Backpacking is a fun and adventurous way to explore the great outdoors. It’s an activity that people of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy, and it can take you to some of the world’s most beautiful and remote locations. However, planning and preparing for a backpacking trip, especially if it’s your first time, can be daunting. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan and prepare for your first backpacking trek.
Step 1: Choose Your Destination
The first step in planning your backpacking trip is to choose your destination. There are countless options for backpacking trips, both domestically and internationally. Some popular destinations for backpackers include:
National Parks: There are over 400 national parks in the United States, each with its own unique scenery and hiking trails.
State Parks: State parks offer many of the same amenities as national parks, but they’re typically less crowded and more affordable.
Wilderness Areas: Wilderness areas are designated areas of land for outdoor recreation and the conservation of natural resources.
International Destinations: Backpacking trips can take you to some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the world, such as the Inca Trail in Peru or the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal.
When choosing your destination, consider your budget, time constraints, and fitness level. Some destinations require permits or reservations, so make sure you do your research ahead of time.
Step 2: Choose Your Route
Once you’ve chosen your destination, it’s time to choose your route. Most backpacking trips involve hiking from one point to another, often over multiple days. When choosing your route, consider the length of the trail, the difficulty level, and the scenery along the way. You’ll also want to consider the availability of campsites or lodging along the trail.
Many popular backpacking routes have established campsites and shelters that require reservations, so it’s important to plan your route ahead of time and make any necessary reservations.
Step 3: Gather Your Gear
The right gear is essential for a successful backpacking trip. The gear you’ll need will depend on the length of your trip, the climate, and the terrain you’ll be hiking in. Some essential backpacking gear includes:
Backpack: You’ll need a sturdy backpack to carry all of your gear. Look for a backpack that’s designed specifically for backpacking and fits comfortably on your back.
Tent: A lightweight, durable tent is essential for camping along the trail. Look for a tent that is simple to set up and folds up small.
Sleeping bag: A sleeping bag will keep you warm and comfortable during chilly nights on the trail. Look for a sleeping bag that’s rated for the expected temperature range.
Sleeping pad: A sleeping pad provides insulation and cushioning between you and the ground. Look for a pad that’s lightweight and easy to pack.
Stove: A lightweight stove is essential for cooking meals on the trail. Look for a stove that’s fuel-efficient and easy to use.
Water filter: Depending on the destination, you may need a water filter to purify water from streams or lakes.
Clothing: Dress in layers to stay comfortable in changing weather conditions. Look for lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing that’s easy to layer.
Footwear: Good hiking boots or shoes are essential for a comfortable and safe hike. Look for shoes that fit well and provide good traction on the trail.
Before your trip, make sure you test all of your gear to make sure it works properly and fits comfortably. It’s also a good idea to pack a small repair kit for any unexpected gear malfunctions.
Step 4: Plan Your Meals
When backpacking, you’ll need to carry all of your food and cooking supplies with you.Look through your favorite cookbooks or the Internet for some recipes you really like. Consider the nutrition facts, the weight of the ingredients, the equipment required, and the cooking skills required.
Step 5: Stay Safe
Before you travel to a new location, research which neighborhoods are known to be safe and which are known to be dangerous. Always book your first night’s hostel in advance, and look for somewhere you can arrive at any time, day or night, and where you wouldn’t be afraid to show up with a huge backpack.
Carry your money the opposite way you would at home when traveling. Take only the cash you need, plus one card for emergencies, and leave the rest in your hostel locker.
That concludes How to Backpack. I hope you find these resources helpful for your own backpacking adventure. I’ll keep this list updated as I come across new cool ways to make our lives a little easier when it comes to planning a backpacking trip.