Backpacking—whether you are alone or with a friend or family member—can always be a thrilling prospect. Eventually, with time, you understand the entire system better which helps you improve yourself and your experience but, if it’s your first backpacking trip, having a set of tried and tested tips can always prove to be useful.
Intrigued? Read on as we list a few backpacking tips that can make your trip easier and more enjoyable.
Backpacking Tip #1: Get used to that backpack
Of course, we are going to start this list with the actual backpack before you set out on your backpacking trip.
Wherever you go on day hikes, make a point to complete hiking with a backpack on. Now frankly, this is a considerably more challenging task when compared to hiking without one. But, this will help you get used to the additional weight on your back.
If you aren’t used to the 70- to 80-pound backpack, setting out on your trip without practice may not exactly go well for you. Hence, this tip will actually be useful in retrospect.
If going on hikes isn’t possible for you, you can always try hiking with a backpack on a treadmill. While this may not be an ideal option, it will still help you get used to the feeling of carrying more weight.
Backpacking Tip #2: Decide your backpacking destination beforehand
Backpacking can be a mixture of exhilaration and exhaustion that can test you to your very limits. Hence, you first need to be honest with yourself with regard to your abilities and skill level. There are some backpacking trips that are way more difficult which may not be suited to your current capabilities as a backpacker.
Don’t, under any circumstances, opt for a difficult trip without being fully prepared. You can still experience an amazing backpacking trip with the level of difficulty that is best suited for you.
Backpacking Tip #3: Check out any permits that you might need for your backpacking trip
Once you figure out the route you want to hike, you also have to find out whether you will require any permits for that particular place.
You may require an application for getting to the trailhead at some destinations which is why you should always check online to see the set of requirements you need to fulfill for your intended trail. It should also be noted that some places may require permits that need to be filled out months before and hence, it wouldn’t hurt to have a backup location in case plan A doesn’t work out.
In addition to this, there might be rules and regulations for certain trails as well that you need to take into account before you set out for your trip.
Backpacking Tip #4: Slowly build your backpacking gear and make sure it includes necessary supplies
Having the right gear for your first backpacking trip can make the overall experience more comfortable. This is precisely why you need to plan your entire gear collection so that you don’t end up spending a lot of money on items that you do not really need.
For your traveling gear, your mantra should be to invest in compact and lightweight gear that works best for you. You see, every person has their own distinct style of packing and hiking and then, of course, is the fact that different gear will fit differently on different body types.
Talking about necessary supplies, these are the items that you may need to make sure your comfort isn’t compromised. This includes a sleeping bag, tents, maps, earplugs for sleeping, cooking supplies, and so on. You can also talk to a professional or any friend with backpacking experience to help you out in case of essential backpacking gear.
Backpacking Tip #5: Make sure that you pack enough food and water
It is important that you have an adequate amount of food items and water before you set out for a backpacking trip. For water, the amount that you should carry depends on whether there are any water sources along your planned route. If you do find water sources while researching, you need to carry a filter to make sure that water is safe for drinking purposes.
A good rule of thumb is to carry 2 to 3 liters of water per day.
As for food items, since it is your first backpacking trip, you won’t really have an idea as to how hungry you will be. Hence, we would recommend you to pack a lot of food to keep your hunger pangs in check. In addition to this, cooking while you are backpacking can be a very different experience when compared to the comfort of cooking at home. Hence, take out time to research camping recipes that can help you before you leave. Also, don’t forget to minimize waste and consider repacking the items that you have used.
Backpacking Tip #6: Try having a backpacking companion with you
While backpacking solo may sound exciting and a great experience that could help you find out interesting things about your trail as well as yourself, considering it’s going to be your very first backpacking trip, taking the help of somebody you know or just having somebody with you would be beneficial. As for going solo, you can do that for your next trip.
If you are not aware of how backpacking works, it might become dangerous for you as you are in the wild. You may lose cell phone reception that could restrict your chances of contacting others. This is why you should consider backpacking with a friend or a guide to help smoothen things for your first time.
Once you learn the ropes, you will be free to make your own choices the next time. Remember, try to be helpful for your companion instead of acting clueless. Coordinate with them to make the trip more pleasant for everyone involved.