What Is Backcountry Camping?

Many of us enjoy camping. Spending the night under the glorious beauty of the stars in the sky, waking up with the crisp morning breeze and warm sun – or even listening to the rain tap on the top of your tent!

What Is Backcountry Camping?

However, there’s lots of different types of camping. One such type is known as backcountry camping.

In short, backcountry camping is a primitive form of camping which is miles away from any civilization. 

But of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. This handy guide that we’ve written below can help you to know much more about backcountry camping. 

We’ll look at what it is, how it works, what you should do and how to prepare (especially for emergencies!). 

Read on to learn more. 

What Exactly Is Backcountry Camping?

So, as we mentioned – backcountry camping is a type of camping which is much more primitive than camping in your local area or in your backyard! 

Typically, backcountry camping involves travelling way out in the wilderness, far from any human habitation.

The idea is to get really immersed with nature and be at one with your surroundings. 

As a result, you must be well trained in survival techniques.

This is because backcountry camping will involve all aspects of camping and self preservation without any of your homely touches. 

In other words, if you run out of food – you can’t simply drive to a burger joint!

You’ll need to source some of your own food. The same applies to water, shelter, warmth and other facilities. 

When people decide to go backcountry camping, normally they will begin with a long hike – which is one of the main parts of this type of camping.

There will be no vehicle access, so be prepared for a long hike over possibly some tough terrain. 

Often, a group of backcountry campers will have a final destination in mind and will be forced to camp several times before they reach their goal.

This gives backcountry camping an added boost of fun and adventure. 

Is Backcountry Camping Dangerous?

It certainly can be dangerous.

Because backcountry camping involves self sufficiency and a lack of amenities that you’d be used to in the towns and cities – there’s a very real chance that you can end up in a life threatening situation. 

To go backcountry camping, you must have an idea of basic skills like first aid, navigation, hunting or fishing, weather awareness and thermoregulation. 

The more experienced you are in these skills, the better placed you will be for the journey.

However, if you lack these skills or you do not have a lot of experience with these skills – it’s advised that you have someone with you that does. 

Having said this though, even with experienced survivalists – backcountry camping can be extremely dangerous. Below, we list just some of the dangers that could lie ahead. 

Dangers Of Backcountry Camping

So, as we said – backcountry camping can be extremely dangerous. Here’s some of the dangers that could befall even the most experienced among you. 


What Is Backcountry Camping?

Whilst wildlife is beautiful to observe and can be life saving when you’re hungry – some wildlife can be deadly.

Depending on your environment will depend on the type of wildlife you will potentially encounter.

You may possibly encounter dangerous animals such as bobcats, bears, wolves, cougars, snakes, spiders and even alligators. 

Don’t think that spotting a deer (You might want to check out How To Make A Homemade DIY Deer Feeder) is safe either – as they can be quite dangerous when threatened.

Not only this, they can attract predators which are not only deadly to them, but also you. 

Top tip: When camping, consider hanging your food and water supplies in a tree slightly away from camp. This should deter potential predators from coming directly to camp.

Lack Of Gear 

One of the dangers that often befalls people is the lack of gear.

This is usually for the more inexperienced backcountry camper, but even the most experienced have had times where they have overlooked something. 

Where some people falter is not differentiating from usual camping and backcountry camping.

Backcountry camping will need some more specialist gear and equipment. 

You will also need the right clothing for long hikes and weather changes – so it’s advisable to have a wet and dry system. 

You will also need cooking equipment, basic food supplies and water. Not only this, you will need to get yourself backcountry camping tents and sleeping bags (Check out How To Insulate A Tent For Winter Camping).

These are different from typical camping gear – so you may find it a little more expensive. 

Without the right gear, you could find yourself exposed to the elements or at risk of starvation and dehydration. 


It’s quite possible to get injured whilst backcountry camping.

This could be as basic as a muscle injury through hiking – and that can be dangerous if you’re in a position where you’d need to run. 

It’s also possible to sustain a serious injury. However, perhaps the most important aspect of injuries to consider is the risk of infection.

Even small cuts and grazes can lead to a deadly infection if it’s not treated and cleaned correctly. 

Therefore, you must have a basic knowledge of first aid (Also check out What Is An IFAK?) and the right first aid equipment. 

The Benefits Of Backcountry Camping

Now, despite all of the potential dangers – if you do everything right and take the correct precautions, you will find there are so many benefits of backcountry camping.

It can be one of the greatest sports and experiences you’ll ever do. 

Here’s some of the benefits:

  • You avoid the crowds 
  • You get away from pollution and get fresh air 
  • You experience and see things you wouldn’t normally 
  • You enjoy adventure 
  • You get immersed with nature 
  • You develop your survival skills 

The Bottom Line

Backcountry camping is one of the best sports and experiences you can do and can seriously benefit your survival skills – but you must also know its potential dangers if you plan to do it.

Tim Roth
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