Backpacking For Beginners: How You Can Pack Light
Are You New To Backpacking?
The most common problem among first time backpackers is that they often carry heavy loads in their backpacks. What are the bare essentials when backpacking or hiking, that would involve sleeping over in various locations for a good couple of days and even more?
First up, the most important problem is physical aptitude. I am not saying you have to be in the best shape to backpack but you have to at least be ready physically. You do not want to be the person that drags other people down during the trip. Just move steadily.
Do not go too fast and do not be the brunt of complaints from the group if you go too slow. The proper way of breathing could benefit you very well.
Know your backpack or rucksack. Buying the lightest backpack will not make everything lightweight. Just remember that if your lightweight bag gets broken in the middle of your hiking trip, you have the choice to either carry the insides with your bare hands or you can leave everything behind. You may want to quit the hiking trip as well if that happens. You may notsurvive two hours that way.
Next you come to the backpacking tents or hiking tents. They are not similar to the regular camping tents that you commonly see. These backpacking tents are light in weight because you need to carry them along with you at all time.
But again, as per the backpack advice, don’t just go for the most lightweight tent. Durability is the key factor that you should opt for. You do not want to be sleeping in the middle of the night, surprised by rain and then get drenched anyway, with an ultra lightweight tent.
Choosing backpacking tents with a track record is preferred. The best brands to choose would be North Face and Coleman. However the decision to choose which brand to purchase is entirely up to you.
Do not go heavy on the clothing. If you are going on a five-day hiking trip, it does not mean that you must bring along five sets of clothes as well. The most important hiking clothes are dry fit, so that you do not drench your outfit while walking for miles. Having to wear the same clothes over and over again might get uncomfortable so you may just wash them during the night and they should be dry in the morning.
Hiking boots or shoes are also essential. Rubber shoes will not do on hiking trips. Have custom-fitted hiking shoes or buy a pair of Caterpillars. As for socks, make sure they fit you well and put two more pairs in your backpack.
Other bare essentials are water bottles, sleeping bags, face towel and a pair of shades. It is good to use a flashlight but a headlamp is better to use.
There are specific people in the team that are going to carry the food, GPS system, portable stove and first aid kit. The team leader usually divides the food equally among the members.
Read our backpacks guide to learn all about backpacks for hiking and backpacking.
Backpacking For Beginners Checklist Video
This 2 minute 19 seconds video tells you the most important backpacking gear to use for long hikes or camping.