Top 10 Backpacking Tips and Hacks for Beginners
Many people think that going on a backpacking trip is easy. Just pack the essentials and leave the rest, right? Inexperienced beginners tend to think this way, not knowing that preparing for a backpacking trip is a lot more nuanced than it seems. Choosing the right gear, tools, and equipment to bring can drastically affect your enjoyment of the trip and could mean the difference between a good trip and a great one. Here are top 10 backpacking tips and hacks for beginners. Following these could greatly enhance anyone’s experience and encourage one to go on another backpacking trip.
1. Ask Other Fellow Hikers
The best way to learn about a trial before embarking on one is from the first-hand experience. But if you are a beginner about to embark on your first trip, the best source of information is other hikers who have gone on the trail. You can also talk to returning hikers you meet on the trail about possible roadblocks or confusing junctions up ahead.
2. Pay Attention to the Weather
Always make sure you check the weather forecast before going on your trip. Keep a list of phone numbers of local forest ranger offices, or guide offices in case of bad weather conditions. Weather in mountains and forests can turn for the worst without any warning so it pays to be prepared. If the forecast doesn’t look good, don’t hesitate to postpone the trip.
3. Ensure Your Supplies Stay Dry
When deciding for a spot to pitch your tent, make sure it is elevated or a fair distance from a water source. It has to have a proper drainage especially if the terrain is flat. When packing, ensure that the essentials are packed in such a way that it won’t get drenched if it rains. Don’t forget to invest in the best backpacks out there. Sleeping bags and cloth should be packed in a water-tight container, don’t just rely on your waterproof backpack.
4. Footwear is Everything
When choosing the right footwear for a backpacking trip, it should be durable, comfortable, and light. Blisters are a sure way to put a damper on any trip so avoid wearing heavy boots and opt instead for light-weight trail shoes. Moisture can soften the skin making it prone to blisters so consider changing socks during longer hikes to keep your feet dry.
5. Store Your Food Well
Storing your food properly will not only deter wild animals from approaching your campsite, but it will also make it last longer. Follow the guidelines in food storage posted in every campsite, like hanging food out of reach of animals. This will discourage animals from interacting with humans and ensure your food supply doesn’t get stolen.
6. Start Small
For beginners, get your backpacking bearings by going on undemanding trails. An easy day hike close to home is a good recommendation for any beginners. This allows you to practice in a relatively safe area that is close to help during an emergency. During these smaller hikes, figure out a comfortable pace for yourself. Timing yourself usually helps to figure out how long you’ll complete a particular terrain. This could prove helpful when you are on tougher trails.
7. Always Have an Emergency Kit
On any trip, you should always have this. It’s a kit that contains not only first aid but other tools and equipment that could prove useful when you’re out in the wild. This kit should have the essentials you’ll need that you can take with you if you need to ditch your larger pack.
8. Do a Dry Run
Before going on the trip, do a practice run, with all your gear and equipment to iron out any unforeseeable kinks in your trip. Try pitching your tent in the backyard a couple of times to make you competent at setting it up and tearing it down. Practice cooking outside too and how to store your food supply. Test all your equipment before your trip because the last thing you need is malfunctioning equipment on your trip.
9. Paracord is Always Handy
Like duct tape, Paracord has many different uses outdoors. It could be used as a clothesline, guyline for the tent, for hanging food supplies up a tree, shoelace, and even as a fishing line. Its lightweight so you can carry multiple feet of this.
10. Follow the Rules
Every campsite has their own set of rules for campers and hikers, though they generally follow the same key points as other campsites. Knowing these and sticking to them will not only make the trip enjoyable but can also prove helpful to the site and the environment. Before going on a trip, make sure to do research about the trail, the locations allocated for camping, areas that are off limits, and the fees you’ll have to pay.