Ten Backpacking Tips for Beginners

Are you planning on going backpacking outdoors? Here are my top ten backpacking tips for beginners. Lessons that I have learned on my own trips.

  1. Pack light: The less things you bring the less you have to carry and the further you can go. You will be amazed how little you need.
  2. Leave valuables at home: Just bring some cash for emergencies. That way you don’t risk of loosing your wallet on the trail.
  3. Let someone know about your plans: In case something happens to you, it is important to share your trip plans with a friend or family member. Let them know where you are planning to go backpacking and when you should arrive at your planned destinations.
  4. Stay hydrated: Make sure to bring enough water and a water filter in case you run out of water. And remember to drink enough water while hiking. The general rule of thumb is that you will need 100 oz. per day for personal consumption plus another 10-15 oz. for cooking dehydrated foods. I own a water filter made by MSR that works great. Familiarize yourself with the area ahead of time and plan your route so that you can refill your water supplies from creeks or rivers along the way.
  5. Pace yourself: Do not waste all your energy in the beginning of the hike. You don’t want to find yourself out of breath in the backcountry and you might need some extra energy on hiking uphill the next day. Backpacking is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
  6. Leave no trace: Respect nature and leave the trail and campsites exactly how it was before you got there. Nobody wants to see a trail covered in trash.
  7. Bring a map and compass: A physical map still works when you do not have GPS or cell phone reception.
  8. Bring a first aid kit: So you can respond quickly if you get injured. REI sells a great kit that covers the needs of up to 6 people for 8 days while traveling in the backcountry.
  9. Bring a cell phone: If you do have cell phone reception, you can call for help in case of an emergency. You will be amazed where you have cell phone reception these days.
  10. Familiarize yourself with the area before you go: Study the topo map and get an idea where your sources of water are. Try to find a trail description online. They might share valuable information on where to camp, what areas to avoid, etc.

I hope those backpacking tips will help you on your next trip. Do you have additional backpacking tips? Please share them in the comment section below.