If you are keen to discover something different than just ordinary hiking, then you are in for a treat. What we are referring to over here is backpacking. Which is a blend of hiking and backcountry camping. How nice wouldn’t it be to broaden your horizons a bit by going the extra? Mile and go above and beyond the traditional car campground outings?
Backpacking is such an activity as you can immerse yourself in a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience.
The best way to tell the difference between an ordinary. Hiker and someone engaged in backpacking is to check the size of their pack. You can be sure that all of life’s essentials will be carried on your back. It is a case of figuring out what is a must-have and what you can leave behind. Especially if you’re a first-timer.
You may wonder how long such an excursion will last. Generally, backpacking trips range from 3 to 30 days. In our humble opinion, it is one of the best ways to explore nature in all its glory. The key thing to remember is to come well prepared.
The following are some useful tips to help ensure your first backpacking trip runs as smoothly as possible:
- Prepare for your trip: Trust me when I say that you need to mentally ready yourself to hike with a fully loaded pack, all the necessary permits, and adhering to a Leave No Trace principle.
- Plan how much food you’ll need: Water-meals prove to be a great addition and very easy to cook. You can source it from your local grocery stores. Pack healthy snacks as long as they’re light enough.
- Opt for an easy destination: Shorter overnight hikes that are nearby are recommended for first time backpacking enthusiasts.
- Be sure to pack essential clothing and gear: You can always save on costs by borrowing the necessary gear from friends or colleagues who’ve done this before.
While we are on the topic of friends, it might be an idea to invite them along so they may act as your guide.
Preparation is Key to Experiencing a Super Exciting Backpacking Adventure
Venture out on day hikes with a backpack on as the real thing is way more challenging than you would think it to be.
As a case-in-point, imagine it is your first time on a steep incline with an 80 or 90-liter backpack? The chances are good if you’re ill-prepared that you will topple right over and possibly roll downhill. It is in your best interest to venture out on smaller day hikes and gradually increase the weight of your pack.
An alternative would be to run on a treadmill with your backpack on. The only trouble is that you are not doing so at an incline.
Opt for an Easier Backpacking Destination
The key takeaway here is to dip your toes into the water so to speak by signing up for an easier backpacking destination. If it’s too hard, you will end up feeling miserable and might not want to do this again.
Some useful tips:
- Choose a place closer to home. It is much better spending your time hiking than being faced with traffic and coping with driving stress. Also, you will have sufficient daylight hours at your disposal.
- Settle for a hiking trail that features less elevation gain than traditional hiking trails.
- Opt for a well-established and well-traveled backpacking trail. Where you’re more likely to encounter other backcountry. Campers and hikers who can help out should you need a hand.
- Ensure there is plenty of water near your camp. If your trip is close to a large river or lake, then you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, springs and streams may dry up too quickly.
What You Need to Take with You When Backpacking
As you need to carry and fit a larger than usual load when backpacking, your gears must be compact and light.
Ensure you have all the needed supplies to make your trip trouble-free. You may want to pack items such as:
- Top-quality tent: We suggest you pack a two-person tent as it hardly weighs anything and makes more sense than using two one-person tents.
- Your backpack: Should you make use of someone else’s backpack, you need to try it on first to ensure it fits properly. Test it by adding heavy items. Also, it should fit comfortably around your shoulders and hip area.
- Sleeping bag: If you want a decent sleeping experience, you need to pay attention to the pros and cons of synthetic fill vs. down fill. Especially if the chances are good that you’ll encounter foul weather conditions. A synthetic is usually a good option and more economical than down fill.
- While we’re on the topic of sleeping gear, do not forget to pack the best bug spray as you do not want to be eaten alive by all sorts of creepy crawlies if you can help it.
- Camping stove: It’s probably best to pack a single-burner type camping stove as it hardly weighs hardly anything. Be sure to consider the different fuel types before making a buying decision.
- Take care of your water needs: Even pristine looking water sources tend to hide things you’d rather not see or want to drink. Therefore, it is wise to make use of some form of water treatment procedure when out in the wild. For this, you can make use of a filter or settle for a simple and ultralight solution such as chemical treatment drops or tablets to purify your water with.
- Footwear is very important: Your feet need to carry you for miles on end, which is the main reason why many backpackers favor over-the-ankle boots to help veer off any possibility of falling or spraining your ankle.
If you are still at a loss as what you should bring when going on your first backpacking trip, we suggest you check out the chart below:
Hopefully, you will benefit from implementing the tips and suggestions mentioned in this post.
One last thing before you go! Be sure to adhere to local regulations at all times and leave the area you’re traveling through the way you found it. Do your utmost to explore responsibly. Resources –The Outbound Collective, REI Co-op