Backpacking is one of the best forms of travel if you want to immerse yourself in nature. It can help to boost your mental health, improve your mood, and take you off the beaten path to some of the most beautiful locations around the globe.
It’s also a fantastic way to reduce stress and prioritize a healthy work-life balance. The combination of detoxing from digital devices, spending time in nature, and being more mindful of your surroundings can make it easier to fight back against a work addiction or burnout from your career.
However, a backpacking trip isn’t as easy as booking a plane ticket and heading off to a tourist attraction. Planning a backpacking trip for the first time can be overwhelming if you’re not sure what to expect or how to prepare.
Thankfully, a few helpful tips can make a big difference. We’ve got you covered when it comes to planning ahead, so you can enjoy every aspect of your backpacking adventure.
Start With a Familiar Location
Though there are countless hiking and backpacking destinations to check out around the world, you don’t have to bite off more than you can chew right away.
One of the best things you can do on your first backpacking trip is to stay close to home or choose a location you’re familiar with. You might be surprised to find adventure in your own community! Choose a local park, hiking trails, or campground for your first trip, and you’ll get a better idea of the changes you might need to make for a longer excursion.
Backpacking can be dangerous, and getting hurt is a real possibility. When you’re hiking in a familiar location, it’s easier to find medical care quickly. It will also make you more aware of how important it is to know where urgent care centers are or to have local emergency numbers on hand wherever you go. That might not seem like a big deal when you’re close to home. But, when you start traveling more and end up in a remote area, being able to find local medical care can make a big difference in your well-being.
In addition to staying somewhere close, it’s a good rule of thumb to let someone know where you’ll be, as well as your itinerary. That’s a good practice to get into, even when you’re a more experienced backpacker.
Pack and Plan Ahead
You can’t predict everything that might happen on a backpacking trip. But, by planning ahead and packing the right equipment, you can be as prepared as possible for the unexpected. What you pack depends a lot on where you’re going. A weekend hiking trip is different than backpacking through Europe for a few months.
However, in general, there are a few key items that should always be stowed away in your backpack:
- Hiking boots
- Water bottles
- A sleeping bag/sleeping pad
- Emergency supplies
- Extra clothes for changes in the weather
Having the right gear will help you feel more confident, especially if everything doesn’t go according to plan on your trip.
You’ll also learn quickly which items are most important, and what you could probably do without on future trips. Backpacking is a learning experience more than anything else, and each time you hit the trail or travel somewhere new, you’ll get better at it. The more you learn about your own needs and what you can handle, the easier it will be to go on longer trips in the future.
There’s a lot to “learn as you go” when it comes to backpacking. But, it’s still important to be prepared for your first trip. Keep these tips in mind to boost your confidence before you head out, and you’ll be able to fully reap the beauty and benefits of backpacking for years to come.