Backpacking is a fun adventure activity that allows you to spend time outdoors while hiking and camping. It can help you break away from the hustle and bustle of the real world. It gives you a chance to see the camping world outside the car campground and see a different outdoor world. Once you decide to embark a multi-day backpacking trip, you have to remember that you must carry all your essential on your back in your pack. Here are a few steps to follow when planning your first backpacking trip.
Choose a short and accessible destination
For the first few hikes, choosing a quick, overnight hike that is nearby is a safer option. If you aren’t an experienced hiker, then you might not be prepared for the elevation gain. Look for something that is just a few miles round trip, and a few hundred feet of elevation, even if you think you can handle something more. Having the fully packed bag might slow you down more than you are expecting.
Look at the weather and the temperature to make sure you don’t have any surprises on the trail. You can consider borrowing or checking out thrift stores to save money at first, before buying more expensive gear once you realize what you truly need on the trail.
Some of the gear you should consider is:
- Backpack (consider borrowing one first to see what you like)
- 2-person tent that is rated for three seasons
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Water treatment
- Clothing, including base layers, hiking layers, hat, and insulation
- Rain gear
Plan your meals
For the first couple of hikes, you might consider packing just-add-water meals or easy-to-cook options. Make sure to pack tons of snacks to help keep your energy level highs on the trail.
Make sure to take care of any wildlife precautions. Keep a respectful distance away from animals, and never come between large animals and their young. At night, keep food away from your tent, and consider using a nylon cord to hang it from a high tree branch or carrying a bear canister.
Prepare yourself for the trail
Do a few test runs with your fully loaded pack, shoes, and socks. Make sure you aren’t getting any blisters and that you can handle the backpack. Nothing ruins a trip faster than new gear that hasn’t been broken in yet. You should also take this time to familiarize yourself with your car. Put up your tent a few times, make sure the stove works, and try to filter water before you go. Review your map to make sure you know where you are going.
You should also consider the logistics of getting to and from the trailhead. Research to see if you will need a permit to park your car or at the campground.
Invite an experienced backpacking friend
Until you have more experience, consider inviting a good friend who can act as your guide and mentor. But, this step is the least necessary. You are more than capable of handling a trip on your own, but it is always nice to have a friend along for the ride! It might make the trip more fun and safer.
To be safe, always leave a trip plan with a family member or friend that includes information about where you are going and when you will be back. Good luck on your first backpacking trip!