10 Reasons You Should Not Go Backpacking

In response to yesterday’s overly optimist piece in support of the great outdoors, another one of our writers eloquently attempts to curtail the practice.

1. “Adventure”
By far one of the biggest optimistic misconceptions that exist. Most people might believe this common lie to be scaling mountains and participating in a transcendent experience with nature that “you’ll never forget.” Because we all know that losing cell reception when trying to call 911 in the wilderness is an experience you’ll never forget, or possibly you literally can’t forget. Dead people can’t forget.

2. Wildlife
The Revenant.” If you’re familiar with the movie that accurately depicts nature and “its beauties,” you might catch my drift. Just ask Leo. He literally had a better chance surviving the icy arctic waters in the Titanic than facing our famous furball in the Revenant. He got his voice box ripped out, and lost his son somewhere in the mix. Grizzlies don’t care for humans, in fact, they’d rather role play as Jack the Ripper.

Leonardo DiCaprio in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Revenant”, 2015 (20th Century Fox)

3. Hammocks
Have you ever walked into a grocery store and picked up a perfectly prepared packaged sandwich? This is a beautiful thing, and can even be done by most 3-year-olds. Well keep this in mind, as hammocks have earned the proper appropriate title of “bear burritos.” Yes, this luscious burrito of a human wrapped in an ENO is perfect for any 3-year-old, 500 pound bear-child to stumble along and take a generous bite out of. Like most 3-year-olds, it’ll destroy it beyond any recognition. The rescue team may only find your hair.

4. Vulnerability
Ever slept without heat, a civilized bathroom, or protection? I assure you that’s these realities are real battles that have been fought and won by heroes in history before us. Simply put, we now don’t have to worry about cutting off fingers due to frostbite, no running water, or twisted locals that “don’t see newcomers often.” Yes, “Deliverance” taught us to steer clear of banjos. When camping, you are choosing to sleep in the open. No walls. No roof. No dignity. You’re quite literally a pinata for all those good ‘ole boys who lurk in the shadows. Your imagination can work that one out.

Actual photo of “Little Smokey,” who became the mascot of Smokey Bear from 1975 to his death in 1990. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)

5. Campfires
Alright, so you say you’ve disagree with my point of warmth by providing a juvenile proposition to make a fire. Well, if you’ve never heard the heartbreaking chronicle of Smoky the Bear, I’ll do my best to persuade any common sense you may have. Smoky was a cute baby cub. An arrogant camper started a fire. The forests died. Smoky was left an orphan, homeless, and almost burnt to a crisp. The end. If we’re honest with ourselves, there were definitely other cubs that didn’t make it that day. Do you genuinely desire to be a cub killer?

6. Roadtrips
Confined space for hours on end in very close proximity to others en route to a specific location. Yes, it sounds like you are being trafficked by a drug cartel who are going to sell your organs. But no, sadly this is actually something voluntarily opted for by some people who carpool to other activities – that could actually end up getting you kidnapped by an actual drug cartel. As for me, I’ll make friends another way.

7. Food
If you don’t mind pretending to be in a third-world country’s food donation commercial, backpacking actually might be for you. You may ask how I correlate the two. My answer, the food. If you enjoy the cramps that come from a steady diet of protein bars and oatmeal, then you too may like wandering the wilderness with, in the words of Brian Regan, “your insides feeling like they want to be outside.”

8. Petty Profile Pics
So you think that cliff side will make a hip profile picture. Just realize you may have to trade your well-being for that sick shot. This is no gorilla pen in Cincinnati where a zookeeper will save you from the clutches of death. This is the wilderness. Please refer to point number one.

These guys are definitely having a better time than you.

9. Third Wheeling
Have you ever felt alienated and unwanted? You too can feel like an orphan as you hike the countryside with those college sweethearts that act more intensely than married couples. They might even drive you to search out that bear hug from our aforementioned fur ball.

10. People
Well, if there was any foundation of a friendship it’s most likely been eroded by the inevitable tensions due to your company living in sub-par survival conditions. Just accept the facts. It’s mere science.

Nic Reynolds is a contributor and photographer for the Daily Runner.