There’s nothing more exciting for a new backpacker than the purchase of their first backpack. Sure, the other gear can be fun to collect, but the backpack makes it official. You’re not just a camper any more. You’re ready to go places – wild, and otherwise inaccessible places.
But there are several variables to consider when shopping for a backpack, plus dozens of brands, and hundreds of options. So getting started in the shopping process can be intimidating. Is there a point to spending an extra $200 on a particular bag? Do you really need an 80 liter pack for a 3 night trip? Do you really need to stick with a name brand? Continue reading How to Choose a Backpack
The most common doubt that beginners have expressed to me before their first backpacking experience relates to their physical ability. My typical response to these doubts is “if you can walk unassisted and without pain, you can go backpacking.” (And please do try backpacking if that response describes you!)
While that statement is generally true, it is admittedly a bit of an oversimplification. While being able to walk is certainly a base requirement for backpacking, it alone won’t get you to the most beautiful views or remote places. It won’t make you comfortable hiking more than a few miles per day. In order to do those things, you do need to become fitter.
The fitter you become:
- The more exotic and remote your destination options become
- The more ground you can cover in the limited time that you have to explore
- The less time you’ll spend with stiff muscles and achy joints after a hike
- The less prone you’ll be to injuries on the trail (and in your life away from the trail)
- The better you can keep pace with any of your hiking buddies
- The more you can enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells around you without being distracted by soreness and fatigue
- (Perhaps most importantly) The hotter you’ll look in your hiking gear*
Now, How to Get Fit Continue reading How to Get in Shape for Backpacking
There are dozens of reasons to get into backpacking and hiking: cheap vacation, healthy living, immersion into nature, etc. There are just as many reasons to get your kids out hiking too, and the earlier the better. My personal favorite reason is that I get uninterrupted time with my kids in a calm and positive environment. A close second is that I’m making it more likely that they’ll love and respect nature for the rest of their lives. It’s been rewarding for me personally as well, being able to see nature differently through their eyes.
Many parents of young children are astonished when I tell them that I started backpacking with my son when he was three years old. They’re even more astonished when I tell them that he carries his own pack with a few pounds of food and gear for two miles or more every trip, and loves it! He’s not a mini Jeremiah Johnson (yet), and he’s of average physical ability for a kid his age. Continue reading How to Go Backpacking with Kids (Even Young Ones)