Games For Backpackers
By Steven Gillman
What are the best games for backpackers? Apart
from being ones that you will actually enjoy, they need to be
lightweight and easy to carry. Here are some suggestions, some for
games that don't even need to be carried anywhere but in your head.
Chess - Years ago I took a white handkerchief and
used a ruler and pen to draw lines on it, making an eight-by-eight
grid of squares. I darkened in the appropriate ones with a permanent
marker to create a chess board. Then I bought $3 chess set, threw
out the board, and put the lightweight chessmen in a small plastic
bag with my folded up cloth board. I have taken this 3-ounce game
with me to other countries and on many backpacking trips over the
Card Games - A deck of cards weighs just a few
ounces. You can even get a miniature deck if you want to really cut
that weight. When it comes to lightweight games for backpackers,
this is a great idea, because there are perhaps a hundred different
ones which can be played with one deck of cards. You probably
already know a few, including games like solitaire that don't
require another player.
Mancala - If you have never played this one, you
can look up the simple rules online. The game usually consists of a
wooden board with six depressions carved out on each side, and a
larger "bank" on either end, plus 24 glass beads per side. There are
no boards I have seen that are small enough for backpacking, but
once you know the game, it can be played on the shore of a sandy
lake or stream by digging two rows of six holes and putting four
pebbles or pine cones in each.
Tic-Tac-Toe - This classic can be played on any
piece of paper if you have some with you. Alternately, you can
scratch out a tic-tac-toe board in the dirt, or make one with four
straight sticks. If you don't want to scratch your x's and o's in
the ground, you can just use five each of two different objects,
like pebbles and pine cones.
Survival Games - There are many "survival games"
that you can play without needing to carry anything. If the members
of your group know a few wild edible plants, for example, you can
challenge each other to spot the first wild raspberry or cattail
plant as you hike. On winding trails you can each guess what your
heading is before checking the compass, to see who is closer.
When in camp for the night, you can play mental
games like creating a survival scenario and trying to think of the
best way to get out safely. You can pick an item like a pine cone or
a trekking pole and then see who can think of the most ways to use
it in a survival situation. Of all the games for backpackers, these
are some of my favorites, because they are fun and they hone your
skills and knowledge.
Copyright Steve Gillman. See the Wilderness
Survival Guide, get the ebook "Ultralight Backpacking Secrets (And
Wilderness Survival Tips)" as well as gear recommendations and
stories at: http://www.The-Ultralight-Site.com
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