Camping, Hiking and Backpacking Plans for this Year


It's been a crazy year and I'm eager to get outside and spend some time with mother nature. I sure I'm not the only one. There is probably going to be a giant swarm of people at the big popular spots. I just hope that they practice good leave-no-trace practices. There's quite a few places that I want to check out near my home state of Michigan. Right now, its rather cold though, so it's almost too early to start camping. However, once the weather gets to be a little nicer, I'm planning on hiking at least one overnight trail a month. I'll probably have to start in late March, in the more southern parts.

Consider this post part planning, part gear discussion and part message to take care of our backcountry areas.

Travel Plans

Most of these places are in Michigan, or close to Michigan, but these are my rough hiking plans for 2021.

Morth Manitou Island

This is a pretty short hike overall. Only 14 miles, but the location makes up for it. This is supposedly a great location for stargazing, since you're in the middle of the lake with not a lot of artificial light. Really looking forward to this. Probably going to go in June or so. Campsites here book super fast.

Porcupine Mountain Wilderness Loop

This trail is way up in the Porcupine Mountains, or the Porkies as some call them. There's a beautiful view of Lake of the Clouds. I want to hit this in the fall. Probably September or October.

Potawatomi Trail

I would like to hit this trail earlier in the season. It's much further south, so it should be less snowy sooner. I've done this one a few times, and mosquitos are fucking brutal here in the Summer. This is looking to be my March or April hike.

Lakeshore Trail at Pictured Rocks

This is probably the hike I'm most looking forward too. It runs for 40 something miles right along the north coast of the UP and goes right through Pictured Rocks. The only downside I hear is that there are an incredible amount of mosquitos and biting flies. But, you have to embrace the suck a little to get that view. This will probably be in late summer. Campsites here book very fast as well, so I need to schedule something now.

Manistee River Trail

Instead of hiking this, this is actually going to be an overnight canoe trip. Basically we put in the north part of the manistee river, then paddle downriver, camp overnight one night and wrap it up. This is gonna be very chill. Moderately looking forward to this. Early Summer or so.

140-Mile Visionary Trail

More of a strech goal than an actual planned hike, I want to do a longer solo hike at some point this year, if I can get the time off. This is an extension of the popular 45 mile Knobstone Trail. In the south it follow the first 45 miles of the original Knobstone Trail. Then there is the Pioneer Trail consisting of 39 miles connecting Spurgeon Hollow (KT mile 45) to the Hoosier National Forest). Then five miles of the Pioneer Trail which is on well maintained trail on private easements, the other 34 miles is a scenic road walk on county roads.

Gear and Kit

I'm not one to stress too much over gear, but I do like to prioritize being somewhat lightweight. I have more fun when I don't have to carry so much. It doesn't really bother me to go without. I kinda go hiking to strip away some of the comforts and get a little more earthy.

I'm planning on hammocking whenever possible. I'm going with a 30 degree down quilt and underquilt. My pack is a Zpacks Arc Haul. They are super lightweight and are great for cases where you're not carrying like 10 days worth of stuff.

For a stove and cook setup I have a TOAKS alcohol stove and a little 550ml pot. Most of my meals are going to be either no-cook snacks, or dehydrated food.

My rain gear is by Outdoor Research. They make super solid gear that I would reccomend. My clothes are probably going to change up quite a bit over the year, but my first couple of hikes are gonna be cold.

If you really care about my full gear list, here is a Lighterpack link.

Leave-no-Trace and New Hikers

I'm kinda worried about new hikers not taking care of nature. Like I said earlier, people are just as stir crazy as I am during these winter months. I'm more than willing to share the trail, but I don't want to have to share a trail with their garbage and poop piles.

Here's hoping that everyone does good Leave-no-Trace.