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Do you need to carry a gun while backpacking of camping? There is not a definite answer to this question. Smart campers need to be able to have a reasonable discussion on this topic. Discussion of guns often turns in attacks against a person or group.
There are many reasonable gun owners that have training as well permits. Some people are still uncomfortable around guns even the legal ones. There have been hikers that have carried guns for many years. This does not mean that a person cannot take the time to learn how to be responsible with a gun.
Why start to carry a gun?
I took a 7 day trip to the mountains with a friend. These mountains were known for having a lot of grizzly bears. We had nothing but a can of pepper spray us. Everyone that we met were surprised that we did not have a gun. They thought we were crazy to be in Alaska without a gun. It was not something that was on our minds.
When we got back we did not even realize how bad things should have been such as getting attacked by a bear. After that experience I decided that I needed to start caring a gun. I usually have one only in an area where I feel I would need additional protection.
What do people need protection from?
Possibly animals can pose a danger. The odds of getting attacked by an animal are very slim unless a person is tempting them by carrying food. Even the bears will not bother campers as long as they clean up after themselves. I would still rather have protection than to be without.
As for protection from criminal some people may be a little on the paranoid side. I have been in the woods sometimes alone for more than 20 years and have never felt threatened by another hiker. Every now and then something happens to make people feel uneasy. A gun in a pocket can turn a bad situation into an even worse one.
There are other reasons as to why people do not want to carry a gun. They are heavy to carry and they are hard to store. I would rather have something that may not be easy to carry with me rather than be put into a situation where I would need this gun. I do not want to worry that something was too heavy or too bulky to carry when it could have been able to save my life.
There is a bottom line to whether or not a hiker should carry a gun with them when they go out into the woods. There is no reason to have a gun while backpacking in areas that have a low risk. This includes a low risk for animal attacks. In other places where they are potential threats than a person should be packing something to help keep them safe and something that may possibly save their life.