Backpacking Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2419 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 26  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Recreation


" Such preparation implies that every camper or backpacker must have his or her own emergency kit that contains aluminum-packaged sugar, hard candy, cookies, chocolate, salt, canned meat, dehydrated foods, water, rope, clasp knife, matches, shelter-half, tarpaulin or rubberized poncho, a light sleeping bag, and a first aid kit (Shivers & Shivers, p. 275).

Besides learning to be responsible for the physiological well-being of others and the self, backpackers must also consciously take care of the environment. Indeed, damage to natural and cultural resources due to visitors' violation of protective rules has become a major problem facing recreation management agencies. In fact, such damage not only results in adverse psychological effects on other visitors, it also leads to millions of dollars being unnecessarily spent on restoration of outdoor recreation areas (Bonifeld, 1995).

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Although government and outdoor recreation management agencies now try to strictly enforce environmental regulations, the fact is that preservation of the environment still largely and perhaps even primarily depends on backpackers possessing a sense of social responsibility. Perhaps this is the reason why leisure and recreation research studies advocate the deployment of prosocial behavior theory: "prosocial behavior theory suggests that one key to promoting rule of conformity in recreation areas is to use information and education to increase visitors' awareness of the negative consequences for resources of disobeying protective rules." (Bonifeld et al., 1995)

TOPIC: Term Paper on Backpacking Is Often Regarded as Assignment

In fact, the importance of backpackers respecting the need for preserving natural, social, and cultural resources assumes even more significance given the dramatic increase in outdoor recreation activities and the ever growing popularity of hiking, camping, and backpacking. In the United States, for example, recreation visits to the U.S. Forest Service lands have jumped from 4.6 million visits in 1924 to 900 million in 1999. Similarly, recreation visits to National Park Service areas were 33 million in 1950, increasing more than five-fold to 172 million in 1970, and then more modestly to 258 million in 1990, and 287 million in 1999 (Marion & Reid, 2001).

Thus, while backpacking may be a highly enjoyable and rewarding activity, it is also one that involves developing and exercising a deep love and knowledge for the environment. Wilderness backpackers, in particular, must also learn to develop a healthy respect for the risks and dangers that may be inherent in traversing long, lonely stretches. In fact, as research on the flow experience in leisure settings indicates, the fears experienced and the negotiation strategies employed can either diminish or enhance the backpacking experience. A solo hiker, for instance, may go through a flow experience when the objective and perceived challenges of the hike (i.e. terrain; length; climate; wildlife risks; perceived fears) are balanced with the skills (i.e. physical capabilities; experience; judgment) of the hiker (Coble, 2003).

If the objectives or perceived challenges of the trip exceed the backpacker's capabilities, anxiety and discomfort ensue leading to diminished enjoyment. On the other hand, if the backpacker's knowledge and skills allow him to negotiate all challenges well, then the trip can prove to be an immensely beneficial experience in terms of exercise, stress relief, personal time, experiencing nature, loving life, and simply having fun (Coble, 2003).

Interestingly, the benefits of backpacking or solitary travel have long been recognized by human kind. In fact, it seems that cultures across the globe have practiced varying degrees of solo backpacking for thousands of years. For example, Australian Aboriginals would disappear into the bush to practice the custom of "walkabout," which was believed to be essential to the journey of self-discovery. Similarly, Native Americans believed that an individual must travel alone to search for the vision of life (Hlawaty, 2003).

In conclusion, it is evident that backpacking is an activity that results in more than just exploring new countries, places or the wilderness. For backpacking not only promotes an individual's physiological and psychological well-being, it deepens an individual's understanding of life. But perhaps the greatest benefit of backpacking is that it often proves to be a journey of self-discovery!

Works Cited

Bonifeld, R.L., Gramann, J.H., & Kim, Yong-Geun. "Effect of Personality and Situational Factors on Intentions to Obey Rules in Outdoor Recreation Areas." Journal of Leisure Research. 1995. Vol. 27: 4, p. 326+.

Coble, T.G., Erickson, B.B., & Selin, S.W. "Hiking Alone: Understanding Fear,

Negotiation Strategies and Leisure Experience." Journal of Leisure Research. 2003. Vol. 35:1, p. 1+.

Deegan, P. "Carry on Traveling." Geographical. April 2000. Vol. 72: 4, p. 70.

Gregory, J. "How to See the World." Accessed Oct. 23, 2004:

Hamilton, M. "Our 5-step guide to backpacking basics." May

2004. Accessed Oct. 24, 2004:,2646,7446,00.html

Hlawaty, S. "Solo backpacking nothing new." North Forty News. September 2003.

Accessed Oct. 24, 2004:

Kenny, G. "Our Travelers out There on the Road: Lonely Planet and Its Readers,

1973-1981." Journal of Australian Studies. P. 111. University of Queensland Press.

Marion, J.L., & Reid, S.E. "Development of the U.S. Leave No Trace Program: An

Historical Perspective." January 2001. Accessed Oct. 24, 2004:

Merry, W. "Wilderness First-Aid Basics." Mother Earth News. August-September

1995. Vol. 151, p. 30+.

Miller, J. "Get out and go ... backpacking." October 24, 2003.

Accessed Oct. 23, 2004:

Neville, P. "The Positives and Negatives of Solo Backpacking."

Nov. 21, 2003. Accessed Oct. 24, 2004:

Shivers Jay S., & Shivers Jay Sanford. "Camping: Organization and Operation."

Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989.

Valles, C. "Finding the wild child." The Durango Telegraph. Accessed… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Backpacking" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Backpacking.  (2004, October 25).  Retrieved August 2, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Backpacking."  25 October 2004.  Web.  2 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Backpacking."  October 25, 2004.  Accessed August 2, 2021.