One of the best ways to grab some fresh air and isolate yourself from the bustling city crowds is to head out backpacking in the wild. You get to explore some beautiful terrain, enjoy nature and scope out some of the most incredible landscapes in the area.
That being said, if it’s your first time you’re probably feeling a bit scared. And we get it – backpacking in the wild isn’t just grabbing a backpack and heading out on the trails. You want to be prepared, you want to be in shape, and you need to do some planning in order to make the most of it.
This is a thing you’ll probably hear rather often, but packing the right gear is incredibly important when you’re heading out in the wild. A packing checklist is a must, and if you want detailed information on how to prepare and most of the gear you’ll need, the Hyke & Byke blog is a great resource. Let’s cover the basics, though, shall we?
The first thing you’ll need to pack is a good sleeping bag. You should have one that’s suitable for the temperatures you’ll be sleeping in. Ideally, get one with a temperature rating that’s a few degrees lower than the coldest temperatures you expect on your backpacking trip. You can always unzip it slightly to cool it off, but warming it up is more difficult. A tent is another essential, and a good idea is to get one that’s wind and water-resistant, so it keeps you warm wherever you decide to stop overnight, and shelter you from the weather.
Then there’s the backpack. A backpack can make or break your entire trip, and a good one should be comfortable and sit on your back without any particular stress or pressure points. Even weight distribution when the backpack is loaded is crucial because with a quality backpack, you’ll forget you even have one on your back – and that’s what you’re aiming for.
In terms of food and cooking supplies, you want to travel light when backpacking, so make sure you pack food full of nutrients, and any supplies you might need to prepare said food. Oh, and please choose a good headlamp – it’ll do wonders when the sun starts to set.
Pay Attention to Physical Preparation
There’s no going around it – backpacking is a physically demanding activity. And if you want to go through it without any issues, you should be as prepared as possible, especially considering that there isn’t the possibility of being picked up if you get tired. To add to this, it’s not just the distance you’re covering – it’s also the fact you’re carrying a heavy backpack on your back, and you still need to set up camp when you’ve reached your overnight destination.
Whether you’re in good shape or not, stretches and mobility exercises are absolutely crucial when you’re working out. They’ll get your blood flowing and help you with overall body movement quite a bit. If you don’t want to run out of breath within the first mile, breathing exercises are a great option, too. They go a long way towards increasing lung capacity, something that you definitely need.
Overall, working out is a great idea even if you aren’t going on a backpacking trip in the wild, but if you are, it’s a hard necessity – don’t skimp on it and do your best to get in better shape.
Planning is Key
The last piece of the puzzle is planning. And we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that some things are impossible to plan when you’re in the wild, but you should still be as prepared as possible.
Choosing the dates first is a solid idea, and you want to add a bit of flexibility here. Picking the dates that suit you best will instantly exclude some backpacking locations because they won’t be available when you are, which helps a lot when you need to pick the location afterward. And that flexibility will go a long way if the locations you’ve set your eyes on are too crowded – you can just change the date if you don’t like to share your backpacking trip with too many people.
Then you should check the trails available – and pick the one you like most. If this is your first backpacking trip, we would suggest you exercise caution with the difficulty you’re going for. An easier trail that has less distance to cover is a solid choice because you want to be absolutely certain you’ll be able to do it. Never overestimate yourself – it can turn into a bad situation quickly when backpacking.
Last but not least, if you’re heading out in a national park, grab a backcountry permit. Most of the national parks offer them for free, but you don’t want to be caught backpacking in the wild without one.