All about the fitness and health lifestyle
All about the fitness and health lifestyle

4 Helpful Tips for First-Time Backpackers

Last Updated:
May 15, 2024
Kaylin Ging

Woman with a backpack and walking stick in the wilderness with her back turned, looking up at the clouds.

Venturing into the wilderness on a hike can be a thrilling experience. However, things become a bit more daunting when you decide to take your first multiple-day backpacking trip. The best thing you can do before you head out is make sure you’re prepared. This will help ensure your adventure is memorable for all the right reasons.

If you don’t know where to start—no worries! We’ve gathered some helpful tips for first-time backpackers that will make your first expedition a success.

Tip 1: Pick an Easy Hiking Destination

The excitement of your first backpacking trip might tempt you to choose a challenging trail, especially if you’re a seasoned hiker. However, it’s important to start with an easy destination.

Look for trails that match your current fitness level, and consider factors like distance, elevation gain, and whether the path is clearly marked. National parks, with their well-maintained trails and plentiful resources, can be great starting points.

Starting with an easier backpacking trail allows you to familiarize yourself with this extended form of hiking without being overwhelmed by too many challenges.

Tip 2: Choose the Right Backpack

Your backpack is more than just a bag; it’s your home base while on the trail. Selecting the right one is a crucial tip for first-time backpackers. Most backpacks are measured in liters, and a 50- to 60-liter bag is generally sufficient for weekend trips.

Look for packs with adjustable straps and a padded hip belt to evenly distribute weight. It’s also advisable to try on backpacks in person with weight added, ensuring a good fit to prevent discomfort during your hike.

Tip 3: Pack Wisely

Packing efficiently can make or break your backpacking experience. Essential items include a small tent, sleeping bag, portable stove, water filtration system, and food. Don’t forget to pack the ultimate backpacker’s first aid kit either, just in case something unexpected happens.

Also, clothing should be lightweight, moisture-wicking, and suitable for the weather. Use compression sacks for clothes and sleeping bags to maximize space while placing heavier items closer to your back. It’s equally important to leave unnecessary gadgets at home to minimize weight.

Tip 4: Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

Being one with the outdoors is a relaxing experience, which is why hiking can be so beneficial to your mental health. Of course, this means the same can apply to backpacking trips, so remember that it isn’t a race.

Setting realistic daily distance goals and taking breaks as needed is vital to not only enjoying yourself but also preventing exhaustion and injury. Listen to your body, take in the scenery, and allow yourself to fully immerse in the experience without the pressure of speed or distance.

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