Everything You Need To Know To Prep For Your First Backpacking Trip!

Backpacking is an amazing adventure which I personally think everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. While amazing as it is it can also be very stressful and scary.

If you are anything like me, you probably have no idea what to expect for your first backpacking experience. From wondering packing your backpack to deciding where to go, a lot goes into preparing yourself for your first backpacking trip.

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Have A Practice Run

Traveling in itself can be challenging however, doing it with a backpack on your back is even more difficult. Whether you are walking uphill or downhill, carrying extra weight makes a massive difference.

I suggest have a practice run or two. Obviously, you are not going to go on the actual route you will explore. Perhaps go on various hiking trails.

Tent sunset trees and mountain views
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Traveling with a heavier backpack on your back will help you train for your real first backpacking trip. You will be able to practice your balancing skills while carrying extra weight. Trust me it is different balancing with a 30 kg backpack than without one.

Strategy Is Key

After practicing on some trails with a backpack, you will be able to give yourself a self-evaluation. This should include your skill levels as well as abilities.

Knowing what you can handle will help a lot, trust me! On that point, make sure you’re honest with yourself while self-evaluating. The last thing you want is to take on a challenging backpacking trip you are unprepared for.

It is important to keep in mind that some backpacking trips are significantly more challenging than others. Do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself, you’ll regret it if you do.

Making a fire outside
Image by LUM3N from Pixabay

Once you have done a self-evaluation, you can then decide on a where you want to go for your first backpacking trip. The best thing to do is to choose a trip you know you can handle.

I suggest you choose one of the easier backpacking trips for your first. This way you can still have the amazing experience but won’t battle as much to complete it.

You will also be able to enjoy the trip more when you are able to backpack with ease. Choosing where you want to go will also allow you to do further research about what to expect regarding the trip.

What Permits Do You Need?

Once you have decided where you want to go, a good idea is to find out what permits you will need. This is important because some permits will allow you to get on the trailhead whereas others require an application.

You can check online for what is required for your planned backpack trip. Keep in mind that some permits need to be applied for months ahead of time. I suggest you decide on a backup location if your first choice ends up as a fail.

Make sure to research the rules and regulations regarding your trail. Nobody likes these types of surprises.

Double Check All The Necessary Supplies

Backpacking requires a large number of supplies. You will most likely need a sleeper bag, tent, headlamp, maps, a portable stove, and pots.

It is important to double check you have all the supplies needed before you leave. If you forget any necessary supplies it may cause your trip to be unpleasant. The supplies needed will differ with each backpacking.have a look at this backpacking checklist for a better idea of what supplies you will need.

Of course, once you reach your destination you could always give yourself a break and book into an all-inclusive resort. It is a great way to reward yourself for the great progress you have made backpacking for your first time.

Pack In Plenty Of Food And Water

This is obvious but it is of utmost that you carry enough water and food for the duration of the entire trip. The amount you’ll depends on how long your trip will be.

The other factor to keep in mind is if there will be any water sources available on your planned route. If there are, you should bring some kind of filter as well as enough water to get you going until you reach the first water source. Be sure to carry extra just in case, too much is better in this situation.

Planning the amount of food to pack can be a little tricker. Of course, you don’t want to run out of food but also don’t want to overpack so that you’re not weighed down. For your first backpacking trip, I suggest to rather pack in too much than too little as you won’t know how hungry you’ll be while exploring.

Inform Somebody

Whether it is your first time backpacking or not, this is something you should do every time. Be sure to inform someone of exactly where you’ll be!

Camping sunset gathering of friends by lake with trees
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The last thing you want is for something to happen and nobody knows where to find you. If possible, bring along a personal locator beacon which can be activated in an emergency situation. This provides the assurance that help will reach you ASAP.

While backpacking is an amazing experience, it definitely has some risks. It can be extremely dangerous to go into a trip unprepared. With that said, this shouldn’t discourage you from going, just be sure to be prepared before heading off on the adventure!

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Fiona Hall


    I have never backpacked and have found it always scary. Thanks for sharing and shining the light on this subject.

    All these tips are so helpful for a newbie. Loved your checklist.

    Thanks and all the best.

    Greetings from New Zealand


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