Into The Wild: A Beginner’s Guide To Hiking And Backpacking

Are you new to the hiking and backpacking world? And not sure how and where to begin?

Backpacking in the wild is a blend of hiking and camping while experiencing the thrill and witnessing the majestic views of nature. The adventurous hike broadens your horizon, improves your confidence, makes you mentally and physically more robust, and teaches lifelong lessons. In addition, you explore new cultures, make new friends and disconnect from your daily monotonous life.

Despite these numerous benefits, backpacking in the wild can be challenging for beginners. There are numerous things you must consider and do while hiking. To begin with, buy the right gear, pick an appropriate trail, know the dos and don’ts on trial, choose suitable buddies, prepare for emergencies, and much more.

This article guides you on how to prepare well for a thrilling adventure.

Prepare All Your Gear

Having the appropriate gear is essential for every hike. Without them, you can’t think of leaving. There are two ways to get them. First, you can buy them. Second, rent it out. Since this is your first hike, renting out gear and clothes is recommended.

Renting gear will keep your investment low, and you will get familiar with everything that will help you make better buying decisions later.

Now you must be thinking about what gear to rent. The following are the essential gear you need for hiking in the wild.

  • Tent: Pick a lightweight, durable tent with enough space for at least two people. As you are renting it, make sure you check for all damages.
  • Backpack: Again, choose a lightweight backpack with enough carrying capacity. Since this is your first trek, you can pick a 35–40-liter backpack.
  • Sleeping Bags: Your sleeping bag should have good insulation to keep you warm during cold nights. Moreover, it should be compact and easy to carry in your backpack.
  • Sleeping Mat or Pad: To have a good night’s sleep, you need a sleeping pad that is well-cushioned and insulated.
  • Cooking Stove and Fire Starters: Prefer a stove specifically made for camping. Such stoves are compact, lightweight, and easy to carry. Besides the stove, you also must carry fire starters like a matchstick and lighter fluid.  Remember, if you forget to carry a lighter fluid, you can use other items to light a fire. Wondering how to start a fire without a lighter fluid? Use various household items like Duct Tape, Chips, Chapstick, paper, Cotton Balls, etc.
  • Water Filter: As you are going in the wild, drinking clean water is challenging. Therefore, you need to carry a water filter. You can find numerous water filters in the market specifically made for hiking.
  • Utensils: Carry enough pots, pans, plates, cups, and other utensils to cook your planned meals.
  • Hiking Clothes: Besides all the gear mentioned above, hiking clothing is among the most vital thing you need. Simply choose clothes made of quick-drying fabrics like nylon and polyester. But to get your hiking clothes right, you need to group them in layers; Base Layer, Hiking Layer, Insulation, and Rainwear.  The base layer includes undergarments and thermal; hiking layers have T-shirts for insulation, pick sweaters and padded jackets for insulation, and windcheaters and a poncho in the outermost layer.

Choose An Easy Trail For Your Hiking

Hiking on a challenging trail can ruin your experience as you struggle most of the time instead of enjoying it. Not only this, but you might also get stuck in a life-threatening situation. Hence the key advice is to choose an easy and safe trail. On an easy trail, you enjoy your hike more while putting in less effort.

To ensure you have a great hiking experience, be sure to get the AllTrails app before you go. The app has reviews from other hikers to keep you up to date on the latest trail conditions. You can filter by trail difficulty, length, and suitability and download trail maps to help keep you on track even when you’re offline.

To choose an easy trail, you must follow these tips;

  • Choose Nearby Trail: Picking a trail close to your home can save driving time. In addition, you also have more time to enjoy the hike and camping in daylight.
  • Trail Should Have Shorter Distance And Less Elevation Gain: Plan a hike with a shorter distance and less elevation as it will put less strain on your body and avoid any medical emergency.
  • Ensure There Are Water Sources On The Trail: Water is an essential thing you require on the hike. You need water to rehydrate, cook food, and for personal use. Hence, you must choose the trail and campsite site with water sources.
  • Prefer A Clear Day: Weather plays a crucial role in making your hike successful. On a clear day, you can easily hike without any obstacles. So, always check the forecast before venturing on the hike and choose a sunny day.

Plan Your Meals

After finalizing the gear, the next step is planning the food. Start by calculating the number of meals you will eat on the hike, which includes breakfast, lunch, evening snacks, and dinner. Once done, prepare a detailed food menu. Make sure you pick meals that are easy to cook and require minimal ingredients. For example, rice, eggs, ready-to-eat food, noodles, soup, bread, biscuits, and vegetables. This will save you energy and time while cooking. After that, list all the required ingredients and get them from a nearby store.

Work On Your Fitness

beginners guide hiking backpacking

Good fitness is essential if you want to enjoy your hike to the fullest. So, start working out at least a week before your hike. Include exercises like running for a short distance, yoga, weightlifting, and meditation. Apart from it, you can also indulge in various sports like football, soccer, baseball, etc.


Although backpacking in the wild is an exciting and thrilling experience, you need to be prepared well, especially when you are a beginner. You must choose an easy trail, carry lightweight gear, wear appropriate clothes, and work on your fitness. Besides, you must also take the advice of someone experienced and do detailed research on everything involved.

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