Where to Go
The first thing you have to do is decide where you’re going to go backpacking. There is so much choice these days, and that’s the beauty of it. You may want to go abroad and really immerse yourself in another country. Or, you may decide you’d like to enjoy all the wonderful natural beauty of our own nation! Making a decision about where to go is an important first step because sets the tone for the rest of the trip. It might be a good idea to choose somewhere new you’ve never visited before. The idea of this sort of trip is to become inspired and broaden your experiences.
Who Are You Going With?
Many people enjoy backpacking on their own, while others prefer to go with friends and family. Either way is fine; it’s really about personal choice and what you want to get out of the experience. Think about the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. Sure, it will be safer to travel in a group, but you won’t have as much freedom as you would on your own. Before you make any sort of arrangements you need to decide who’s going to be accompanying you.
What to Bring
Next up, you need to think about what you’re going to bring with you. Now, one of the things it’s important to remember is that backpacking is an adventure in the great outdoors. A stripped back and simple way of being at one with nature and having a different experience to normal. And this means you’re going to have to kiss goodbye to a lot of your creature comforts. But that’s okay; you’re doing this for the experience! Ditch the iPads; you won’t need them. Instead, you’ve got to think practically! Warm and durable clothing is a must because it may become very cold. You’re going to need a tent and sleeping bag, as well as cooking equipment. Never forget the importance of an emergency kit like first aid, maps, a torch and a pocket knife. Make a list of everything you want and need to take, then whittle it down to the essentials.
Okay, now we’re at the boring but important part of the process – the packing. Your eyes are probably rolling right now, but packing is crucial, and you need to get it right. You’ve got a lot to pack, and it needs to be done methodically and practically. You need to divide up your bag(s) into sections. The top, for instance, needs to be reserved for the stuff you’ll be using regularly. The bottom can hold things like your sleeping bag. Bear in mind you’re going to need to unpack and repack on a daily basis, so it’s best you get used to it as much as possible. Do what you can to practice and try out different combinations to get the fastest and most efficient outcome. It all went in to start with, so it will all go in again! It’s simply a matter of packing sensibly and being logical about it.
You’ve got to give some consideration to sustenance while you’re on your trip. It’s not as though you’re going to be able to call Domino’s and order a ‘Pepperoni Passion’! You’re going to need to think carefully about the best sorts of food to take. The trick is to pick things that will give you a lot of calories but won’t add too much weight. You’ll have your cooking stove remember, so things like dried noodles would be great. Tinned foods add weight, but some of them are essential. Sometimes it’s nice to get a few fresh bits as you pass through towns to make mealtimes a little better.
The Cub Scout motto is ‘be prepared’, and this seems a good philosophy. Even if you weren’t a Cub or Girl Guide, you could still follow this ethos. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in the wilderness and in harsh weather. So you need to make sure your body and mind are prepared for this. This means getting into good physical shape before your trip. This is going to help a lot with the walking and heavy bag. It’s also essential that you have the right footwear, and that it’s broken in and comfortable. You have to ensure you have all the right gear as well so it might be worth taking it on a trial run before you go for a weekend.
What if Something Bad Happens?
When you’re facing the Great Outdoors, unpredictability is an issue. Something bad could happen at any time. So, you need to take measures to deal with the event of an emergency. This includes telling a friend where you’re going and trying to check in every day with someone. Making sure you have proper training and carrying something for protection is also very important.