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How can I Prepare for a Backpacking Trip?

A group of backpackers.
A hiking backpack.
Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are a great snack to take on a backpacking trip, as they are packed with nutrients and won't spoil.
Hostels cost less money than hotels and often attract younger guests, who will most likely be sharing a room with other customers.
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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2014
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Backpacking is a great way to explore the wilderness. When you prepare for a backpacking trip, keep in mind that you will be both hiking and camping, so you need to bring enough equipment to cover both aspects of the journey. If you are taking your first backpacking trip, there are some things that you should keep in mind. Backpacking is not something that you should do on your own unless you're an expert.

When you prepare for a backpacking trip, find a hiking partner who's compatible with you. For example, if you're a newcomer, you wouldn't want to go on your first trip with somebody who can hike for hours without the need for a stop. Once you have a partner, sit down and decide on the destination and length of the trip.

The next step is to gather all necessary paperwork. This can include maps of the region, any necessary permits, and a list of required items for the trip. Familiarize yourself with local ordinances, like whether or not you need to bring bear-proof canisters with you, if the parks require a camping permit, and if fires are allowed. Once you know what to expect, you can prepare accordingly.

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Next, consider food. The best options are foods that can be re-hydrated with water or boiled. For snacks, trail mixes, energy bars, and fruits are all great options. Anything high in carbohydrates is a good choice, as it will keep you energized along the way, and it's a good idea to mix salty and sweet snacks. For trips longer than two weeks, consider prepackaged freeze-dried meals.

When you prepare for a backpacking trip, take special care of your feet. Invest in hiking boots with a thick sole, high-cut ankle, and waterproof-breathable liner. These boots are usually sturdy and tight, so make sure you break them in before the trip.

Get a backpack that fits your body. Try on several models until you find the perfect fit, and then practice loading it so the weight and bulk are balanced. Get all your gear in order before loading the backpack, and make sure you include everything from a first aid kit to a compass to several changes of clothes.

It's very important to tell someone where you're going and when you will be back. If you have already decided on the itinerary, print out a copy and leave it behind. No matter how much preparation you do ahead of time, there is always the chance of something unexpected happening, so someone not on the trip needs to know if you don't return as planned.

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Discuss this Article

panda2006
Post 1

I haven't backpacked, but from the traveling I have done I know it's not quite what movies and TV make it look like.

In movies, people often just stop at random places to get rooms. These days, even cheap hostels are usually pretty booked if you don't pan ahead, and it can be really expensive to try to get a room without one.

It's also not legal to camp everywhere. While it might seem like part of the adventure to throw a tent or sleeping bag down anywhere, make sure it's allowed.

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