ex_oct_09-HP_jpg_t285The last issue of explore created lots of conversation amoungst my friends and workmates, and before it leaves the magazine racks to be replaced by the newest issue, I'd like to share a bit of enlightenment the "backpacking nude" article gave me. I Most definitely live a sheltered life compared to most of my friends and workmates when it comes to being nude in the woods.

I'll proudly state that skinny dipping while camping is norm for me. I've even paddled a canoe naked and sat in a squirt boat wearing nothing but neoprene booties. I'll even state that lying in a hammock around camp nude, even though it my not be the best idea I've ever had, is off my check list now and I'm proud of it. What I hadn't done is go backpacking through the woods nude; and I thought that was a common activity missing in my time spent outdoors - that is until I read on Facebook a long list of my "friends" who had.

They all said it was one of the most uplifting things they've ever done, giving them a sense of connectedness to nature like none other. Friend Fiona added that she's not out there to startle other hikers but rather to be alone and completely aware of her surroundings. Trent was against static nudity and claimed walking naked in the woods was what true nudism was all about. Peter said that taking part in the annual Naked Hiking Day, which happens on the first day of summer, should be considered a National holiday for all nature lovers. And they all cited their inspiration from backpacker guru Colin Fletcher who, in his classic 1967 book The Man Who Walked Through Time trekked through the bottom of the Grand Canyon wearing nothing but socks and hiking boots. Fletcher made the claim that "The best dress for walking is nakedness."

But is it dangerous. With a good supply of sunscreen and bug spray, it's a relatively safe activity. Just check the laws in your region. Naked hikers go out of their way not to be seen but if you do happen to be caught in the act where it's against the law it's more then a little embarrassing. Stephen Gough, known as the Naked Rambler, may have become famous for walking the length of Great Britain wearing nothing but boots, socks, backpack and sometimes a hat, was arrested and imprisoned several times during the course of his nude ramble.