How to get out into the wilderness.
If you’re keen on outdoor adventures, one of the worst mistakes you can do is head out backpacking in the wild when you’re not prepared for it. People tend to underestimate it, thinking that all there is to it is just throwing a backpack with a few things and heading out on the trails. But oh boy, are they wrong.
People who want to make the most of it, whether they’re experienced or not, know that planning and being prepared well in advance is the key to enjoying your backpacking experience. So, if you’re thinking about trying it, we’re here to help.
We’ll cover all the important aspects of preparing for backpacking in the wild, from choosing the right gear to being prepared yourself and planning everything out. Let’s not waste time and dive into the details.
Gear is Crucial
The one thing that can make or break your entire experience is the gear you bring. Yes, there’s a lot more to it than just throwing a few things in a backpack, so let’s go over a rather basic packing checklist, and see what are some things you need to have.
First and foremost, a sleeping bag. And not just any sleeping bag, you want a good ultra light down sleeping bag that won’t weigh you down, and will still keep you warm during the night. And to make things even better, these sleeping bags don’t lose out on performance as time passes so you will get a lot of use out of it.
Then, you should get a good lightweight tent. Something that’s windproof is a good idea because it’ll provide excellent shelter from the elements once you set up camp, but make sure it’s lightweight and easy to set up and disassemble. This will save you energy both while walking and while setting up camp.
A well-fitting backpack is also incredibly important. It should be one that gives you a good weight distribution and doesn’t create any pressure points as you head out on the trails. This will increase comfort quite a bit, and if you aren’t overpacked, you will barely feel the backpack on you.
Last but not least, consider the gear you’ll need for food preparation. Of course, there are a lot of food ideas you need to check out, but some will require cooking so make sure you have everything that’s required to do so. And bring a headlamp rather than a handheld flashlight – it leaves both hands free for whatever you might be doing.
Plan Things Well in Advance
When we say “well in advance”, we don’t mean a week or two. We mean as early as possible, months even. This is crucial if you’re backpacking in the wild, because it allows you to know exactly what you’re doing well in advance, and gives you a bit of wiggle room for rescheduling or moving things around if necessary.
And while some might suggest picking the location first, it’s actually a good idea to choose a date first. See when you’re available and then see what locations you can head to during those dates. Many national parks you might want to backpack through might be closed during some periods of the year, so the availability in terms of dates will have a massive impact on how things play out in that regard. A bit of flexibility won’t hurt either, because something as simple as the weather might mess up your plans.
Once you’ve chosen your dates, you can check out the trails you can access during that time period. If this is your first time, you should make sure to go for a trail that’s relatively easy and allows you to experience the wild without it being dangerous. Try to stick to about five miles of hiking per day, but don’t go over that unless you’re really confident you can pull it off.
And of course, most national parks require a permit even if you’re out in the wild, so make sure you get one before you head out. They’re usually free.
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Be Physically Prepared
The last thing you should know is that backpacking in the wild is a physically intense activity. Not only do you need to cover a large distance every day, but you also need to carry a backpack while doing it, and still have enough energy left to set up camp when you get to your destination.
If you’re already working out on a daily basis, you can add mobility exercises to your routine. Even better, do that, and then add breathing exercises that are going to help you with your lung capacity. You don’t want to be breathless after a few hundred feet, do you?
If you’re well prepared in regards to the things we mentioned above, you shouldn’t have any issues on your wilderness backpacking trip. Have fun!
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