Backpacking isn’t just fun, it’s a great way to give your body a pretty nice exercise, and it’s one of the best ways you can stay active considering everything that’s going on around us. That being said, if you’ve never done it, backpacking in the wild might sound a bit scary.
But it’s not something you should be worrying about, because, as long as you’re well prepared, not a lot of things can go wrong. That being said, being well prepared is, for some, easier said than done, so let’s take a look at a few things you should be doing in order to prepare for your first backpacking trip in the wild!
Grab The Right Gear
Getting the right things for your backpacking trip is rather simple – first, you need a good backpack. It must fit properly because that will give you an even weight distribution, and no issues worth comfort. It should have compartments for all the things you’ll be carrying, too.
A sleeping bag is next up, and you should make sure to choose your sleeping bag and pad according to the weather you’re camping in. And if you’re yet to choose a sleeping bag for yourself, go for a premium, ultra lightweight down sleeping bag – it’s a worthy investment.
Last but definitely not least, a sturdy tent. You should get a tent that’s suitable for the conditions you’ll be camping in. It must be weatherproof, and it should also be light enough so you can transport it without much trouble. A bonus feature? A tent that’s easy to set up and pack back up.
It’s all About Planning Things Out
The first thing you want to be doing when you’re going on a backpacking trip is to plan everything out, as well as you can. This includes the details, too, and it’s something you should definitely take your time with. Having plenty of time makes sure that you can choose your dates, your destination, and still have time left over to have all your gear ready.
The first two things that go together are picking the dates and the locations. They pretty much depend on each other, due to weather, so some places might be “off limits” during certain periods of the year. Speaking of dates, you should start with one or two nights of backpacking. Even if you feel prepared, it’s best if you start by dipping your toes – backpacking in the wild isn’t something you should be underestimating, and this way, you can get a bit of experience before you do something that’s more challenging. Also, stay away from backpacking in the colder months, and instead go for later during the summer – it’s warmer, and the trails will be clear of any winter leftovers.
Once you’ve picked the dates and location, see what kind of trails you have available. And out of those, pick a trail that’s not too difficult. Ideally, you want to have no more than five to six miles of hiking per day, and you should try to find a trail that’s close to home. Avoid trails that have plenty of elevation gain, as well as any technically difficult obstacles. Instead, go for a flatter trail that’s well marked and has good options for setting up camp.
The last part of planning is your permit and transportation. Some trails and national parks will require you to get a permit quite a bit in advance, so make sure this is something you take care of as early as possible. And as far as transportation goes, you should have a car that takes you to your trail head, and if you aren’t doing a round trip, a car that picks you up when it’s done. How you do this does depend on how many people you are, so plan accordingly. Some national parks might offer you a shuttle service as well – this might be something you could take advantage of, instead of having to drive after a day or two out in the mountain.
The last tip in our guide is all about you. Yes, you. You should be physically ready if you’re going backpacking in the wild. This means adding a few stretches and mobility exercises in your daily routine, and knowing how to listen to your body. If you’re in pain, you should take it easy, or call it a day, not keep pushing.
Oh, and a seriously underestimated issue – work on your lung capacity. Staying out of air when you’re a few hundred feet into the trail is not fun at all, and you’ll be stressing your lungs more than necessary. Instead, do breathing exercises that help with lung capacity, so you can be sure you won’t be gasping for air when you get going.