budget-travels-tips.com - backpacking, hiking and camping Welcome to budget-travels-tips.com
create account   login  
     home : articles : reflect
    articles  beginners  gear  links  pictures            

The Sport of Backpacking

by Matt Johnston

Read More Reflections Articles

Half Dome--Inspiration beyond Chinese by Rachel Bradsell
The Appalachian Trail: A Spiritual Path by Bruce Andrew Peters
Walking with Fall by Scott Kimball
Appalachian Lullaby by Joe Plymel
A Personal Challenge by Christina Hall
Out of the City and Into the Mountains (A Jersey Girl's Tale of Backpacking) by Lisa Meagher
Ditch the rent, buy a tent by Ben Taylor
Grizzlies, Scorpions, and Snakes...oh my! by Becky Lomax
Redeeming the Crowds on Whitney by John Welch
Beautiful Cage: Buckskin Gulch to Paria Canyon by Jill Homer
Why We Go by Rob Coleman
Going it alone. by Bob Edwards
Some Night by Clyde San Juan
Fiery Gizzard by TownDawg
In the Beginning by Michael Palm
There Will Always Be Camping by Michael Souther
Timelessness of Backpacking by Matt Johnston
The Birth of a Backpacker by Paul Dockery
My Choice is Simple by Zaring Robertson
The Moose by Logan Wilcoxson
The Sport of Backpacking by Matt Johnston
A Lifetime to Explore by Matt Johnston
Remembering the Rain by Matt Johnston
Why do we backpack? by Tim Lozer
Hiking: Better Than Disneyland by Mark Mozer

To be a true sport you must be able to play it. That was a part of a conversation I had once with some friends. One person wanted to say that you "play baseball" and "play football", but you don't "play bowling". So bowling shouldn't be considered a sport. I know this is a gross error, but it does have some merit when it comes to backpacking. Have you ever heard anyone say, "let's go play backpacking"?

Backpacking isn't a true sport in the common use of the word. After a backpacking trip there isn't a winner and a loser. You can't score points by hiking a half a mile faster than the next person hikes. But many people are trying to push backpacking in that direction. Take a second and look over many Internet message boards, including Trail Talk on this site.

People want to make backpacking into a competition. One of the favorite topics of discussion is weight. Comparing the weight of your pack has become the new way to attract women. It has gotten to a point where people are practically sucking the air out of prepackaged food just to save weight. How many miles you can hike in a day is also another hot topic of discussion. It is as if backpackers can earn points and eventually be labeled as the "Uber-Packer".

There are no national rankings of backpackers, no polls to compete in, no tournament to qualify for. You don't leave college early to become a professional backpacker. The nearest competitions for backpackers are Adventure Races, and even those are more of a hybrid of many activities.

Since backpacking isn't a sport, why should the backpacking community bicker whether your way of camping is better than my way? You can't break rule number 5.3.1c because it doesn't exist. Backpacking is a recreation, a time to get into the wilderness and absorb. Ask parents why they take their kids camping and one idea usually comes up, to share that time with their kids in the wilderness.

Someone wrote into Trail Talk and said that if you ask twenty backpackers a question on camping that you would get twenty-one different answers. That is how it should be. Everyone has a different backpacking routine and everyone backpacks for different reasons. But does it really matter?

About the Author

Matt Johnston (matt@budget-travels-tips.com) is the creator of budget-travels-tips.com.


Tips & How-to's
Trip Reports

Newest Articles
Submit Your Article


Search budget-travels-tips.com for:

Ready to Buy Gear?

Sponsored Links

Great Outdoor Sites