We all love backpacking and as you already know, we have done tons of outdoor adventures and we assure you that every moment is worth living for! But what about first time backpackers? Is it worth the hype to travel and go on a backpacking trip? Definitely a big yes! If you want to have first hand experience with nature with its glory, then backpacking is your best choice.
Ready yourselves to unwind. The following tips are geared specifically for those who are backpacking for the first time and may be an excellent help to them. Who knows, having these could give you an edge to win the trail easily and enjoy that backpacking trip you’ve always wanted.
Pick An Easy Trail
Choose a trek that is shorter and easier. If you have already hiked one in the past, better pick that spot for your first backpacking trip. As you already had some experience in the area and familiar with what’s in the trail, it’ll leave only a small room for error if an uncertain situation occurs. Choosing an easy trail will be more fun to deal with rather than you exerting too much effort on trails that requires many physical activities.
Bear in mind that backpacking is more difficult than hiking simply because you are carrying a lot more stuff, and as a result, you are going to be moving slower and deal with all sorts of aches and pains that you may not be accustomed to. As a result, having a trail that you already know is extremely helpful.
Also, keep in mind that it is essential for your first backpacking trip that you are having fun and enjoying it the most. This experience will make you want to repeat it again sometime in the future.
Do It During Day Time
Doing it in a day frees up a lot of time and makes you more flexible to your schedule, giving you the opportunity to stop stressing about other things and focus on having a good time instead.
Also, it is clear that having your backpacking trip during the day can lessen the dangers you might experience mainly because you can clearly see things that are ahead of you. Also, another important aspect is, it will be easy to seek help and assistance in an emergency if a threat suddenly comes up for the reason that most establishments are open during the day and more people that you can ask for help are awake by that time.
Since it is safer to go along the route during the day, if you want, you may continue your journey and extend it to an area that you haven't been to previously. This will allow you to continue along the trail and have some more fun throughout the day. Just be extra careful when exploring it for the first time.
Avoid Super Remote & Not Well-maintained Places
This is just text book backpacking. Don’t go to places you think you’re not safe! Remember that the main goal of backpacking is to enjoy, have fun and finish it alive and well. It is not worth trying if your life and safety is at risk.
If it's your first time, it will always be better to pick a trail that is near, accessible, safe and well maintained. At first glance you might think that a plank connecting two small cliffs is sturdy and safe to walk on, but because of the many months to years of not being looked into, as you stepped on it, it became fragile and snapped to pieces making your other foot fall underneath the makeshift plank. In this situation you can either be fractured or wounded. Many seasoned hikers still failed to finish and sometimes come back alive while on a trail to remote and dangerous places. Assess the area if it is suited for you and if you can’t, it is better to avoid it.
Do Your Research
This is the most basic and crucial thing to do especially when it is your first time going on a backpacking trip. Regardless of your skill level, it is important to know what is what, inside the trail you will be heading to. Some notable factors to consider are,
- Weather conditions
- Know your dos and don’ts
- The overall distance of the trail and how manageable is the terrain
- Suitable areas for campsites
- Permits needed
- Wildlife present in the area
- Water source / Food source
- Factors that might threaten your safety and life during your trip
- Risks and threats present in the area
- Gears needed and their total weight (Going for ultralight or lightweight backpacking?)
and many more. Remember that it is also important to know not only about the trail you’re heading but also to what best suits your overall health and welfare during the trip. Check if you have allergies and what are your triggers. Do you have asthma? If so, can you handle the hike? Insect bites are common during the trip, be sure to bring some repellants. How to deal with poisonous plants and snakes. Do I need to bring bear spray? What first aid kit and backpacking gear should I bring? Can I carry all this stuff and would it slow me down? Should I go Lightweight or Ultralight backpacking? In short, make sure that your health, safety and welfare is looked upon during and before your backpacking trip.
Another thing is, park permits may be needed for some situations like overnight backpacking, going beyond designated camping grounds and routes. Although wilderness permits may not be required on backpacking during the day, some restrictions are imposed and applied within the area you plan to go. Depending on what trail you are in, these restrictions vary to limiting the amount of fuel and stoves you can have and to what things you use to store your food, other areas might not allow you to have bear bags.
Designated areas for camping grounds are sometimes strictly mandated and special permits may be needed if you plan to park your car overnight in parking spaces.
Additionally, websites that talk about camping and trails are an important source of first hand information that came mostly from beginners to seasoned hikers who had their experience within a specific trail. Their account for the trip is commonly written down in blogs and we highly suggest you check them out on the web.
Get Your Gear Ready
This is yet an important factor and research is a must when looking to what gear you are going to use for the trip. There are a wide variety of backpacking gear in the market right now and that is why, to avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer number of available stuff, you need to research what gear you really need and what you are aiming for during your trip. Do you plan to fish? Then you’ll need a fishing pole. Are you chopping some wood during the trip? A small portable ax can do. Will it be freezing cold during the night or fairly warm? You might as well check the specifications of your sleeping bag or quilt you will be getting to know if it’ll hold up the temperature and keep you warm during the night.
Of course, remember that money is also a factor. Your trip would depend on how much you are willing to spend on your gear, food, fuel, payment for permits, pocket money and other stuff. It is important to break down your budget to see which of the bulk goes to what area. Do you need more money for food? Are you prioritizing your gear? Are you going ultralight? If so, remember that mostly, the lighter the gear is the more expensive it is in the market.
So there you have it, our tips for your first backpacking trip. Remember to stay calm and be aware. Not everything unknown is a threat and it is better to assess every situation during your trip. Be sure to have a dose of fun but still respecting other people who are also currently having their backpacking getaways. Cheers!