This year has been full of new adventures for me. I have explored new areas, met new people, and tried new things. My most recent adventure was this past weekend. One of my good friends invited me to go backpacking with her and some of her friends. I had never gone backpacking before, so I was pretty stoked to try it out.
Although backpacking is a lot of fun, it is pretty helpful to know a thing or two about it before packing up and heading into the wilderness. With that said, here are somethings I learned while on our trip.
1. Go with people who know what they’re doing
With my lack of knowledge or experience on backpacking, it helped being with backpacking veterans. They knew how to set up camp and knew what exactly not to do when camping out. It’s also comforting being around people who know what they’re doing. Having someone pitch a tent for you also pretty nice. I probably would have had no idea how to set up a tent on my own..
2. Bug spray is a magical thing.
I forgot to bring bug spray, but fortunately everyone else did. After reapplying it every few hours and smelling strongly of deet, I left the trip with a total of two mosquito bites. Not bad!
3. Bring water.
Yes, I know. This sounds like a very stupid tip, but people do actually forget this. Fortunately, I was smart and brought some Smart Water (electrolyte infused water) as well as Gatorade.
4. Bring toilet paper.
Fortunately, our group brought toilet paper and there was also some in the outhouses.. but the thought of not having any is pretty gross. Just be prepared.
5. Wear sunscreen.
While you may have some trees to serve as shade, just remember that you will be spending your entire day outside. All of that time outdoors means more sun exposure.
6. Bring some cards.
Bring a deck of cards or some sort of entertainment. Music and portable speakers are a good idea too! We brought cards and speakers which made the experience a lot of fun!
7. Be prepared to get gross.
Depending on how long you are out there, you are gonna get pretty gross. Your hair will get knotty (or at least mine does..) and dirty. Your skin will be covered in bug spray and dirt. Your shoes with be covered in more dirt and dust. All I can say is that I reeeeeally wanted to shower while on our trip and was so relieved when I was able to afterwards.
Try to wear clothing that will cover your skin but also keep you cool. Covering more of your skin will make it easier to prevent bug bites as well as sunburns. Just make sure that your clothes are light in material so that you do not over heat. Otherwise, use plenty of sunscreen and bug spray.
9. Charge your phone before going.
I know, I know. The whole point of backpacking is to immerse yourself into nature and not be fixated on technology. That’s exactly what I thought too! So I didn’t charge my phone before heading out and began the trip with a 30% charged battery. The problem was that my poor mother was worried sick about me and with a dying phone battery it made it difficult for me to update her on my survival (haha). Besides having a phone to ensure your worried mothers, it is helpful to have a charged phone incase of emergencies. You never know what could happen out there.
Lastly, it’s nice to be able to take pictures and not stress about your phone dying. I feel like this is a #firstworldproblem…
10. Dehydrated food actually tastes pretty good.
Who knew that food in a bag could actually taste pretty good. Not only are there tasty options out there, but they are extremely satisfying. They are packed with protein and nutrients to keep you full throughout the day. Not to mention, they barely weigh anything, making them perfect for carrying in your backpack.
Overall, I had a great time backpacking and would definitely do it again! Next time I need to invest in some of my own gear and learn how to pitch a tent on my own.
Think backpacking might be for you? Check out these tips I found for beginners, they’re super helpful.. I probably should have read them before I went…
Backpacking location: Castle Rock State Park
(Find my hiking post from Castle Rock, here)
Have any of you every been backpacking before? Any advice for beginners?