10 Skills Every Backpacker Should Have

Whitney Cairns

I started this blog post with the intent of listing the top-10 basic skills that I believe every backpacker should have, but almost as soon as I started putting together my list I thought it would be much more interesting to let you all share what you think are the 10 most important skills to have when spending any extended length of time outdoors.

It's no secret that I feel very strongly about everyone learning how to properly use a compass, I've written about that before on this blog. I was recently asked, and caught off guard, about what I considered to be the ten "essential" outdoor skills. The only reason I hesitated to answer was because I had a hard time narrowing the list down to just ten! When you stop and really think about it, there are so many things that we learn to do in order to be safe and enjoy our time outdoors (pitching a shelter, starting a fire, first aid, navigation, cooking, tying knots, signalling for help, using a knife, etc.).

View Above Trail Camp, Mt Whitney

A Simple Challenge:
Share your list of the top-10 outdoor skills that you think every backpacker should know (and be proficient at) via the comments below. I hadn't intended to make this a giveaway or formal competition, but as an added incentive I'll pick the response I think is best and send that person a small gear gift as a token of my appreciation. If you haven't already figured it out, the more you participate in this blog by sharing your comments and feedback, the more (we) and you gain from it. We're a community.

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