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Get Wild: 4 Tips for Beginner Backpackers

Backpacking in Patagonia in Autumn
Flickr/Jonathan Esper

What better way to spend the day or two than hiking in the hills? For beginner backpackers here are four essential tips to help kick-start your hiking adventures.

Backpacking means to be self-contained, carrying everything that a person requires in order to survive the outdoors for a certain number of days, over an agreed distance either through walking or cycling from one location to another.

It also means camping in the wild, which is often the exciting part for many backpackers; however, for the newbie adventurer this can seem quite a daunting task. Here are four tips on how to get started.

Pick the Right Gear

Planning plays a big part of backpacking as working out the gear you need is an important task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Bear in mind, however, that having the ideal setup takes time and won’t happen straight away. Yet, there are ways in which you can avoid the many pitfalls that so many others often find themselves in.

Some questions to consider include: How will I keep my items dry? Do I need any backups in case something fails? Will there be phone coverage? Strike a balance between what you need for your comfort and what you can leave behind. With each backpacking trip you go on you will be able to hone your gear so that you end up with the perfect setup for your needs.

flickr/Karin
Flickr/Karin

 

Pick a Small Trip

When starting out it’s a good idea to start out small rather than taking on too much at once. To begin, try a weekend trip so that you can get a feel for your pack, your gear and experience what it is like to sleep in the wild. This will be the perfect time to determine whether or not backpacking is actually for you.

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Take a Friend

During your first few trips you should think about taking someone with you. By having someone with you, you will receive moral support when you need it the most, help with your gear if yours fails and, importantly, someone to talk to and share your experiences with.

Choosing the Right Route

Another important component to backpacking is choosing a route that suits you. Keep things simple for your first trip and avoid any major expeditions that cover large distances until you are more comfortable. Pick a route that is far away from civilization as you are comfortable with, but is still easily accessible should you need to get help quickly.

flickr/Garrett Meyers
Flickr/Garrett Meyers

Make sure that you have plenty of alternative plans in place and escape routes in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, your gear breaks, or there are emergencies.

So get out there in the backcountry!

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Get Wild: 4 Tips for Beginner Backpackers