As the warmer weather gradually rolls in, backpacking season will soon be in full swing. Backpacking is a great way to hike and camp in places that are not easily accessible, but it can be intimidating for beginners. Fear not! Here are tips that can help you get started just in time for spring and summer.
1. Practice Setting Up Your Tent
If you’ve seen the movie Wild, you know that setting up a tent, especially solo, can be quite challenging. It’s important to know how your tent works, and make sure you have all the parts, before you embark on your adventure. This will prep you for any set-up situation--including in the dark.
2. Pack Less
Backpacking is all about weight, and in this case, less is definitely more. Getting the right gear and leaving some amenities behind will make packing and carrying your pack easier. Trust us, you’ll want to lighten the load, especially if you’re going farther than eight miles. Check out some of our backpacking stove options if you’re just getting started!
3. Plan Simple Meals
When you’re first getting started, you don’t want a ton of fresh ingredients weighing your pack down, and you certainly don’t want to carry a cooler. Freeze-dried meals like Mountain House are easy to pack, easy to cook (just boil water!), easy to clean, and don’t generate a lot of trash.
4. Do Your Research
One of the most exciting parts of backpacking is deciding where you want to go. But there are some things to consider: Does the area require a permit? Are dogs allowed? Also, once you decide on an area, be sure to decide which hike you want to take to your destination. Planning your route on a map is a good way to be sure you know the terrain.
5. Know Your Limits
Backpacking is different from hiking in the sense that you will carry a lot more weight than you would on a day hike. You pack can eight anywhere from 15-30 pounds, so choosing destination under eight miles is a safe place to start. If you want to start on a three mile hike-in, that’s good too.
6. Leave No Trace
As backpackers and hikers, it’s important that we take care of the lands we love to explore. When backpacking, what you carry in must be carried out. Instead of bringing along large trash bags for your expedition, consider ziplocks that are easier to pack in your backpack for the trail home.