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  • Lauren Wood

6 Tips for First-Time Backpackers

Are you new to backpacking and thinking of trying it out? With travel bans mostly still in effect, you may be considering doing some back-country camping close to home. If so, it’s an excellent idea! You have to start somewhere, so why not now? ⠀

I am certainly no expert, but there are some things I’ve learned and recommendations I’d make to first-timers. Here are my 6 tips for your first backpacking trip: ⠀

▪️ 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗮 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗽. Pick something that you can easily get to in less than a day, and stay for only one night. That way you won’t have to bring too much and can ease in slowly to see if you like it. ⠀

▪️ 𝗧𝗿𝘆 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘆 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁. Don’t go out and find a multi-day hike that has huge elevation changes and difficult terrain. Understand that if this is your first time carrying a pack, its definitely different than regular hiking. Pick an easy trail.⠀

▪️ 𝗕𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗴𝗲𝗮𝗿. Having the right gear makes a huge difference. Make sure you have a pack that fits you well (for your gender and body type), wear comfortable (broken in!) hiking boots, and appropriate clothing for your destination considering the temperature, possible weather and terrain. Buy items that are lightweight and made for backcountry camping. ⠀

▪️ 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘀. Don’t just throw a bunch of shit in a bag. Plan out your meals—MREs (or “meal, ready-to-eat”) are best—so you don’t bring more than you need. Make sure to eat a good breakfast, pack trail lunches that can be eaten on the go, and easy dinner options. If you bring MREs, all you do is boil some water in the @jetboil and then pour water in the bag, seal up and let cook, and eat right from the bag so you don’t have to clean up any dishes. Voila! ⠀

▪️ 𝗗𝗼𝗻'𝘁 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗸. Seriously! Don’t bring a bunch of unnecessary shit. You’ll thank me later. Think of the clothes you’ll need and cut it in half. Don’t bring all the gadgets under the sun. Bring only what you need. ⠀

▪️ 𝗚𝗼 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗿. Basically, go with someone who’s done it before. They can show you the ropes. Having someone with experience can also lessen any stress or anxiety about trying it for the first time. ⠀

That’s it! Finally—just have fun. You won’t know if you like it until you try it. I hope that if some good does come out of this pandemic, it will open up the great outdoors to people who might not have tried back-country camping before, and maybe even help us all have a little greater appreciation for our Mother Earth. 🌎


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Happy Trekking!


Lauren ⠀

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