Sure, you’ve mastered day hikes. You’ve got your strategy on lock for getting to the trailhead before the masses, you’re a pro-snack-packer, and you bring your A-game for tackling 14ers, long-haul hikes, and elevation gains.
If you’ve got the itch to push yourself a bit harder, cook a meal with your buddies in the great outdoors, and sleep under the stars, you might want to think about a backpacking trip. With a little preparation, you’ll be a pro in no time. Read on for our tips:
Well, if you’re hauling a tent, food, sleeping pad, and a change of clothes, it makes sense to invest in a good pack that can 1) handle all of that and 2) fit you extremely well so you’re not miserable on your hike. Check out this resource for picking out a backpack that’ll have your back for the long haul.
Sweat-wicking clothing, tall socks, good sturdy (broken in!) hiking shoes or boots, a hat, and some extra outer layers of protection are essential. When you’re miles away from civilization, having a rain shell on hand for a sudden cloudburst could be the difference between a great hike and a miserable one.
When you’re hanging around the campfire after a long day of hiking, you’ll want a sweatshirt to chill in. Check out this classic option, or go all-in with a sweatshirt that can also hold your beer. You won’t regret having something dry and comfy to pull on after a long day.
For more info on packing lists and other great tips about camping, check out this resource.
If you’re going for efficiency, plan on about 1.5 pounds of food per person per day when you’re on a backpacking trip. You could need more, you could need less - but no matter your caloric needs, make sure to remove any superfluous packaging or anything that could add extra weight.
For that morning pick-me-up, consider bringing along instant coffee or tea to save space.
Keep your meals simple - grains, sausages, dried fruit, granola, instant mashed potatoes, and hard-boiled eggs are all great options. Remember, you’ll be burning extra calories - so make sure you treat yourself with something delicious at the end of the day. For more ideas, check this out.
Always remember, the goal is to leave no trace. Say it with us now: pack it in, pack it out.
Scout Your Route
Never go in blind. Make sure you know where you’re going, and you’ll save yourself a major headache down the line. Take photos of the route, write it down, and commit it to memory. Ask around and plan ahead for good camping spots, and make sure you’re aware of any fire bans, wild animal activity, flooding, snowpack, mud, elevation gains, and anything else you might encounter.
At the end of a day of hiking, you’ll be stoked to settle down in a good spot, set up camp, and chill around the fire (or the camp stove). When you go into the trip prepared, you’ll take the guesswork and stress out of the equation.
Now get out there and vibe with nature! Happy trails.