So you’ve finally made the decision to pack a bag and head out into the great wilderness to fend for yourself. This is a big step for you: taking everything you need to be self-sufficient for a few days and going out to explore the big wide world. But first! You need to pack that bag and you need to know what you need to pack in that bag.
When preparing for any hiking adventure, whether it’s your first or your tenth, it is important to hike lean. Hiking lean simply means learning to live with the bare minimum – because remember, you have to carry this stuff on your back! Here’s how to pack for your first hiking adventure.
Talk to the professionals at a local hike shop. They can help fit you for your backpack. You need a special piece of equipment to carry your gear, so don’t think you can get away with just a regular old backpack from a department store. Straps have to be well padded and strong enough to carry the load.
Determine how many days you are going to be hiking. Plan to re-wear pants and shirts if you can. This makes for lighter packing. And really, you are going to be pretty dirty by the time you finish hiking so there’s no need to put a clean shirt on a dirty body. But, do pack enough undergarments for each day of your trip. Change into your clean undergarments at night before you go to sleep so that when you wake up, you don’t have to get naked in the cold morning air.
When it comes to food, pack high calorie, nutrient dense foods. You know how office professionals walk around eating trail mix in the big city – it’s not actually for them. It’s actually for when you are on the trail. Trail mix is full of fat and calories and carbs and protein. Stuff you body actually needs when you are hiking up a trail. Pack lots of this kind of food. Don’t forget dehydrated meals – you just have to add water and you are in business for a meal.
Invest in a good sleeping bag. There’s no need to carrying multiple sleeping bags when you invest in the one that you’ll need for the temperature you’ll be hiking in. Remember that it is colder in the mountains at night than it is in the city, so plan for that. Again, talk to a professional fear expert to determine your needs. You can also read about more advice from organizations like Climb Fit, who specialize in everything climbing.
Before you set out on your first hiking adventure, be sure to do your homework. Make sure you tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone. Never hike alone. Always hike with a buddy. Make sure you have a way to contact someone in the event of an emergency and always travel with your own first aid kit to deal with minor cuts and scraps. With a good plan and a well packed set of gear, you can be well on your way to your first hiking adventure in no time!
Written by Jen Brenner