Hiking and backpacking aren’t just an amazing way to see more of the world around you.
They’re also seriously intense workouts that will help you to build up your strength and get in your cardio at the same time.
There are few things more fulfilling than a weeks-long hiking trip in a beautiful destination.
But whether you’re backpacking through Europe or just going on an intense weekend hike in your home state, if you’re a beginner, there are a few backpacking tips and tricks you need to take into consideration to stay safe.
Keep on reading this post to make sure you do everything you can to gain experience and make lasting memories — without making common novice backpacker mistakes!
1. Start Small
If you’re trekking for the first time, we strongly suggest that you make sure that the journey you’re going on is manageable.
In other words, when you’re just starting out, it’s not the best time to book a five-week backpacking trip through the most remote destination you can find. You need to carefully build up your skill set and your experience level.
To do this, we suggest going on a one-night backpacking excursion to start out with. Make sure that you also go with experienced guides and backpackers, who will be only too happy to show you the ropes (and show off their own skills in the process.)
Check out sites like this one to see which overnight beginner trips interest you the most.
2. Build up Your Endurance
One of the best backpacking tips — and something you’ll certainly wish you’d paid more attention to if you decide to skip it?
Make sure that you train a bit before you set out on your first trail.
This can mean walking with hand weights, with your backpack on, or even just walking or jogging on an inclined treadmill.
Strength training is especially important for hiking, as is overall agility and balance.
Try a few of these workouts to make sure that you can handle rougher terrain and build up your overall stamina.
3. Make Sure You’re Backpacking Light
Many beginner backpackers make the mistake of packing way too much.
And with so many fun and awesome camping and hiking gadgets and tools, overpacking is easier than ever before.
But you need to pare things down, especially if you’re new to the hiking world or aren’t going on an especially long trip.
So, what are the absolute essentials?
You’ll need things to assist you with location, like a map or a GPS system. You should also bring sunscreen and bug spray, in addition to a knife and a general first aid kit.
Bring a lighter, your tent or other form of shelter, and clothing that will help you in the wind and the rain. Especially if you plan on hiking in the dark, bring a headlamp and flashlight, along with extra batteries.
Always bring more water than you think you need, and know where the water supplies are on the trail ahead of time. If you can’t bring lots of water, be sure to pack as many water purification tablets as you can.
When it comes to food?
Dehydrated foods are one of the best options.
Not only are these foods incredibly lightweight, but you can dehydrate meals from all the different food groups. This means that you won’t have to worry about sacrificing much-needed nutrition while backpacking.
4. Know the Rules of the Area
Especially if you’re planning on backpacking through a more popular area or trail
You need to make certain that you’ve taken the time to familiarize yourself with the rules. Many people new to hiking assume that they can just head out whenever they’re ready, and that as long as they properly dispose of their trash, there won’t be any issues.
This is woefully incorrect.
Many parks and trails have very specific rules in place, which have been created specifically to protect both the wildlife and the ecosystem of the area.
Make sure that you read up on them to avoid being fined or asked to leave.
5. Have an Emergency Plan
The truth is that no matter how well you prepare for a backpacking trip, sometimes, things jut go wrong.
You might end up getting lost. You might run into some unexpected weather. You might become injured, or even have an unpleasant encounter with some wildlife.
While there’s no reason to be overly paranoid, you’ll beed to be especially cautious.
This means that you should always inform several family members of your plans to go backpacking, of your location, and even provide them with a rough itinerary. It’s important not to be overconfident, especially as a beginner.
Consider packing a few emergency flares or a device that’s capable of sending out an emergency distress signal.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Follow These Expert Beginner Backpacking Tips
From making sure that you’ve packed all the backpacking essentials to choosing a trail that fits with your ability levels, we hope that you’ve found this list of backpacking tips helpful.
Above all, however, it’s important to plan your meals ahead of time to avoid overpacking and to make sure that you have enough to eat.
We can help you with that.
Be sure that you check out our website for more advice on some of the best dehydrated foods that you can enjoy no matter where you’re headed.
Visit our recipe section to learn more about how you can make some of these delicious and surprisingly easy dehydrated meals for yourself before you go.