At the height of the pandemic, many of us truly began to see the wonders of the outdoors. From giving us space to practice social distancing to giving us recreational opportunities when everything had to be shut down, the outdoors became an integral part of our daily lives.
If you are someone who has a newly discovered love for the wild and are planning your first backpacking trip, we have some tips for you. Keeping these handy will ensure that your first experience doesn’t turn you off this amazing activity.
Be Fully Equipped With the Right Accessories
From your first aid kid to the right charging devices, carrying the right accessories is essential to a safe and comfortable backpacking experience. One of the most important parts of your hiking gear will be flashlights.
Some of the brightest flashlights are also rechargeable and it’s a great idea to invest in one of those. You don’t want to carry the extra weight of batteries on your back. When shopping for the brightest flashlight for your hike, also consider looking for one that comes with different modes. SOS or Strobe modes can come in handy were you to have an encounter with a wild animal or find yourself stranded on the trail.
A well-stocked first aid kit is also an essential part of your gear. However, it is easy to go overboard with it. When every ounce matters, consider the components of your first aid kit carefully. In addition to medicines that may have been prescribed to you, carry blister caps, alcohol wipes, and band aid as essentials.
Plan Alternate Routes
One of the most common mistakes beginner backpackers can make is to not plan well enough. You may think that the trails are marked and your walk should be easy enough. However, trails can often be damaged or completely disappear for various reasons like the changing seasons. Speak to experienced backpackers and they will surely have a story or two about losing their way because heavy snowfall covered the trail and they couldn’t see it clearly.
Invest in a detailed topographic map of the area you are going to hike in and carry a reliable compass. These two accessories are absolutely essential for you to have a backpacking experience that does not stress you out. If the established trail you intend to hike is closed off, you should be able to find an alternate path using your map.
We often see beginner backpackers huffing and puffing up a steep trail, their faces red with misery. As they quietly nod and pass you by, you may notice their backpacks are huge and the weight of their items isn’t equally distributed. This makes for a painful backpacking experience. We cannot overstate the importance of ensuring your gear is extremely lightweight.
Consider investing in a light, waterproof backpack. You have to carry the things you need, but your backpack doesn’t need to add weight to your baggage! When thinking of what to take with you, don’t overdo it. In fact, try intentionally to only include the most essential items such as a rainproof jacket, warm layers, and extra pairs of socks. Don’t worry about repeating your t-shirts! No one on the trail is using these things as a one-time wear. The most important thing on the trail isn’t to look great, but to feel great.
Backpacking is a wonderful way to connect with nature and reconnect with yourself. However, many people give up early in their journey because the experience seems painful. Use these tips to start your backpacking experience on the right foot.