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15 Basic Backpacking Tips for Beginners: Get Started With The Backpacking

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Although every new day you wake up with new energy in yourself, you still need a break. Go out in nature, breathe fresh air, and take a deep breath. What about going backpacking to take a break? It’s a great way to spend some quality time in nature. Backpacking lets you enjoy the wilderness, closely witness the sunset and sunrise, and encounter animals. Backpacking requires you to have some skills. 

If you are a beginner, here are some helpful backpacking tips. Follow these, and you will not hesitate to plan your first backpacking trip. These tips will make you enjoy your whole journey. 

How does backpacking differ from hiking?

Before moving to the backpacking tips, let me first elaborate on this difference. Many people confuse the term hiking with backpacking. Hiking is done on a single day. You start your journey, hike all day, and return on the same day.

Backpacking is about spending nights in the camps and at least two days in the wilderness. And this is what makes it different from hiking.

Make a complete backpacking plan

Decide where you will go and how many days you will be backpacking. Check the weather of that location before leaving. Deciding the number of days will help determine how much stuff you need to pack. So the first pro tip for backpacking: Go with complete planning.

Choose the easiest location

For beginners, it’s better to choose the easiest location first. The best location is the one closest to your home. It will let you reach there in the sunlight and spend more time in daylight hiking. Doing so, you can reach your camp in the sunlight. Choose a less-elevated location. Backpacking is not all about hiking. It’s more about spending nights in the wilderness. So as a beginner, go for less elevation.

Choose the essential backpack gear

Choosing the right backpacking gear is a must. Make sure that it’s compact and lightweight. The weight should not exceed 15 to 20 percent of your body weight. It requires you to pack only the essentials. Stuffing extra gear will make your journey less refreshing and more tiring. So, make sure to go with the necessary picks only.  

Choose the appropriate backpacking pack

Your pack is the basic thing responsible for carrying all your stuff. It should be large enough to have room for all the essentials. If you are planning a short trip and have ultralight weight, you can use the smaller pack. For a longer trip, you will need a larger pack for sure.Special bags are designed for women. These packs for women have chains to fit the woman’s body curves. So you can explore them if you are a woman.

Never compromise on the footwear

Backpacking becomes super-easy if you succeed in finding the best footwear. Find the hiking boots that fit your foot size. And make sure that the boots are comfortable and well-tested before leaving. Bring water sandals with you as well for enjoying the nights at the camp.

Pack at least two or three pairs of socks. Changing socks will prevent blisters. And blisters can spoil all your experience. So, make sure to avoid them with a little care. Take great care of your feet if you don’t want your backpacking experience to ruin by a wound.

Tents should be reliable

The charm of backpacking lies in spending nights under the starry sky in your tents. Research well about the destination and then choose the tent material. Make sure it’s strong enough to ensure the natural winds and pressure at that place.

Find a lightweight sleeping bag and sleeping pads

Missing out on a sleeping bag can turn your backpacking journey into a miserable experience. Make sure to carry a lightweight sleeping bag with you. In the mountains, you encounter the coldest nights that leave you helpless if you don’t have a sleeping bag.

Sleeping pads are also necessary to provide you with good sleep. Self-inflating pads will be great to fit in your pack.

Pack the right kitchen supplies and stove

Your meals are planned for backpacking. And so are your kitchen supplies. Only take those kitchen supplies which are super-essential to cook your meals. Soap and sponge will also be required to wash the pots.

For a stove, go with the single burner stove designed for camps. It weighs a few pounds and is thus easy to carry for backpacking.

Do not go without testing your gear

A common mistake that beginners make when backpacking is they don’t test the gear. Use them before starting your journey. Find out whether you know how to use the gear or not. For instance, set up the tent to avoid any last-minute fuss. Check the boots for any blisters. All this will require your time but make sure to test the gear. It’s an essential backpacking tip for beginners, so you must follow this one.

Prepare and pack enough food

You will hardly find something to eat at the backpacking destination. So go with complete preparation. Prepare food that will be enough for your complete journey. If you are planning to stay for one night, dinner, breakfast, and lunch will be enough.

Don’t pack canned food as it adds more to the weight of your pack. It’s better to determine accurately how much food you will require. Excess food will do nothing but fill the room in your pack that you can’t afford.

Pack your foodstuff in the odor-proof bag. And if you want to protect it from animal encounters, hang it on a tree at least 20ft above the camp. It will keep your food protected and dry. 

Never compromise on water treatment

Water treatment in the wilds is essential. So make sure to decide which means of water treatment you will be using. Borrow a filter from someone, but I recommend you go with another weightless option. It’s the chemical treatment in which you carry certain tablets or drops. Add them to your water bottle and you will get the purified water. It’s the best way for beginners, so yeah! Go for it.

Do not pack too many clothes

You will need clothes, but it doesn’t mean you start carrying raw stuff. Carry clothes that dry quickly, like those made from nylon. Cotton fabric is highly unfavorable for backpacking. It takes too long to dry.

Layer up yourself to get an estimate of the clothes you will need. First comes the base layer that requires long underwear. Then comes the hiking layer, which involves nylon pants and T-shirts. After that, take the stuff for hiking layer like a puffy jacket. And if your jacket is waterproof, it’s great that you won’t have to take the extra rainwear. 

Do not overlook the significance of basic navigation skills

Backpacking routes will never guide you about the camping spots. You will have to find them on your own. So you should have at least a basic knowledge of navigation. Learn to read the topographical maps and use GPS.

Determine how long you will hike per day. Trace the distance on the map and find whether there are any flat places at that spot or not. That place should be flat enough to allow you to set up your camp.

Carry both the google map and the paper map. If you don’t have an idea about reading maps, educate yourself. It’s crucial to have a sound knowledge of maps for backpacking.

Prefer going with friends or in a group

For beginners, it’s better to take their first backpacking trip with a group of friends. Especially if you know a trained backpacker, try planning your first trip with him. It will let you learn a lot from him. 

Another benefit of going in groups is that your luggage gets divided. You will have to carry less weight as many things come out to be expected. For instance, you will need only one strove even if a group of three friends is backpacking.

Similarly, you can save many money and space in your packs by going in groups. And the best thing is that you make a lot of memories together. Imagine you hiked a mountain alone, and no one is there to take your candid photographs. What a pity! 

No need to over-plan the things

Beginners usually take it too seriously to plan for backpacking so that they forget to have fun. The most important of all the things is to have fun backpacking. You have to enjoy this adventure as much as you can.

Pre-planning is necessary but don’t overthink to make plans meet perfection. Backpackers do have some spontaneous circumstances to deal with during their journey. And these situations make great stories to tell when you come back home.


Hope these tips added more to your knowledge about backpacking. Make sure to implement these tips whenever you go backpacking. These will prove beneficial for sure. With this basic knowledge, you can easily plan and go backpacking. So best of luck with your journey!  

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