Backpacking is an excellent way to both get some great exercise and to get out and enjoy all the splendor nature has to offer us. Unfortunately, a bad backpacking experience for a beginner will probably cause that person to not every want to go backpacking again. It doesn’t matter if you’re a potential new backpacker or are going to take someone new along with you; here is an article with some great tips to ensure the backpacking trip goes relatively smooth. These tips should help to ensure the beginning backpacker has a fun and positive experience (see also our best day hiking backpack review).
Take Very Good Care Of Your Feet
Obviously, the idea of backpacking is to travel by foot. Being on your feet a lot can carry some risks that can turn a backpacking trip into a negative experience. For example, blisters or an injured ankle will make the rest of the backpacking trip painful, as opposed to enjoyable.
Before one step is taken on your backpacking trip, it is essential you have the proper shoes. You don’t necessarily have to invest in backpacking or hiking boots, especially if you need orthotic ones. Most of the time, a pair of comfortable sneakers will be sufficient. However, if the backpacking trip is going to take place over some rough terrain, or you will be carrying a pack which is heavy, you should then opt for a pair of comfortable backpacking or hiking boots. Always ensure that you have excellent ankle support in any pair of shoes you plan on using for a backpacking trip.
As important as shoes are to prevent blisters, socks are also essential for this purpose. Believe it or not, because of their roughness, hiking socks can actually enable blisters to form. However, they do a good job of keeping your feet dry and free from sweat. How can you get the benefits of hiking socks, without risking blisters? You’ll need to wear a second pair of socks. If you wear a pair of thin nylon socks beneath the hiking socks, you’ll help to prevent the blisters from forming, but still get all the benefits of keeping your feet dry and sweat free.
A Comfortable Pack Is Essential To Any Backpacking Trip
When you’re out hiking for a few miles, the comfort of the pack will be crucial. You need to be sure that the pack sits with the utmost comfort on your back and shoulders. Always, always, try the pack on before you leave it. Another tip to purchasing a backpack is making sure the distribution of weight is optimal. Don’t think just because you buy a pricey pack that has tons of features it’s going to be comfortable. Your pack could wind up putting too much strain on your shoulders or back. Even worse, the support bar could rub hard against your back as you are hiking (external frame backpack guide).
Number One Mistake New Backpackers Make: Don’t Over Pack
By far, one of the biggest mistakes most new backpackers make is they completely over pack. You want to keep it as light as possible. The further you hike, the more extra ounces start to feel like pounds. There are two types of backpacking equipment: Necessities and non-essentials. Necessities include items like a flashlight, first aid kit, food, etc . . . Non-essentials are “creature comforts.” For example, when cooking food, it’s best if you can pack a backpacking grill, instead of packing heavy, bulky cooking equipment. Your best bet is to lay out everything you think you need. Pack all of the essential items first. Then put some of your non-essential items in. Try the pack on. You may not think the pack feels all that heavy initially. However, think about how that pack would feel after walking a few miles. You may have to take some non-essential items out of your pack.
Just Have Fun
Remember you’re in the outdoors and in nature for a reason. You’re supposed to be having fun. Don’t feel like you have a set itinerary while out backpacking. Whatever you do, don’t overdo it. Keep your first few hikes at an enjoyable pace and distance. You want backpacking to become a permanent hobby and something to look forward to, not something to dread and despise. By following the tips outlined in this article and not overdoing it, you should find yourself having a pleasant, enjoyable, fun, time.