring their childhood and discussing their feelings. But there are other ways to find yourself, and one of the best is through backpacking. Here’s how it can help:

It encourages you to be present.

Backpacking requires your full attention. You must be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to your footing, so you don’t trip and fall. This forces you to live in the present moment, which can be a great way to find yourself.

It helps you appreciate nature.

When you’re out in nature, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to appreciate the beauty around you. Seeing firsthand how beautiful and vast the world is can help put your problems into perspective and give you a greater appreciation for life.

It allows you to disconnect from technology.

In today’s world, it’s easy to get wrapped up in technology and forget about the world around you. But when you’re backpacking, there’s no cell service or Wi-Fi, which gives you the perfect opportunity to disconnect from your phone and social media and focus on the present moment.

It gives you time to think.

You have a lot of time to think when you’re out on the trail. This can be an excellent opportunity to reflect on your life and figure out what you want most out of it. You can also use this time to brainstorm ideas and devise solutions to problems you’ve been having.

It helps you meet new people.

Backpacking is a great way to meet new people. When you’re out on the trail, you’ll meet other hikers looking for the same thing: an escape from the everyday grind. You can bond over your shared love of nature and adventure, and you may even make some lifelong friends.

It allows you to reset.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out in our fast-paced world. But when you’re backpacking, you can forget your worries and focus on enjoying yourself. This can help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated like you’ve hit the reset button on your life.

It teaches you about yourself.

Backpacking can teach you a lot about yourself. You’ll learn how to push yourself physically and mentally when you’re out on the trail. You’ll also find out what you’re capable of and your limits. And as you overcome obstacles and reach your goals, you’ll gain confidence and learn more about who you are.

It helps you appreciate the little things in life.

When you’re backpacking, you must carry everything you need on your back, which means you can only bring the essentials. This forces you to think about what’s important to you and helps you appreciate the little things in life.

It gives you a sense of accomplishment.

When you finish a backpacking trip, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. You’ll be proud of yourself for pushing your limits and reaching your goals. And you’ll have memories and stories to last a lifetime.

Backpacking can be a fantastic way to find yourself. It encourages you to be present, appreciate nature, disconnect from technology, and think about what you want most out of life. It also allows you to meet new people, reset, and learn about yourself. If you’re looking for a way to explore who you are, backpacking may be perfect.

10 Essentials for a Backpacking Trip

10 Essentials for a Backpacking Trip

When it comes to packing for a backpacking trip, the options can seem endless. But a few pieces of gear are essential for any trip, regardless of when or where you’re going. Here is a list of the essentials, along with some tips on choosing the right gear for your needs.

1. Backpack: 

You’ll need a backpack to carry all your gear. But there are a few things to consider when choosing a pack. First, think about the size. You want something big enough to hold everything you need but not so big that it’s cumbersome to carry. Second, consider the features. Look for a pack with plenty of pockets and compartments for organizing your gear and straps and loops for attaching gear to the outside of the pack. And finally, make sure the pack is comfortable to wear – look for one with adjustable straps and a padded back panel.

2. Sleeping bag: 

A good sleeping bag is another essential piece of gear. When choosing a sleeping bag, you’ll need to consider the temperature range you’ll be camping in. Sleeping bags are typically rated for specific temperature ranges, so choose one that’s appropriate for the conditions you’ll be facing. You’ll also want to think about the weight and size of the sleeping bag. If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose a lightweight bag that packs down small. But if weight isn’t as much of a concern, you can opt for a warmer bag that takes up more space.

3. Tent: 

A tent is another essential piece of gear for any backpacking trip. When choosing a tent, you’ll need to consider the size (how many people will be sleeping in it?) and the weight and packed size. Again, if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose a lightweight tent that packs down small. But if weight isn’t as much of a concern, you can opt for a bigger tent that provides more space and comfort.

4. Sleeping pad:

A sleeping pad is an essential piece of gear for two reasons. First, it provides insulation between you and the ground, which helps to keep you warm at night. Second, it adds padding and comfort, which can make all the difference after a long day on the trail. When choosing a sleeping pad, you’ll need to consider the size, weight, and packed size. Again, if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose a lightweight pad that packs down small. But if weight isn’t as much of a concern, you can opt for a bigger pad that provides more comfort.

5. Stove: 

If you’re planning on cooking your meals on the trail, you’ll need a stove. When choosing a stove, you’ll need to consider the fuel it uses (propane, butane, white gas, etc.), as well as the weight and packed size. Again, if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose a lightweight stove that packs down small. But if weight isn’t as much of a concern, you can opt for a more powerful stove with more features.

6. Water filter: 

A water filter is an essential piece of gear for any backpacking trip. It allows you to safely drink water from streams, lakes, and other natural sources. When choosing a water filter, you’ll need to consider the size, weight, and packed size. Again, if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose a lightweight filter that packs down small. But if weight isn’t as much of a concern, you can opt for a bigger filter that’s more powerful and has more features.

7. First-aid kit: 

A first-aid kit is an essential piece of gear for any backpacking trip. It allows you to treat minor injuries and ailments on the trail. When choosing a first-aid kit, you’ll need to consider the size, weight, and packed size. Again, if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose a lightweight kit that packs down small. But if weight isn’t as much of a concern, you can opt for a more extensive kit with more items.

8. Navigation tools: 

Navigation tools (such as a map and compass) are essential for any backpacking trip. They allow you to find your way in the wilderness and ensure you don’t get lost. When choosing navigation tools, you’ll need to consider the size, weight, and packed size. Again, if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose lightweight tools that pack down small. But if weight isn’t as much of a concern, you can opt for bigger tools that have more features.

9. Clothing: 

The type of clothing you bring on your backpacking trip will depend on the climate and the time of year. In general, you should bring comfortable, durable, and easy to layer clothing. When choosing clothing for your trip, you’ll need to consider the weight, packed size, and climate. Again, if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose lightweight clothing that packs down small. But if weight isn’t as much of a concern, you can opt for more comfortable and durable clothing.

10. Miscellaneous items: 

There are a few other miscellaneous items you might want to bring on your backpacking trip. These include sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a headlamp. When choosing various items for your journey, you’ll need to consider the weight and packed size. Again, if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, you might want to choose lightweight items that pack down small. But if weight isn’t as much of a concern, you can opt for more comfortable items with more features.

As you can see, when choosing gear for a backpacking trip, there are many factors to consider. But by choosing the right equipment, you’ll make your trip more enjoyable and safer. So don’t be afraid to choose the right gear – it will be worth it in the end. And if you have any questions or need help choosing gear, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help!

How Backpacking Saved Me, Again.

Anyone who has followed my personal journey knows that the non-profit Frontline Freedom was started out of need. I needed to escape. I needed to escape my own thoughts, struggles, emotions. I needed to escape and stay healthy.


I could have chosen to hit the bottle. That wasn’t for me. In fact, the best advice I ever received was more of a reminder. Alcohol was for celebrations. Not for sadness. Never drink when you’re sad, lonely, or depressed. Only drink to celebrate. Only drink to toast others for their accomplishments.


Enter the inner outdoorsman.


When I was a kid, I had an obsession with camping gear. I loved tents, cooking sets, and building fires from nothing. As I got older, my obsessions stayed with me. I bought all of the backpacking gear I could afford. Only, I didn’t backpack. I put all of my gear in a motorcycle and would take weekend trips, camping wherever I could find somewhere open for the night.


As life hit and I felt alone, I ran into Josh. We started taking backpacking trips and developed what would become Frontline Freedom. Things were going great. I was happy, healthy, and helping others in the process.


Then life hit me again. As it tends to do so unexpectedly.


I received a frantic phone call from my aunt. I could hear my dad screaming in the background. My heart sank.
My aunt said, “David, your brother is dead. He killed himself. He’s gone.”


It was December 1. Just a few days after thanksgiving. I never got to say goodbye. In the ensuing chaos that consumed my family, I did what I always do. I hid my emotions and tried to stay strong for everyone else. I offered encouragement and tried to help people understand that they would never fully understand. We cried, we laughed at old stories, and we wondered why.


Fast forward to four months later.


My mom called me. She was crying on the other end of the phone. “It’s bad, Dave. I need you.” Once again, the surge of adrenaline through my veins made me feel numb as I prepared for her following words. “Michael is dead.”


Michael was my step-brother. We came of age together and became adults at the same time. He was a good man who always provided for his family. Years prior, he became a victim of prescription pills, which turned to heroin use. He fought his demons in and out of rehab. Addiction is an odd thing. He never wanted to be addicted, but the disease overcame him.
He died of an overdose before leaving for work.


Once again, the family was in a state of mourning.


My younger brother, Ryan, was struggling with all of it. I was too. Yet, I again hid my emotions and tried to be the comforter to everyone else.


Luckily, Frontline Freedom had a trip planned between Michael’s death and his funeral. I told my brother, Ryan, that he needed to be on that trip with me. As we tend to do so, we went to Grayson Highlands and backpacked.


I remember looking over a ridge and wondering how to make sense of everything. Here was all the beauty of nature, and I couldn’t help but think that my two brothers would never see sunset again. They would never feel the rush of cool air on their faces again. I looked at Ryan as he watched the sunset over the ridge, and I could see the same look in him.


While I may have been in a sad place, the woods did something for me. It did the same thing it had done when I was a kid and again as an adult just four years prior. They gave me perspective. They gave me a chance to talk to the people on the trip. They allowed me to feel.


Sometimes, we lose feeling. Sometimes, that numbness we feel when we brace for bad news never goes away. Backpacking amid all that turmoil gave me back what I had lost. It gave me feelings, emotions, and, most importantly, safety.


I’ll admit it. I tend not to be a vulnerable man. I fall victim to some sort of never-showing ‘weakness’ mentality. That’s wrong. Weakness is not allowing yourself to heal. Weakness is not showing others that you’re a human.


Backpacking gave me the ability to share. Sharing brings vulnerability yet, courage. Strength comes from sharing. Power comes from admitting that sometimes the people who are always there for other people do, in fact, need people for themselves as well.


That trip was the perfect trip at the ideal time.


I am stronger for going and continue to be stronger today from the lessons I learned while on a trail.

**The above photos is of me and my brother, Ryan, on the Grayson Highlands trip**

Back West.

Today marked the beginning of our next longer trip.  As it has been a tradition, we always depart from home in the rain.  Luckily, we got a reprieve this year and had decent weather after our first stop.

It was good to catch up again, discuss life and its never ending changes.  Not a whole lot to talk about this first day..  Just getting started..

 

Rubber side down.

 

 

Day One – Moab Trip 2017 from David Brown on Vimeo.

Weather the Weather

We are less than two weeks out from our next adventure.  It is worth mentioning, as few people talk about it, the weather.  Motorcycling brings storms; rain, snow, lightning, wind, etc.  Being prepared for them is being ahead of the game.

It is more than just preparing for a little bit of water, falling from the sky.  It is about being prepared to handle the worst case scenario.  Not only will you have to battle the elements if you are caught in them, you will have to battle yourself.  Be mindful of fatigue and ego.  Know when it is time to pull over and seek shelter.  It isn’t worth getting tired, complacent, and then making a mistake on two wheels.

Be prepared to weather the weather.  Sometimes that means staying put for a bit.  Sometimes that means strapping on a rain suit and powering through.  Don’t let the ego make the decision.

Two Years of Two Wheeled Travel

On the anniversary of our site being up for two years; we present a quick look-back at our travels.  Thanks to everyone for the encouragement, support, and thoughtful advice.