Outdoor Blog Entries

What to Pack Out

Posted by Meagan L., UREC Outdoor Leader on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 8:00 AM PDT

We’ve all heard that when packing for a hike or a trip outdoors, we’re supposed to pack the 10 essentials and loads of other things. But sometimes we forget that whatever is packed into nature, must be packed out. In other words, pack it in, pack it out! This is an important Leave No Trace principle to follow. 

Depending on how long you are in nature usually determines how much stuff you will bring. For instance, a 3-hour hike is a lot less stuff versus a weeklong backpacking trip; meaning you will need to pack out food wrappers and some tissues. A weeklong backpacking trip, however, requires you to pack out your TP, and all your food wrappers and waste.

In my personal pack for a day trip of rock climbing. I’ve always got my 10 essentials before I leave. I also bring toilet paper, a small shovel or trowel, a coffee bag (if in a location requiring to pack out my human waste), and a garbage bag for any trash I find. Too often at crags (where climbers stand to belay or sit around) I see wrappers from food items, coffee cups, leftover food, brand new tags from climbing gear, and other random things including micro-trash. I often make an effort to remove these things when I am packing out, even if it was there before me and not mine. 

More times than not, humans forget that we are guests in nature. That the space we enter in nature is not our own, but everyone’s space that we all must take care of. Think about the motto: Leave it better than you found it. It’s easy to soak in the nice views and enjoy the fresh air, and if we all just take a couple of extra seconds to pack out our stuff it will help keep the places we visit in beautiful condition.