Carefully designing your trip to match your expectations and outdoor skill level is the first step in being prepared. If you do not have a tent, stove or proper clothing to stay warm and comfortable in unexpected poor weather, you may be forced to build fire inappropriately over crowd shelters, or disregard fragile vegetation while setting up camp to get out of the elements. While impact concerns are clearly secondary to visitor safety, careful planning can go a long way toward ensuring that trade-offs between these two are unnecessary.
Know the area and what to expect. Consult guidebooks, local land managers, owners or outing clubs about the character and popularity of your intended destination. Many wildland areas suffer from overuse-visiting alternative locations can often provide a better backcountry experience. Obtain any appropriate permits or landowner permission before your trip begins. For safety’s sake, know emergency phone numbers and tell someone back home where you’re going and when you’ll return.