Backpacking 101

Backpacking is all about personal freedom and independence. Most do it in their younger years especially when they go to college or take breaks in between. If you like to experience the great outdoors and want some time to get to know yourself, backpacking is one of the best activities you can do.  Here are some tips for a truly fulfilling backpacking experience.

Planning

As in everything in life, good planning can make anything worthwhile or a living hell. 

  • Select a destination that is within driving distance so you can easily reschedule if there is bad weather
  • While backpacking is all about exploration however if you are a novice better stick to well-marked routes on your map, with easy terrain, campsites and a good source of water
  • Hike not more than 5 to 7 miles a day
  • Bring lots of dehydrated backpacking meals if you intend to go for multi-day trips
  • Let someone at home know where you are and inform someone if there is a change in your plans so they know where to look for you in an emergency

Gear

In the past, it is almost impossible to go backpacking without a slew of supplies, not to mention the heavy gear available at the time. Thanks to modern technology a typical backpack loaded with a weekend’s worth of supplies would weigh no more than thirty-five pounds.

  • Don’t shortchange yourself with cheap shoes that will give you blisters. Get lightweight boots that are a bit larger than your usual street shoes and match them with some wool hiking socks
  • Pack clothes for a 24-hour period, on trail and in camp, and wear the same clothes for the weekend.  Give your feet some extra love with an extra pair of socks
  • Choose a sleeping bed that is 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches thick and with enough dimensions that will not leave your limbs dangling.
  • Do not be afraid to sneak some luxury items like a good book, camera gear or a deck of cards. Just make sure you have enough space for all that backpacking food you intend to bring