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Plan Ahead and Prepare

Posted by on November 14, 2019

Plan Ahead and Prepare

In the Backcountry

Prior knowledge about the conditions within your area of travel will help inform you about what kind of gear will be necessary and what to expect:

  • Local Climate
  • Daylight Hours
  • Terrain
  • Vegetation
  • Wildlife
  • Insects
  • Water Availability
  • Remoteness
  • Natural hazards

Andrew Skurka wrote a great post on this a few years ago called “Be Prepared? Absolutely. But Against What?” that really informed how I planned and prepared for my trip on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Everything I Carried with me on the Florida National Scenic Trail

Big Picture

Applying Leave No Trace principals to our everyday lives requires prior knowledge about how we create, distribute, and consume natural resources that use every day. Climate change is the result of our demand, and its effects are truly global and impact people and ecosystems disproportionately. The global plan to mitigate and adapt to these wide-ranging effects requires us to:

  • Reduce the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere
  • Enhance natural systems that store these gases (forests, oceans, soils)
  • Reduce our vulnerability to the harmful effects of climate change (flooding, extreme weather, food insecurity)
  • Maximize the benefits of a warming climate (longer growing seasons in some areas)

NASA has some great posts on the evidence, causes, effects, scientific consensus, and data about climate change which serves as a great way to learn the basics, and to continually check in on our progress as things change over time

On an Individual Level

We can make Leave-No-Trace-influenced lifestyle decisions aimed towards mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change by:

  • Getting a baseline for how much you use ( is an awesome, awesome way to find out)
  • Eating sustainably, namely through eating more plants, sustainable sources of meat and fish, and simply not wasting food
  • Buy less, to buy sustainable products, and re-use and recycle whenever possible
  • Change to “clean” energy sources that are not created through the use of fossil fuels
  • Vote in your local, state, and national elections for climate-conscious leaders
  • Make your voice heard, and don’t be afraid to talk about climate change like we usually just talk about the weather (there’s a huge difference!). Write to businesses and corporations, to your local politicians, and on social media urging us all to take real action through the methods above
  • Support local initiatives that are making our communities more sustainable, and protecting and restoring our ecosystems

The World Wildlife Fund has a great set of posts about where our impacts come from and how we can make simple changes in our lives to greatly reduce our impacts on the planet

Types of resources that lead to your carbon footprint. Image found on Pinterest

For Me

Having a plan is the most important part of LNT, and prior knowledge is the key to a good plan. In part, this looks like having a set of well-honed skills like:

  • Navigation with paper maps and GPS
  • How to pack out or bury my poop in a dignified way
  • How to collect water without contaminating the source.

In planning and preparing to leave no trace, a depth and breadth of experience and a solid fundamental understanding of these principals goes a long way. However, my plan is to continually find ways that I can reduce my impact on the environment over time. If you have suggestions about how I can reduce my impact, leave them in the comments below!

Cowboy camp at Waimoau Stream at Cape Reinga

Ask me anything, tell me something I don't know, or just say hi!