The Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking

Backpacking is an outdoor activity where one carries their gear on their back while hiking for more than a day.

While this can be done along with camping, backpacking is generally more physically demanding and allows you to explore greater distances in comparison to if you were only camping. Backpacking is an activity that everyone should try at least once.

Within this article are some basic tips on the materials and info necessary to get started.

1. Practice techniques at home.

All the tools, cooking supplies, and gear that goes into backpacking can feel daunting at first but that’s why practicing beforehand is essential. You don’t want the first time you pitch a tent or start a fire to be out in the woods whether you’re with a seasoned backpacker or not.

Read up and practice basic first aid at home and learn how to set up a tent in your backyard before actually venturing out into nature. But no matter how much you practice, it’s also a good idea to bring someone with experience along with you. 

2. Pick a familiar destination.

For your first backpacking trip, it might be tempting to choose a trail that’s on the top of your bucket lists such as the French Alps or Kalalau Trail in Hawaii. But like any skill, your resistance needs to be built up so that you don’t strain yourself.

Choosing a destination that’s familiar to you will make the focus on mastering the technical aspects of backpacking such as tent set up and fire-starting rather than navigating unfamiliar terrain.

When you pick a familiar destination, you can also make the choice to hike trails that you know won’t be too hard for you and help you build the resilience you’ll need when you go to unfamiliar places and particularly difficult trails. 

3. Be mindful of weather and wildlife when choosing a location.

It is essential to research the weather and wildlife of the area you plan to backpack before you start your journey. The weather has a significant influence on your attire, gear, and the location you choose to backpack through the first time.

It’s also important to be knowledgeable about the wildlife in the area you’re backpacking because it can influence the way that you store your food and how you camp at night. For example, it’s common to hang food in what’s called a bear bag in areas where curious bears are common.

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Because hills and other terrain are often a characteristic of backpacking, it’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular health while being present in nature. It’s also a great way to connect with people who have the same zeal for nature and adventure that you do.

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