Planning an overnight hiking trip can be a daunting task for anybody, regardless of how much experience they have in the outdoors. What should my next move be? Do I have to get a license? Should I eat something? What should I have in my luggage? Yes, I’ve been there.
We’ve broken down the process of planning a backpacking trip into 12 easy phases so you can feel better prepared and in control of your preparations (and less stressed). It is easy to organize a backpacking trip with our step-by-step backpacking guide, and you won’t have to worry about missing any vital information.
Decide on a date for your trip.
The first step in preparing for a backpacking trip is determining when you want to travel on your overnight expedition. Due to the weather, your travel plans will be constrained by the dates you choose to visit (unless you want to snow camp). The only destinations warm enough to visit in January are Southern California, Arizona, and Florida. Temperatures will be lower in the mountains throughout the summer.
Inexperienced travelers should plan to stay for no more than two nights on their first trip. After your first trek, you’ll have a lot of questions answered. What worked and what didn’t? Whether you packed enough food for everyone What your preferred hiking pace is, etc. Consider taking a longer journey if you are more experienced and have the time available. As time goes on, the more time you have to unwind and savor the advantages of spending time in nature.
Choose a trail for your backpacking trip
With so many great routes and sites to choose from, planning a backpacking route may be a bit of a challenge.
If this is your first time backpacking, a daily distance of 5–7 miles is a decent starting point. Be aware that if you haven’t done much backpacking, it will be more difficult than a normal day trek. Depending on the amount of elevation gain, the average confident hiker can normally go 8–12 miles or more.
In terms of difficulty, how much of a challenge are you looking for?You’re going on a river hike? Waterfalls?
Determine whether a permit is required and obtain it.
Determine whether or not you need permission before making any arrangements. The most popular paths in national parks, such as the Appalachian Trail, need wilderness permits, which must be reserved months in advance.
Your permit may have extra requirements depending on where you want to go hiking. Bear-proof containers and bags may be necessary for food and fragrant things if you’re traveling in a bear area like the Eastern Sierras, Montana, or Wyoming.
Create a travel strategy
Getting to and from the trailhead is the next stage in planning a hiking trip. Since most trails are circular, you can usually park your car at the trailhead and walk the rest of the way. Setting up your own shuttle for hiking with friends is simple: leave a car at the finish and drive a second car back. If you don’t have access to two vehicles, consider arranging for a ride from a friend or family member or booking a ride with a taxi or shuttle service. A short internet search can show you which hotels and outfitters in popular hiking areas provide shuttle services.
Gear yourself for your first backpacking trip with the essentials.
Your trekking gear may already be in order. If this is the case, congrats! If not, my 3-day backpacking checklist is an excellent place to start.
Okay, so what if this equipment costs a lot of money? If you’re going on a backpacking trip, be sure that the backpack you’re using is comfortable and that the items you’re taking aren’t too heavy.
Before you go, make sure you are familiar with all of your equipment. Before going on an overnight excursion, put up your tent in your living room and walk up a nearby hill in your rucksack and hiking boots. In the event that anything doesn’t feel right, you should be aware of it before venturing into the woods. The straps on your pack may need to be adjusted if it’s causing you discomfort despite its proper size (i.e. it’s too heavy or it’s hurting your back). Alternatively, you may need to make some changes to the way you pack it up.
To avoid a disastrous backpacking trip due to malfunctioning gear, it’s important to thoroughly test your gear ahead of time.For the eighth time, go out and buy some food.
A successful backpacking trip necessitates meticulous attention to detail when it comes to meals.
In order to minimize your influence when out in nature, follow the Leave No Trace guidelines. Everything from how to urinate in the open to how to securely enjoy a campfire and where to put up your tent is covered in this comprehensive guide. Check out Leave No Trace before you go camping to ensure that the areas we enjoy remain as clean and beautiful as possible for future generations.
Examine the water supply.
Are you afraid of getting lost? Paper maps are essential, even if you think the path will be easy to follow and well-labeled. In the event that your phone fails while hiking or navigating, you should always have a backup plan.
You can also see how far apart water sources are on a map. During the warmer months, several of the water sources mentioned on the map may no longer be available. You should always check with the ranger station to see if water is available and how much you should bring.
Sharing your travel plans with a trusted friend or family member is essential for your own protection. Make sure they know when you expect to check in with them at the conclusion of your journey and the specifics of the path you’ll be hiking, and they’ll be more prepared.
A member of the Bear foot Theory forum named Kim once traveled ten hours to trek the Lost Coast only to find that the path was blocked due to a major storm front. Determine the weather conditions ahead of time, and carry the appropriate clothing and gear, such as a rain jacket and even rain trousers, to ensure that you are prepared for any eventuality.