Thursday, May 26, 2016

3 Tips for Beginning Backpackers

I didn't grow up in a family that was very outdoorsy. My brother was a Boy Scout, so he & my Dad frequently went camping with their troop, but it was never the 4 of us. 

As I grew older I wanted to explore more, be outside more, camp more. But, what I didn't really know was HOW to camp. What did I need to bring? Where were some good places to go? How does going to the bathroom work? You know, the basics. I'm not a novice anymore, but I do still learn my fair share of new stuff every time the BF (AKA Eagle Scout) & I go camping. I thought maybe I wasn't the only one. Maybe people wanted to go camping but had no idea what they were doing. So folks, I'm here to share.

I've got some upcoming posts planned about the different types of camping, what you'll find in my pack on a camping trip, how to eat on a camping trip & even some of the basics for hiking -- in case you're not ready for camping just yet.

Today, though, I'm here to share with you my 3 tips for beginning backpackers.



1. Go with friends who are experienced backpackers
I know it's not possible for everyone. But this really is such a great way to learn. The other benefit to backpacking with friends is you can share the weight of items that are for the common good. Think cooking equipment. You don't need 4 camp stoves, just 1 will do. Same goes for water filters. This stuff doesn't weigh a lot individually, but carry it on your back for a few hours & every ounce counts.


2. Test your equipment 
There is nothing worse than being far from your car & finding out your boots give you blisters. Or that the sun is setting & you don't have a clue how to set up your tent. I would recommend wearing clothing // shoes you know work for you. And doing a test run of any equipment you may use. Cook dinner on your camp stove in the garage & set up your tent in the backyard. It will make everything run a lot smoother when it's crunch time.

Like when I spent hours doing chores around the house with my backpack on...

3. Keep it short
I would say 1 night of camping for your first backpacking trip is the way to go. Pick a short loop, or find a trail with known camp sites (hiking forums are great about having info like this) that you can hike to, camp, & in the morning pack up & hike back to the car. With a loaded backpack 2 miles // hour is a good guesstimate for how quickly you'll be moving. 8 or 10 miles may not sound like a lot, but that's 4 - 5 hours of hiking + any snack or lunch breaks.

Have you been backpacking before?
If not, is it something you'd like to do?
What questions // tips would you want to see about camping, hiking & backpacking?

18 comments:

  1. i have never been backpacking, and the last time i went camping was....... a very long time ago lol. maybe one day! i actually do have friends that are experienced campers/hikers so i might make them take me along one day.

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    1. If you have any desire to go, forcing your friends to take you is the way to go! They'll show you the ropes & won't leave you with no tent if you can't figure out how to set it up! Haha

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  2. I know what you mean. I've never been outdoorsy myself. But now I like to travel every chance I get. Once I went backpacking with a bunch of strangers (travel group) who are really experienced. I just paid for my part and they took care of everything. :)

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    1. That sounds like the best way to get started! The logistics can get tough sometimes, so I would love to do something like that!

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  3. I love being outdoors & hiking, but I aint an 'outdoorsy' gal. Give me a hotel with a shower & food at the end of the night :) haha

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    1. That's what my Mom says...she calls it "Credit Card Camping". Haha.

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    2. Well said!!! i'm outside all the time, but at the end of the day I want a bed and shower!

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  4. I don't think I've gone camping since I was probably a kid. I would love to do it again though! I think it would be fun with a group of friends.

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    1. I've never been with a big group, but the BF & I talk all the time about trying to go with 6 - 10 friends. Just hard to find a weekend that works for everyone!

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  5. Thanks for the tips! We have considered hiking part of the Appalachian Trail for a couple of days. We are considering renting a yurt at a local park, because we are not very good at building a tent.

    I think my biggest concern when hiking is the ticks... do you have a tick repellent you can recommend? We use a natural one, without deet... because it was the best we could find .

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    1. My brother thru-hiked the AT last summer, & I've done a few small sections myself!

      Honestly, I use a super high deet content spray. Or, go without & check myself over religiously.

      A yurt sounds like so much fun! And such a great way to lighten your load! Some parts of the trail also have Adirondack shelters available for use.

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  6. Keeping it short is one of the best ways to get people who want to try backpacking to love it. You don't want to make them miserable to start out. :)

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    1. I agree! Sometimes even those of us who love it like a real bed after a night or two. :)

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  7. Good tips. I miss backpacking. I haven't been in years because I have two little people now, but I'm planning on taking them (and my so-not-outdoorsy-husband) camping this summer. Wish us luck!

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    1. GOOD LUCK! I'm certain that no matter the outcome it's an experience the kiddos will remember forever.

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  8. Great tips! I love camping but I haven't been brave enough to try backpacking yet. We're usually all about the drive-up tent camping sites, haha. Hey, whatever gets people outside!

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  9. I've never been backpacking but I feel like it's something I really want to do - I just have to convince someone to go with me!

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  10. Good tips! I don't have any backpacking & only very limited camping experience, but it's not really me anyway. I like to go for walks outside, but I don't like staying outside. I don't like wildlife, insects, communal bathrooms. & I don't feel safe in tents. I'm not a natural camper! :D #twinklytuesday

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