Essential Tips for the Backpacking Trip of a Lifetime
Posted by Josh Gazelka | December 23, 2019
Backpacking in the wild is an incredibly freeing experience. Although you have a heavy pack strapped to your back, it is important that you are carrying all you need, from your food to your shelter. Backpacking allows you to capture the essence of the life of our nomadic ancestors.
It is amazing to go for days without seeing any type of artificial structures or human creations for days on end. Equally wonderful is the fact that you can lay down in the dirt without a care in the world while connecting with nature. It is an adventure that takes you off the beaten path to see sights that can only be accessed by foot.
Essential Tips to Follow When Going Out on Your Great Backpacking Adventure
However, we are not here to sell you on the idea of backpacking – the fact that you are reading this means that you are already interested. What we want to do is give you five tips that will make your trip easier and more enjoyable:
1. Train Before You Go
Whether it is your first backpacking trip or you have been out there before, it is essential that you train before leaving for a week long, or shorter backpacking trip. The best way to prepare for any sport is to actually participate in it. Use the backpack that you will carry on the trip to do a few days’ hiking. Ensure that there are weights in the bag to help you figure out the most comfortable way to tie the straps to your body.
Additionally, you should visit your gym and get on the stair climber or the elliptical to do some endurance training. You must also remember to do some upper body exercises, or Pilates, as well. This will help you toughen your shoulder muscles and back so you can lug your heavy backpack.
2. Pick A Backpack That Fits and Has All the Features You Will Need
Your trip will be a lot easier if you purchase a backpack that fits into your activities and style. The longer you are out in the wild, the higher your chances of encountering unpredictable weather, so the backpack should be ruggedly constructed. A long hike also means that you will need to carry more clothes and gear, and will be more tired as a result.
You need a big, versatile backpack with a modular design that offers you an effective way to fit all manner of gear. A popular choice that offers all this and more is the Pack Rabbit Backcountry Hauler. It features lash loops and compression straps as well as internal and external anchor points to ensure all your gear is fixed and secure.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend that men should consume at least 3.7 liters and women 2.7 liters of water daily, so the backpack’s allowance for storage of a hydration system comes in handy. Best of all, the Backcountry Hauler has a flip-down seat that is accessed without unpacking any gear. Take a load off your feet comfortably and quickly, on and off the trail.
3. Bring Along Lightweight Backpacking Gear
Ultralight gear is often expensive. However, when you have to carry all you need for your trip on your back for days, every ounce you can shave off counts.
First, you should buy a super lightweight tent that you can put as many people as possible in.. A typical three-person tent can probably fit four people, while a two-man tent can fit three. When backpacking in a big group, you could all carry different parts of a large tent in order to divide the overall weight amongst yourselves.
A lightweight sleeping bag is also recommended, but you should note that comfort and warmth trumps weight savings in this case. One of the worst things that can happen to you when backpacking is being unable to sleep due to the cold. You can fill hot water into a Nalgene bottle or carry along sleeping bag liners to help on cold nights outdoors.
4. Select a Hike That Fits Your Abilities
If it is your first backpacking trip and you have not yet decided on the hike to start with, you should choose one that is at moderate elevation and is not super difficult. This is important so you can gauge your ability to tackle tougher hikes. For instance, you could try an overnight backpacking adventure before jumping head-first into a week-long trip.
Most popular backpacking trails are circuits which can be tackled with various entry and exit points or from different directions. Because your backpack will be heaviest when you first set out, make the beginning the easy part. The first couple of days are often the toughest due to the weight of your gear and also because you are not yet into the rhythm of the hike, so it is important not to take on the biggest challenges at the start.
5. When in the Wild, Embrace Nature!
If you are backpacking for the first time, you might be surprised to discover that experienced hikers generally only carry two sets of clothing – one for the hike and the other to sleep in. Besides a change of underwear for each day and several pairs of socks, they rarely carry any extra clothes.
At first, this may seem gross but it makes sense when you understand that, if it is not possible to shower on the trip, there is little point in bringing extra clothes which will only get sweaty and smelly within the first hour of the trip. You will only add more weight without any actual benefit.
You should also avoid carrying deodorant since it will be useless after hiking for a couple of days without a shower. What you can bring instead are reusable dry wipes containing essential oils, which you can hydrate and use to wipe down your face and body.
What Are You Waiting For? Get Out There!
Backpacking is a great way to get a low-impact workout. Several studies show that it provides a range of mental and physical benefits. From preventing osteoporosis to reducing stress and anxiety, it is an outdoor activity that is not just fun, but offers health benefits as well. By following the tips above, you get to enjoy all the benefits of backpacking while having the adventure of a lifetime.