If hiking through the wilderness is at the top of your bucket list, you’re not alone. The beautiful scenery, epic trails, and campsites, and experiences of a lifetime make backcountry backpacking a major goal for any outdoor enthusiast. 

But, there’s a reason the idea stays on bucket lists and doesn’t get crossed off as often as other items. 

Backcountry backpacking can be dangerous, especially if you don’t take the proper precautions. If you’re a frequent backpacker, you already know some of the common injuries that can occur while hiking. But, you’re putting yourself at risk for things greater than blisters and scrapes when you’re exploring mostly-uncharted terrain. 

Still, if heading into the backcountry is a goal of yours, there’s no reason you can’t reach it with a little preparedness. Use the following safety tips and ideas as your ultimate guide to backpacking safely while in the backcountry. 

Plan Ahead

Perhaps the most important safety tip before you head out on your backcountry backpacking trip is to plan ahead as much as possible. That starts by making sure you pack the right essentials, including: 

You don’t want to overload your bag so it weighs you down. But, you’ll be happy to have these essentials on hand in case of an emergency, or just at the end of a long day on the trail. 

In addition to packing for your trip, you can also plan ahead by telling someone where you’re going. This should be typical standard practice even on shorter trips. But, it’s an especially important safety tip for more dangerous backpacking treks in the backcountry.

Let someone know exactly where you’ll be and when you’ll be there. If anything were to happen and people needed to look for you, they would have a better idea of where to find you quickly. 

Finally, prepare yourself by researching the weather and local terrain. What does the forecast look like for your trip? Knowing ahead of time will make it easier to make efficient packing decisions. 

Have Support

Bring your dog along when Backcountry Backpacking

Your dog can be a welcome companion when backcountry backpacking

Backpacking is a great way to find yourself and take advantage of some peace and quiet in an overly busy world. But, when you’re tackling rough terrain, having some kind of support system is important.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel with family or friends. But, you might consider bringing your canine companion along with you. 

Dogs should always be trained if you’re considering taking them along for your trek. You can train them yourself, hire a trainer, or go for a really thorough option by signing them up for a board-and-train program.

Once they learn to listen and obey basic commands on the trail, going backcountry backpacking with your dog can actually benefit your experience. They will offer a source of companionship and motivation as well as protection. 

Keep in mind that there are extra things you’ll need to bring if you backpack with your dog. You might even consider getting them their own little harness pack to keep things like food, treats, water, and waste bags. 

Another safety tip for backcountry backpacking is to keep your phone with you to make sure you have support on your adventure. It might go against any “off the grid” ideas you have.

But, keeping your phone charged and with you at all times will give you a way to call for help, if needed. It will also give you a way to connect with people back home if you’re struggling to stay motivated or you’re dealing with loneliness.

Having a support system, whether they’re right next to you in the form of a furry friend, or a thousand miles away, can make a big difference. 

Expect the Unexpected

Planning and preparing will always be important when you’re heading out on a backpacking excursion. But, no matter how well-prepared you are, you can’t predict everything that will happen on the trail. You might run into things like: 

  • Unexpected bad weather
  • Changes to the land due to erosion 
  • Wild animals that could be threatening
  • Malfunctioning equipment

There are things you can do to better prepare yourself for some of these situations. For example, one important safety tip for backcountry backpacking is to prepare to protect yourself from the threat of dangerous animals by carrying a firearm.

Whether you’re by yourself or hiking with your kids, make sure you know how to properly store your gun, and that you’ve received firearm training before using it. 

For other unexpected situations, you have to be willing to think on your feet. Backpacking in the backcountry takes more than strength and stamina – it takes a sharp mind.

Some of the best survivalists in the world are only able to do what they do because of their outdoor knowledge and willingness to think outside the box. 

If you’re ready to cross backcountry backpacking off your bucket list, there’s no better time to do it. But, keep these safety tips in mind to make sure it’s a positive experience that you’ll feel confident about every step of the way. 

Are you planning a trip to Manchester? The northern city of Manchester boasts a wide range of attractions to explore. However, if you are looking for a unique experience, you should take a look at these top 5 hidden gems in Manchester, which should definitely be added to your trip itinerary. 

 

1. The Hidden Gem Church

A Manchester hidden gem list would not be complete without the actual Hidden Gem Church, which is formally known as St Mary’s Catholic Church. It was built in 1794 and was quickly established as the symbol of the parish church. The hidden gem became a beacon of beauty in the middle of Manchester’s poorest areas. 

The church got its name after it was restored in the 1800s, which involved installing the beautifully carved altar that still stands today. You can pop into the church if you are by Lincoln Square in the city centre and take in all of its beauty, or you can even attend a mass. 

2. The City of Manchester Distillery

One of the best but underrated places to visit has to be the Manchester distillery, which was actually the first distillery ever built in the city of Manchester. If you’re a gin lover, you can enjoy the UK’s original Gin Experience or attend the Gin School to find out more about the gin-making process and, of course, try a few tasters.

Rum and vodka connoisseurs may prefer the rum and vodka experience, or you can even create your own spirit to suit your tastes. If you are planning a group trip, you can start your night out here with your friends or family and move onto some of Manchester’s amazing bars. 

3. Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens

Explore 90 acres of green space in Fletcher Moss Park

Manchester may be known for its industrialisation, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find any greenery. If you’re looking to get in touch with nature during your trip, you should head to Fletcher Moss Park and Botanical Gardens, where you can enjoy some quiet time away from the city or even a relaxing picnic in between attractions. 

Fletcher Moss Park is completely free to visit and is open from dusk ‘till dawn, so you can explore the 90-acre park any time you want. For a guided tour, you can join the Health Walk, which is held every Monday except for bank holidays and lasts for around an hour and a half.

This will help you get to know your locals, and you can enjoy some complimentary refreshments at the end of such a picturesque walk. 

4. The Washhouse

If you want to explore Manchester’s nightlife scene, you should definitely make a reservation at the ever-unique Washhouse. From the outside, it looks like a traditional laundrette; however, once you venture inside, you will find a hidden doorway to a secret cocktail bar. 

The Washhouse is an exclusive cocktail bar that is frequented by locals who are in-the-know. Here, you will find an eclectic range of cocktails, an impressive house music playlist and even disco toilets. If you’re planning a trip to The Washhouse, make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

5. Afflecks

Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter of Manchester

Afflecks Palace in the Northern Quarter of Manchester

Manchester is known for its fast-fashion scene. However, if you are looking for a unique shopping experience, you should take a trip to Afflecks. This is a well-known shopping emporium filled with some of the best independent traders, including vintage retailers, fancy dress specialists, and even tattoo artists. 

Afflecks is located in the city’s Northern Quarter which is just around the corner from some of Manchester’s most popular bars, so you can enjoy a drink or two after a full day of shopping. 


Now, you know where all the hidden gems are located, you should add them to your list and start planning the rest of your trip. This could include applying for your visa if you need one, booking accommodation, or checking what the Manchester weather is like. 

 

 

The UK is known for its fascinating historical sites, which can be found across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. If you are planning a trip to the UK, you should definitely consider adding some of the UK’s most historical cities to your must-see list.

There are a wide range of historical cities to choose from, so to narrow down your choices, here are some of the most popular historic locations in the UK.

Oxford

Visit Oxford, one of the most historical cities in the UK

Visit Oxford, one of the most historical cities in the UK

Oxford is the home of the prestigious Oxford University, which is the second oldest university in the world, just behind the University of Bologna in Italy. Even if you’re not attending lectures, you can still wander around the university, explore the gardens, brush up on your reading at the Bodleian Library, and admire the Radcliffe Camera building.

A trip to Oxford isn’t complete without a trip the Oxford Castle, which was built in 1071. You can take in the castle’s beauty from the Saxon St George’s Tower, the oldest building in Oxfordshire.

If you want to squeeze in a trip to the capital while you are visiting Oxford, it is just a short train ride away. In London, you can enjoy plenty more historical sites, sightseeing hotspots and, of course, shopping.

 

Durham

Visit the cathedral and castle of Durham

Visit the historical cathedral and castle of Durham

Durham is known as the jewel of the northeast for a reason, as it is home to the magnificent Durham Cathedral, a popular UNESCO heritage site. This Norman building is home to the shrine of St Cuthbert, which was constructed between 1093 and 1133.

Durham castle sits at the heart of the world heritage site. This beautiful structure was built in the 11th century and is now home to the students of University College, which is part of the prestigious Durham University.

Away from the world heritage site is the picturesque Crook Hall and gardens, a medieval manor first constructed in 1217. Both the building and the five acres of English gardens are a sight to see. You can stroll through the gardens every Sunday to Wednesday while enjoying a spot of tea in the Georgian drawing room.

 

Chester

Visit the walled city of Chester in the UK

Visit the historical walled city of Chester in the UK

Chester is located in the northwest of England and is known for its ancient wall, which encloses the city. It’s one of the most historical cities in the UK, since the walls are the oldest and longest-standing barricades in all of the United Kingdom.

However, instead of being used for protection, the locals use the walls as a relaxing promenade spot.

Since the Middle Ages, Chester has been known as a bustling market town and still is to this day. If you are a shopping addict, you should wander through the many shops near Watergate and Bridge Street where you can pick up something for yourself or a loved one back home.

In Chester, you will find the world’s oldest racecourse, which was established in 1539 and is still in operation. If you are lucky, you may get tickets to a race even or even a concert. However, keep in mind that if you go in the colder months, you definitely need to wrap up warm, as rain is basically constant during winter.

 


 Now you’ve got some inspiration, you can start planning your historic city trip to the UK. You may also want to start on your packing list, as you need to make sure that you have the right clothes for the unpredictable UK climate (which is mostly cold).

A visit to Denali National Park has the potential to be one of the most memorable adventures you will ever experience. The vast national park located in interior Alaska offers some breathtaking views, including spectacular sights like Mt. McKinley and other peaks. This expansive park also features scenic wilderness with a unique boreal and tundra landscape. 

The best part is that the national park offers something to all types of travelers and explorers. Whether you seek adventure, or prefer to relax in the wilderness, this national park provides options for both. Here’s a comprehensive list of the five best things to do in Denali National Park.

 

1. Bus Tours

The national park spreads across a whopping 7408 square miles, and bus tours are the best way to explore it all. No Denali expedition is complete without taking one of the three renowned bus tours of the National Park.

Though all three bus tours are full-day activities, they cover different distances, sights, and experiences. The Tundra Wilderness Tour takes eight hours and is the most popular among the three.

It covers wildlife, landscapes, and plants of the national park. You can expect a few restroom stops and quick breaks for stretching your legs and photographs.

2. Hiking

Denali National Park is an adventure enthusiast’s paradise. The national park offers adventurous hiking trails leading to scenic views. Whether you are looking for a day hike, customizable hikes for large groups, or multi-day hikes, you can find all these things to do in Denali.

You can take one of the many guided hiking tours offered by professionals, or choose to hike on your own. If going your own way, the maintained hiking trails at the entrance of the park and the Denali Backcountry are the two options available for you.

Any which way, hiking through the wilderness of this national park is indeed bliss. Ensure you pack the appropriate hiking gear and follow all safety precautions if you wish to hike on your own.

3. Flightseeing

Fancy a bird’s eye view of the national park and the reserve? Make a once in a lifetime memory and splurge on a flightseeing tour over Denali National Park. What better way can you take in the mighty mountain peaks than by soaring above them?

Instead of a flight, you can also go for a helicopter, some of which actually land on the glaciers. Or maybe you want to opt for Heli-hiking to combine an epic helicopter ride with an adventurous hike through the backcountry. 

Flightseeing is an ideal option for people who prefer sitting in a relaxed airplane while witnessing the wildlife and plants from a higher view. The duration and distance of the flight seeing excursions differ from company to company. So, it’s better to compare various flight seeing services and select the one matching your preference.

4. Off-roading

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, it’s time to get your feet dirty by hopping onto an ATV or a Jeep across the muddy trails of this Alaskan national park. You can either enjoy an off road adventure as a passenger or take control by hiring a vehicle for yourself.

The jeep excursions take you through the national park highways, whereas the ATV rides take you through the Denali backcountry. You can also stop your ATV wherever you want for a quick photoshoot. Regardless of the vehicle, off-roading is one of the best things to do in Denali National Park.

5. River Rafting

Part of the beauty of Denali National Park is the impressive rivers that cut through the landscape. Is there a better way to explore those majestic waters than in a raft? River rafting not just allows you to explore the rivers, but also offers a unique view of the glaciers and wildlife across river banks.

You can opt for a relaxing trip on the Nenana River or go for a more adventurous rafting trip packed with adrenaline. Here again, there is a multitude of options depending on whether you want to grab a paddle along with the professional guide or sit back and enjoy the view.

There are also options ranging from a quick two-hour rafting experience to an entire day trip that includes a picnic lunch on the beautiful riverbanks.

Final Thoughts

That sums up the list of the five best things to do in Denali National Park. Hopefully, the list inspires you to create a fantastic itinerary that matches your preferences. You can also check out the Visitor Center at the park’s entrance to get a better picture of the things you can do during your trip.

Are you planning a trip to Ireland in the near future? If so, you should consider adding one of the many long-distance hikes in Ireland to your bucket list. 

The best time to go hiking in Ireland is between May and October, as temperatures are slightly warmer, and you can enjoy pleasant weather during your hike. However, it’s important that you pack the right gear, should random rainfall occur. 

Many of the long-distance backpacking trails in Ireland will allow you to enjoy Ireland off the beaten path. During a hike, you may come across quaint villages which are definitely not on the average tourist’s radar. 

There is a wide range of long-distance hikes in Ireland, where you can either camp along the way or find accommodation in the middle of your chosen route. As there are so many long-distance hiking trails to select from in Ireland, we have narrowed down some of the best treks available to explore. 

1. Kerry Way  (214 km)

Torc Waterfall which stands at the base of Torc Mountain within the Killarney National Park.

Torc Waterfall in the Killarney National Park

Kerry Way is one of the longest signposted hiking trails in Ireland which begins and ends in Killarney, a popular coastal town in the Republic of Ireland. Killarney is known for its brightly coloured 19th-century architecture, including St Mary’s Cathedral. 

This hiking trail is a circular route that typically takes around 7 to 10 days to complete. Despite the length of the hike, it is a fairly easy route that is accessible to all levels. Although the terrain does differ, with everything from sturdy tarmac roads to boggy national parkland and farm areas. 

Along the way, you will discover interesting castle ruins and ancient Celtic monuments, as well as stunning mountain landscapes. At the start of the hike, you can also enjoy the beautiful Torc Waterfall, which stands at the base of Torc Mountain within the Killarney National Park. 

2. The Wicklow Way (128 km)

Wicklow Mountains National Park along the Wicklow Way - one of the best long distance hikes in Ireland

The J. B. Malone memorial above Lough Tay in the Wicklow Mountains National Park

The Wicklow Way is one of the most challenging backpacking trails in Ireland. The trail takes around 7 days in total, starting in the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham and crossing 26 peaks throughout Dublin and the Wicklow mountains. The hiking trail ends in the small village of Clonegal in County Carlow.

The most popular route along the Wicklow Way is the north to south route, however, you can also take the south to the north route if you wish to start on low terrain and work your way up. 

Whatever route you take, you will be able to enjoy a wide range of sights including Marlay Park, Fairy Castle, the Powerscourt waterfall, the peaks of Djouce, and more. 

3. The Irish segment of the E8 Long Distance Trail (650 km)

Walk the start of the E8 Long-Distance Trail - one of the best long distance hikes in Ireland

Walk the westernmost portion of the E8 Long-Distance Trail in Ireland

The E8 trail was established as Europe’s first long-distance hike, and it starts in Ireland in Cork’s Dursey Island – the westernmost tip of Europe. The whole trail stretches to Istanbul, Turkey, although the Irish section begins at Dursey Island and ends in Dublin City.

Part of the route overlaps with some of the best long-distance hikes in Ireland including the Wicklow Way, the Kerry Way, the South Leinster Way, and the Blackwater Way. 

The Irish segment of the E8 trail goes from coast to coast and allows you to see all of rural Ireland including the bogs, mountains, windy country roads, old castles, and even ancient burial sites. 

4. Dingle Way (183 km)

Cliffs along the Dingle Way towards Slea Head

Cliffs along the Dingle Way towards Slea Head

Ireland’s Dingle Way is a circular backpacking trail that covers the Dingle Peninsula and takes around 6 to 8 days to complete. This is an easy to moderate walk with well-maintained terrain throughout. 

The Dingle Way starts and ends in Tralee, in the South-west county of Kerry. Tralee is known for its yearly Rose of Tralee International Festival, which is held every August. This is a contest that celebrates Irish women all over the world.

The Dingle Way offers stunning views of beautiful beaches, lively towns, and mountains. When you get to the foot of Mount Bradon, the difficulty of the trail increases, however, it’s nothing the average hiker can’t handle. 

5. The Beara Way (206 km)

Beara Peninsula countryside on the Beara Way - one of the best long distance hikes in Ireland

Beara Peninsula countryside on the Beara Way

The Beara Way is a circular long-distance hike in Ireland that begins and ends in Glengarriff, a tiny village in the Beara Peninsula of County Cork. It takes about 8 to 12 days to complete the entire backpacking trail, however, you can start the hike at various points.

Most of the backpacking trail is dry, there are parts of the walk that are boggy, so it’s advised that you bring waterproof shoes. There are also various steep climbs and rough terrain, so it’s important you stay focused while you walk.

During the walk, you will come across spectacular Atlantic views, as well as plenty of wild mountainous land. You will also have the pleasure of visiting Bere Island during the trail, where you will find historic military buildings, plenty of heritage, and even the opportunity to go whale watching. 


The collection of long-distance hikes in Ireland does not stop here, as there are plenty more backpacking trails and sights to explore on The Emerald Isle. 

For more facts on travel in Ireland, take a look at our Backpacking Ireland guide, which uncovers everything you need to know about Ireland including where to stay. It also discusses things to do while you are there, as well as Republic of Ireland visa requirements and work permit information. 

The Best Long Distance Hikes in Ireland