6 Useful Tips For A Backpacking Trip

By Julia D on July 4, 2018

Are you in search of a great summer adventure? Backpacking might be just the excursion you need to get you out of the house and into nature–or out and about in a new country. Whether you’re embarking on a mountainous excursion or simply traveling through Europe, backpacking can be a wonderful activity and experience to check off your bucket list. Here are 6 key tips for anyone planning on going backpacking:

Image via Pixabay.com

1. Bring somebody with you

Probably the most important safety tip to follow above any other? If you’re backpacking through undeveloped land, don’t backpack alone if you can help it. You don’t want to end up like Jon Krakauer from “Into the Wild” –there are far too many existing narratives of people getting into sticky situations in the wilderness.

It’s much more fun to bring some friends and loved ones with you anyway. If for any reason you are fixated on going alone, ensure that you have some way to contact friends and family frequently.

2. But also, try going alone sometime

On the flip side, if you choose to backpack across a few foreign cities/countries, going alone can be a meaningful experience emotionally and spiritually. You’ll overcome numerous challenges, test your strengths, and find joy in solo moments and interactions with the culture through which you are backpacking.

3. Bring a really good backpack

“When you’re going to be living out of a backpack, you need something to fit as much stuff as possible and not break or rip,” according to USA TODAY’s article featuring additional backpacking tips. “And it is important to have a backpack and not a small suitcase…Unfortunately, your JanSport or North Face backpack probably won’t do the trick. (A brand like Osprey is one of the best.) They don’t come cheap, but they’re completely worth it. The flexibility of the fabric allows you to squeeze as much in as possible, while still being able to fit it on planes and not mess with baggage.”

Image via Pixabay.com

If you aren’t planning on becoming a serious backpacker, you might not want to drop lots of money on a super fancy backpack. Post on social media to see if any friends have a good quality backpack they’re willing to let you borrow, or try to find a used backpack online. Look for ones with optimal designs and compartments for your most frequently-used items. You don’t want to open two different flaps just to access your water bottle when the sun’s beating down on you!

4. Pack lightly and strategically

Backpacking is all about, well, living out of a backpack. It could be for two days or two weeks. Either way, make a list of all the essentials and make sure to consider any unknowns; if backpacking in Colorado, have you factored in a random thunder shower? If in California, do you have plenty of sunscreen? If in a foreign country, do you know enough of the language to navigate without a handbook, or do you think you’ll need to bring it along?

Greenbelly suggests actually using a digital scale when deciding what to pack: “it can reveal what each item actually “costs” in weight. Knowing the exact weight of your gear and supplies helps you pack more strategically.” Be sure not to bring anything frivolous, such as accessories or several books, as much as you might try to convince yourself you’ll be glad to have them. Your back, neck and shoulders will not be glad to have them.

5. Don’t skimp on the important items

Bring plenty of water in a sizable bottle that you can refill. Water is crucial to have with you, as backpacking is strenuous and you can become dehydrated much more quickly than you expect. Make sure you have some way of knowing where you are, whether you use a physical map, compass, or mobile app that can function when you’re offline. It’s still smart to bring a physical map as a backup in case your phone malfunctions. On that note, keep a list of important phone numbers somewhere on your person in case you need to contact anyone from another phone.

Additionally, pack nutritious and lightweight snacks that can keep you going throughout the day. This is especially important if you aren’t backpacking through developed areas like cities. Bring nuts, dried fruit, and non-perishable goods.

6. Lastly, don’t pack anything irreplaceable

Don’t bring the only photograph you have of your grandmother, don’t bring your most expensive necklace, don’t bring anything sentimental. If somebody steals your backpack during any downtime, you’ll be much less upset if all of the items you packed are easily replaceable (such as clothes).

Image via Pixabay.com

Your backpacking trip will be only as good as the job you did preparing for it. Be ready for anything, but also stay mindful of the maximum weight you can carry around and try to familiarize yourself as much as possible with where you’ll be exploring beforehand. A great summer backpacking trip is in store!

By Julia D

Uloop Writer

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