Going out in the wild and isolating yourself from the city noise and your ordinary life is so freeing, but terrifying at the same time. There is so much you need to learn about backpacking outdoors, and tons of small details that can make your first time the best one ever, or the most disastrous one. The following article is made specifically for you and your needs.
In the following, you’ll find out nearly everything you need to know to experience an ultralight backpacking adventure. We say nearly, because there is so much to talk about, and we cannot possibly fit that in one article. You’ll be making small mistakes along the way, but we’ll make sure that they won’t ruin the whole experience for you.
Grab the essentials
Investing in a comfy backpack is really important because it’s the main thing that you’ll be carrying with you all the time. The backpack should be adjustable, with foamy cushions to avoid any pressure points, and preferably a strap that will wrap around and support your torso. The material should also be high-quality, and bonus points for you if it’s waterproof.
Ideally, the backpack should have one main compartment and multiple smaller ones. This will help you organize better, and you won’t have to unpack everything just to see where the matches are. Small compartments are also important for storing snacks that you can enjoy along the way.
The tent is a long-term investment, so don’t be afraid to spend a bit over the top for it. Of course, you shouldn’t just barge in the store and purchase the most expensive one. Find a tent that will suit your needs. Do you want to share it? Are you going to hike in the winter? Do you want the light to enter it? Once you know your personal preferences, you can even pick the color.
Tents that are bigger are more expensive but they can fit you and another person or two. Smaller tents will give you more warmth, as well as enough space and comfort. The tent should also be made of waterproof material and should be thick enough not to get ripped by the tree branches surrounding it.
Sleeping bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they are the second important long-term investment you’ll be getting. You don’t want to spend the night sleeping on the tent’s flooring because it will be cold and you’ll feel every stone and branch under the material. Not to mention the back pain you’ll experience in the morning.
Sleeping bags vary in terms of their usage. You can opt either for a camping sleeping bag or a backpacking one. If you plan on pursuing both activities, then you should invest in the latter one. It’s a lot lighter and you can fold it to better fit in your backpack. The second major difference is in the filling. You can choose between down-filled or synthetic sleeping bags, depending on your preferences. Also, it’s up to you what shape of sleeping bag will you take, but we suggest you the mummy one for the snuggling feeling.
The right clothes
Forget all about denim and your favorite cotton tee with a cute application in the front. You should also avoid no-show socks, dark colors, and silky outfits. Opt for breathable materials such as merino wool, nylon, polyester. Light colors will absorb less heat, and especially during the summertime, that’s exactly what you want. No matter the weather, it’s a great idea to wear a waterproof jacket with you. An extra set of clothes in your backpack is mandatory, especially if you sweat a lot.
In terms of shoes, hiking sandals or boots that cover your ankles work the best. Depending on the terrain, you can also choose to wear comfortable walking shoes. The shoes should be comfortable, and the right size for you. During your walk, your feet will swell, and you don’t want your boots rubbing your feet and forming blisters and wounds.
Don’t forget the details
Small details can make it or break it for you. Apart from enough food and water, you need to pay close attention to small things that should find their way in your backpack. On your list, you must have a power bank for your phone. Matcher or lighter should always be stored in your smaller compartments unless you feel super confident about starting a campfire without them. A pocket knife can find many uses out in the wild as well.
Bringing a basic first aid kit and knowing emergency first aid can be of great use, no matter if you’re backpacking alone or with friends. There are articles online, and your local hospital would gladly walk you through a quick course of first aid. You may not need it at the moment but might find yourself in a situation where somebody needs help.