Spring is here and this beautiful weather has us longing to get out and get adventuring. At the top of our lists this year is backpacking. Backpacking can be a truly awe-inspiring experience. One that tests your limits and allows you to truly to learn to trust yourself and gain confidence in your ability and instincts and really connect with your inner pioneer and all the skills you have to offer. Before heading out on your first backpacking excursion there are a few things you should definitely consider first, but fear not we’ve got you covered with What You Need to Know Before You Go Backpacking.
What You Need to Know Before You Go Backpacking:
Invite an Experienced Buddy Along
Chances are they may already have some of the gear you need, which is a great bonus, but overall it is comforting to have an experienced backpacker along with you. They can provide insight that is vital and just really help to ease anxiety.
It’s always nice to have the company of a good friend along. We strive to surround ourselves with people who value the same things we do, and want to share in a life of self-fulfilling adventure. One of the greatest attributes these friends possess is the ability to teach us and allow us to grow.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions and lean on a friend.
Do Your Homework
Diligent trip planning is very important here. It minimizes the stress and increases the chances of a life-changing experience.
Check out more than just google here. Pinterest can be a great resource when planning a trip and never underestimate the power of a good ole fashion guidebook.
**Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the geotags and hashtags associated with where you are planning to backpack on Facebook and Instagram. You just might find a hidden spot that lies just outside of common trails. It also can turn you on to things you should keep an eye out for on your journey and of course some great spots for photo ops.
Don’t Become A Gear Junkie
There is no need to spend a fortune, especially as a novice.
We’ve all been there before–walked into our local outdoor store, and gotten pretty carried away with the vast offerings that are just oh-so-life-changing and useful. Don’t go unless you absolutely have to, in fact, avoid it altogether if you can.
See what you have on hand first or can repurpose for the trip. Next, reach out to friends, often times many have gear they’ve had sitting around for ages they’d love to see put to good use.
The Backpacking Essentials You Should Pack:
- Backpack (Duh, but a comfortable and functional one really goes a long way.)
- Tent and Sleeping bag (A little privacy is nice at times.)
- Clothing (Really think about what is necessary here, can you carry over some items from one day to another? Be sure to check the weather conditions often times it can get much cooler at night, especially at high altitudes.)
- First Aid Kit (You probably won’t need it, but peace of mind is a beautiful thing.)
- Knife (It always comes in handy.)
- Bug Repellant (depending on the time of year and location, check out G’s homemade one HERE.)
- Sunscreen (No matter the time of year and even if you think it’s absolutely silly, you’ll thank us later.)
- Matches & Firestarters
- Toiletries (Keep it light, there’s no need for the whole bathroom with an outdoor glow.)
- Lights (Getting a headlamp is totally worth it.)
- Electronics (Only what’s necessary, chances are service won’t be great anyhow. You can grab a Solar Charger to keep them from dying. Don’t worry you can still take photos even if your service is being pesky, ha.)
- Small Shovel
- Footwear (A good water resistant hiking shoe is a good investment, but don’t make the mistake of wearing them for the first time on the trip. Avoid blisters by breaking them in first.)
- Food & Cooking Essentials (This really depends on where you are going and how many people are on the trip. Research ways you can make use of the land around. Nothing tastes better than the fruits of your own labor. A good cast iron skillet is usually worth the added weight.)
Some things you just have to accept…
Your Pack Will Be Heavy
Like we said, go light as possible on the gear, but the truth is that even the lightest of packs are going to get heavy at some points along your journey. You’re pushing yourself and it’s going to be exhausting, but it’s also going to be completely exhilarating. Lean on your friends when you have a weak moment, but be sure to offer the same when it’s their time.
You Will Smell
But the good news is so will everyone else. You’re going to get dirty, break a nail or two, but it’s going to be worth it. If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to keep it in a braided style. Don’t bother with the dry shampoo you’ll most likely forget you even brought it. G’s tips for feeling beautiful in the outdoors are great to check out too if you still want to feel a little put together. Taking the time to change into something clean before going to sleep can really make all the difference in your comfort level.
Your first hot shower post backpacking is most definitely one for the books too.
Nature Will Call, and It Will Be Okay
You might hold out as long as you can, but all the activity is eventually going to catch up. Just remember your shovel and flashlight. Just dig a 6-8″ whole and enjoy some special time with nature. cover the hole when finished. There are lots of great biodegradable toilette paper options out there now too, so be sure to make some room in your backpack.
Be Prepared to Fall in Love
You’re going to learn things about yourself and your capabilities. You’re going to take in so many breathlessly beautiful scenes, and share in priceless indescribable moments with friends and family. When you go once you’re sure to catch the bug, don’t say we didn’t warn you.