Originally Posted by YGirl
So anyway, by "practicing" I meant that he is practicing short hikes with his backpack and gear, and also experimenting with different food combinations to take with him.
That's not a bad idea at all.
He probably knows this, but backpacking alone, or only with other less experienced folks, is strongly
discouraged. Especially alone! If you're alone AND relatively inexperienced, you can get into some serious trouble. Backpacking with a partner is always strongly recommended, because if you do run into trouble ... at least the other guy or gal can hike out and bring help. First trips should be short, so "civilization" isn't too far out of reach, if needed. The worst case scenario is for a newbie to pack too far into the wilderness alone!
And a backpacking team (or soloist, for the advanced) should ALWAYS report where they're headed and how long they plan to be out -- to at least one, preferably two folks who are are back in "civilization". This way, if they are very late returning a rescue team can be sent in to find them. Which could save their lives.
I am not into hardcore survival camping
Nor am I. Nor are most backpackers. If you have acquired basic knowledge of backpacking and basic wilderness survival skills (most of which will never be needed!), backpacking isn't at all about "surviving," its mainly about being able to get into actual wilderness areas, away from roads, cars, trucks.... Also, many fantastic hiking destinations, such as mountain lakes, can't be reached any other way, since they're far from roads. Other times, you can get to your destination in a day hike, but have to immediatly return or you'll have to hike back in the dark -- which can result in serious injury or worse.
There's a mountain lake near where I live that I've not yet seen, as it's just too many miles a hike to get to -- and with no roads in. We could hike it in a day. Kevin did that with a friend. But they couldn't stay and ENJOY the lake destination, or they would have been stranded in the dark. When I go to see that lake, I can set up my tent and camp gear and then RELAX and enjoy the lake -- and watch the sun rise over the lake in the morning, with a nice cup of hot tea and some breakfast!
Backpacking is a perfectly safe activity, and not a survival game. But it's only safe when you have skills appropriate to the task at hand, and proper equipment. Those skills and equipment needs vary depending on how long you'll be out, how far you're going, where you're headed, and so forth. Backpacking is best learned from others with plenty of experience, whether via books or via heading into the wilderness with them--, after they've checked your gear.
Finally, a lot of really fine gear is now available which makes packs much lighter and easier to carry over long distances. Packs are now designed to fit and work with the body as never before. Special water filters allow well planned trips without need of carrying in water, except perhaps a liter. One doesn't have to be an athelete to head into the wilderness, far from roads and cars -- and stay the night, comfortably.