- By - Aradhya Chopra
- On - 2022-07-16
BACKPACKING - A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE
Backpacking is one of the oldest forms of adventure sports, dating back centuries to when people first strapped on animal skins and carried what little they owned on their backs to venture into unknown territory. Today, the sport has evolved from a way for survivors to conquer new lands to a fun pastime that millions engage in throughout the world. If you love being outdoors and want to travel the world, backpacking is the perfect way to see a lot of new sights and meet people who offer a different perspective on life.
GET INTO THE RIGHT MINDSET
The idea of backpacking versus traveling light is not just about traveling lighter, it’s about the way you approach the journey. Backpacking isn’t about finding the cheapest hotel or hopping on every bus, it’s about doing things yourself and discovering new ways of getting around.
Prep by researching the area you plan to visit.
HOW TO PLAN ?
Choose an easy route with low mileage and manageable elevation gain for your first overnight. Remember that hiking with a full pack will take you longer than a regular dayhike. Apps like Gaia GPS can help you find route suggestions, trail information, and maps. Plan ahead of time by speaking with friends or rangers, reading online, or making a campsite reservation. Check that camping is permitted in the area you're going to before you go, and obtain any necessary permits from the appropriate land management office.
Backpackers can save money by cooking their own meals and sleeping in a tent or on the floor, but they must still choose the right backpack based on their size, weight, and activity level. You'll need a pack big enough to carry everything. Look for one with a capacity of 40 to 75 litres. Smaller packs (40-50 litres) are ideal for overnight trips, warm weather, and people who travel light. Larger packs are ideal for longer trips, cold weather, or carrying bulky budget gear.
STOVE AND GEAR
While some multi-day hikers prefer to forego the stove and eat cold meals, many backpackers insist on a hot dinner at the end of the day or coffee in the morning. Choose a lightweight, compact, and simple-to-use single-burner backpacking stove. Many backpackers prefer stoves with an integrated pot, such as the Jetboil or MSR Windburner. Those stoves are great for quickly boiling water, but not for cooking other meals.
Pack lightweight, quick-drying hiking shirts, pants, or shorts made of nylon, polyester, or wool for backpacking. Dress in layers to allow for easy temperature adjustment. Cotton absorbs sweat and takes a long time to dry. It's also not particularly warm. Clothes that are great for backpacking tend to be durable and lightweight, but also comfortable. Lightweight shirts (100% cotton!) offer breathability and durability without being too warm; shorts that sit above or just below the knee provide coverage and comfort. "Lightweight hiking shoes" are a must, offering grip on trails as well as support; a simple pair of boots keeps feet dry and warm through rainstorms and slushy mud puddles.
GET IN SHAPE
You should be in good physical condition before you go on any backpacking trip, but being fit will make a big difference when you're carrying all your gear with you over long distances. Many people find that hiking and camping are great ways to get in shape — but if you're not used to these activities, start slowly and build up your distance and speed gradually so you don't injure yourself.
Know what you're getting yourself into before you go out there.
If you've got never been backpacking before, spend some time reading about it so that you know what to expect from both the physical exertion required and the experience of being away from civilization for several days or weeks at a time. If there's any chance that other people might have trouble with this kind of adventure (such as children), then consider taking them along on a trial run before going on your actual backpacking trip.
Before stuffing everything into your backpack, take everything out and spread it out on the floor so you can see what you have and don't have. This will help ensure that nothing is forgotten and will give you an idea of how much space is available in your pack once everything is packed — crucial information if you're trying to fit everything into one bag!
So there you have it. Learning how to backpack is a rewarding experience, regardless of if you are new or advanced. It gives you the chance to explore the world, but keep comfort a priority. Choose the right gear and create a plan before you go to make sure you don't forget anything. And most importantly for this list? Be safe!