A Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking

Over 10 million Americans backpack every year, which shows it’s becoming a more popular way of exploring the world. 

Backpacking is a fantastic way to discover new cultures, immerse yourself in nature, and meet like-minded people along the way. And because you’ve heard stellar stories, perhaps you’d love to go backpacking, but you don’t know how to turn your dream into a reality.

Sounds like you? Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Here is our beginner’s guide to backpacking.

Know Why You’re Backpacking 

Before booking an around the world trip, it’s important to know why you’re taking this journey. For instance, you may want a physical challenge or to explore a new country. 

Once you have a clear idea of your objectives, then you can find the best location and route. You should factor in your experience, budget, and fitness level by starting small and working your way up.

Decide Where to Go

If you want to see the world, then brainstorm potential places you dream of visiting. You needn’t spend thousands going overseas as there are plenty of fantastic state parks and wilderness areas across the United States. It’s wise to practice backpacking locally before booking a gap year travel plane ticket.

Research

When backpacking around the world, research is hugely important. Thanks to Google, you can easily check out other travel blogs and listen to experienced backpackers who share their advice. Plus, it will reveal the required budget and whether it’s worth your time.

Solo or With a Friend?

Another important aspect of backpacking is whether you go solo or with a friend. Many backpackers love going solo because it’s exhilarating and lets you create your dream itinerary without worrying about what others want to do.

But, if this is your first backpacking trip, bring along a friend or two, especially if you’re going overseas. It’s a great way of easing into the adventure and supporting one another when things don’t go as planned. Plus, it’s easier to sort out potential visas, tickets, and secure a Plenti Travel Loan to protect you on the trip.  

Gather Your Clothes

One of the top backpacking travel tips is bringing the right clothes.

Rack your closet to find moisture-wicking t-shirts as it keeps you dryer after hiking. You should bring several pieces of base layers, nylon pants, and underwear. Note, layers are a backpacker’s savior as you can quickly adapt to the weather by adding or removing an extra piece of clothing. 

Also, if you’re going to a cold climate, then pack insulating clothing like puffy jackets, raincoats, and waterproof pants. Next, find the ultimate backpacking shoes, which will likely be hiking boots as they’re more supportive. But make sure the shoes are broken in to prevent blisters.  

Grab Sleeping Gear

As the name suggests, you must attach your sleeping gear onto your back and go. So if you’re traveling with a group, then divide the tent, sleeping bags, and sleeping pad as it will make the hike easier. 

You should also know what you’re looking for. For instance, find a tent that is designed for spring, summer, and fall so you stay warm at night. Further, choose a synthetic sleeping bag because it’s lighter and far more affordable than down. 

As mentioned, sleeping pads keep you comfortable and warm throughout the night, so choose a closed-cell pad as it’s light.

Bring Backpacking-Friendly Food

Aside from your sleeping gear, you’ll need cooking equipment, especially if you’re traveling for an extended period. Bring along camp-friendly cutlery, crockery, and a single-burner camp stove. And because you can’t whip up gourmet meals, keep meal-time simple by bringing freeze-dried meals and spaghetti as it’s easier to cook.

You should also bring snacks like nuts, trail mix, and dried fruit to keep you energized throughout the trip.  

Consider Your Water Supply 

Lugging several gallons of water isn’t practical, so work out what you’ll do for water. Many backpackers choose hydration packs with a drinking hose while others bring collapsible bottles and hope for regular water sources. To stay safe, bring water tablets to purify wild water sources you find along the way. 

Get Physically Ready 

Backpacking is no easy feat, which means you must be physically prepared. A month before you leave, practice hiking local trails with weight so you’re not surprised by the discomfort on the real trip. You should also prioritize cardio and leg-strengthening exercises as a strong lower body is key for successful backpackers.  

But aside from being strong, you must be mentally prepared too. Understand what you’ll be outside of your comfort zone and there are times when you’re desperate for a hot shower or a comfortable bed. Because of this, accept that you must adapt to have a successful trip.  

Know the Basic Skills 

It’s wise to learn basic skills before your backpacking trip. Although there’s a huge selection of offline GPS apps, learn how to use a compass and map, should your phone battery or power bank die. You should also learn how to properly store food like investing in boxes or a bear bag hanging kit.

Further, pack a first aid kit and personal hygiene bag to keep you smelling fresh on your travels. 

Guide to Backpacking for Beginners

Hopefully, you’ll use this guide to backpacking to help you on your next adventure.

Make sure you know why you’re backpacking, where you’re going, and whether you’re going solo or with friends. Then, check that you have the right clothes, sleeping gear, and cooking supplies to keep you going. Happy traveling!  

Found this article helpful? If yes, then check out the rest of our blog for more tips and tricks.

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