Most of us have done some sort of camping at least once in our lives, whether it be glamping (car camping), setting up the tent in the backyard, at a campground, or my personal favorite: backpacking! The experience you will have away from everyday life will be well worth it when considering if you should take a backpacking trip. In this article, we are going to discuss the ins and outs of backpacking.
First things first: supplies. When you are 12, 15, 20 miles out in the woods, it is imperative to have the essentials for survival. You will need:
- Water purification. I recommend the Sawyer Squeeze
- Camping stove. We use the Jet Boil for a hot meal for dinner; trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
- MAP and compass. Purchase the waterproof trail map for whichever mountain range or place you will be traveling!
- Kitchen set. There are ones available specifically for camping.
- First aid kit. Make sure it’s stocked.
- Headlamp. Bring extra batteries just in case.
- Tent or hammock. If there is more than one of you sharing your sleeping quarters, I recommend a tent! If you bring a hammock or non-waterproof tent you WILL NEED A TARP… the weather is unpredictable.
- Sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Your sleeping bag is the most important thing to keep dry.
- BACKPACKING Backpack. This means a not-your-average backpack ; 50 to 60 liters would be ideal. Anything over 60 liters and you have to remember you’re carrying the weight of your pack up the mountain, so the less weight the better. Also, make sure to purchase a rain fly for your bag if it doesn’t come with one.
- Rope, knife and lighter/matches.
- Extra pair of socks.
- Rain jacket and down jacket. My down jacket packs into itself and doubles as a pillow at night (score!).
- Hiking boots. Ideally, they should be waterproof and provide good ankle support, but whatever is comfy for you, your feet are your lifeline so keep them dry and keep them happy.
- ALWAYS (always) let someone know your hiking route and when you are expected back.
On the trail I’ve noticed three different types of hikers: the ultra lightweight, the inbetweeners who find balance between keeping the pack light but also being comfy, and the jerrys who lug cans of beans in their pack along with anything else they can fit in there. Good gear is what will set you apart from the jerrys and make sure you aren’t miserable on the trail.
Don’t forget to do you research on the area in which you are traveling and watch out for wildlife! Also, carry in and carry out – don’t litter – and follow the guidelines to camping along a riverbed and or trail head. We are privileged enough to be able to experience the nature and wildlife so don’t disrespect it.
The key to having a successful backpacking trip is being prepared, having the right supplies and staying comfy. That said, you will most likely always forget something… just make sure it’s not one of the essentials (for instance, your tent).
Nothing beats a backpacking trip in the woods. It gives you a chance to unplug and reset away from society. The views from the mountain tops are that much more rewarding after a long day on the trail. Hopefully I’ve got you thinking about the next trip you are planning and that you might consider a night in the woods over the comfy hotel with a hot tub. Happy trails!