There are famous instances of people keeping journals throughout time. Of course, Anne Frank's Diary is the best example. In her diary, Anne kept a running commentary of the two years her family spent hiding from the Nazis. While your backpacking experiences better be more lighthearted, keeping a journal will let you remember them as the years pass.
A good backpacking journal combines a number of characteristics. First, it should be compact so you don't have to take up unnecessary space for other things. Second, it should have a case to protect it from rain, spills and so on. Third, the journal should contain blank areas to write your notes. Fourth, the journal should contain cue spaces to remind you to keep notes on specific things. Cues should include:
1. Who you went backpacking with,
2. Where you backpacked and if you enjoyed it,
3. Who you met and contact information for them,
4. The geographic and weather conditions,
5. Routes you tried and how far you made it, and
6. Any unique things that occurred while backpacking.
At the end of the trip, you should be able to get the following from your journal:
1. Contact information for other backpackers and people you met,
2. Enough detail to provide you or a friend with a guide if you backpack the location a second time.
3. Memories to reflect upon years later, and
4. Something to pass on to your friends, children and grandchildren.
To get the most out of your backpacking journal, you should write in it during backpacking breaks or immediately after. Every trip is special, even if you just go out for a weekend.
Backpacking is a great way to commune with nature. Make sure to preserve the experience.