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When we’re young, we read about trailblazers—brave men and women who wandered into the unknown on the hunt for adventure. Nothing captures that spirit of spontaneity quite like backpacking. But as simple as traveling into the woods with just some provisions strapped to your back sounds, a lot more goes into it than you would think. Our beginners’ tips for going backpacking will help you start your adventure.
Train to Hike
The idea of training for a backpacking trip may strike some people as odd. After all, backpacking doesn’t usually involve running, and we walk every day. But traveling up and down hills wearing a backpack for hours at a time takes a whole new level of endurance. Start training a few weeks before your trip.
When you work out, prioritize cardio and strength building, especially with exercises that will increase strength in your legs, such as squats. This will help you gain the endurance necessary for climbing mountains and inclines. Taking practice hikes with a 20- to 30-pound backpack on will also help acclimate you to backpacking.
It’s natural to be eager on your first backpacking trip. But on your first time out, avoid getting overly ambitious. Consider these attributes for your first trip.
Keep It Short
Hiking trips can last several days. And while getting away from everything for that long can be soothing to the soul, it also involves a ton of preparation and many supplies, which means a heavier backpack. For your first trip, try just spending a day or weekend out on the trail at most.
Keep It Simple
Every backpacking trail is different, and when you’re a novice, you’ll want to pick a simpler trail. Look for a shorter path that runs in a loop and doesn’t have too many steep slopes. Don’t worry; an easy trail can be just as breathtaking as a difficult one.
No list of beginners’ tips for backpacking is complete without the pack itself. Coming to your backpacking trip without proper supplies won’t just suck the fun out of your trip. It’ll also leave you more prone to accidents and illness. When you’re packing for your first trip, don’t forget the following:
- A guidebook
- Extra food and water
- A lantern or flashlight
- A first aid kit
- An extra charger
- A rain cover for your pack
- A multi-tool
- A whistle
- Bear spray
Additionally, you have to make sure you dress appropriately for the weather. This will largely depend on where you’re hiking. For cold weather, be sure to prioritize covering your head. Merino wool beanies are ideal for this. For the rest of your attire, layering is more effective than wearing single, thick clothing articles. For hot locales, light, long-sleeve shirts are good for keeping the sun off your shoulders and arms.