7 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Backpacking Trip

So, you have decided that you want to try to accomplish your first overnight trip out in the back country. Congrats! Chances are, pictures and movies made the whole experience look peaceful and easy, but now that you are looking into what gear you need and you are feeling just a little overwhelmed. We’ve all been there, welcome to the club.

Admittedly, there is a lot that goes into the first trip – it’s definitely finding the perfect balance between messing up and learning from those mistakes your first few times out. Remember these tips though, and it will be a whole lot less for you to try and figure out!

Don’t Mess Around With Bear Bags

If a bear (or any other animal) attempts to chew or claw it’s way through your tent to on your first trip – there is a good chance you will never want to sleep in the woods again (rightfully so). Don’t chance the odds when it comes to protecting your food / scented items. Make sure you use bear canisters if they are required where you plan to camp, research and practice proper bear hanging techniques beforehand, and don’t cook near your campsite. In addition, triple check your pack before going to bed for any spare granola bars or crumbs. It may not seem like much, but a few left over crumbs are just enough to tempt a mouse. Play it safe and you will have a worry-free night.

Follow Leave No Trace

They might just seem like a bunch of pointless rules, but following Leave No Trace (or LNT) is really important. It insures that the next person to come down the trail or camp at your campsite can enjoy the beauty of that specific spot the exact same way that you did. Or, just think about it like “what goes around comes around.” If you wouldn’t want to see trash or erosion at your campsite from someone else, then do the same for other people. LNT ensures not only that nature stays pristine for hikers, but that we are not trashing the place that thousands of animals call home. Pack out trash, camp in designated spots, and only use dead trees for fire wood. Following all of the principles will enhance your relationship with nature, and leave the trail a better place.

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