Some thru-hikers start their journey with zero experience in backpacking, and we’re not far from being total newbs ourselves. We have always loved outdoor adventures, though. We will go on long day hikes and do the kind of camping trips where you drive up to your campsite and unload your car. There’s just something about the fresh air, the birds chirping, and the calmness of it that is so enjoyable. But we had never been backpacking together before we decided we wanted to tackle this five-month backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. Crazy, I know. We finally took vacation time back in October to do a three-night backpacking trip in Virginia and we loved it. It presented new challenges with high rewards, and immersed us in the beauty of the woods day and night. However, it was noticeably different from day hikes and car camping. This is what we learned from our first backpacking trip.
Hiking Poles Rock
You may have thought hiking poles were for old people, but once you use them you’ll realize they rock. Not only can they help a lot with balance in steep areas and more technical trails, but they can take some of the pressure off your feet and knees. Plus, some companies, like Tarptent, have designed tents that use hiking poles in place of tent poles, giving them a dual purpose and lightening the weight of your pack.