7 Tips Every First Time Backpacker Needs to Know

You pack up your gear and head out into the great unknown. You may plan to explore new trails and pitch a tent under the stars. No matter how alluring backpacking may sound, this is not an adventure that happens successfully without proper planning. Here are seven tips every first-time backpacker needs to know.

1. Wear Versatile, Comfortable Clothing

What you wear should be most about function and comfort when you hit the trails. You want clothing that is versatile and fitting for the occasion. Something like a lightweight rain jacket, for example, will ward off a chill in the crisp wind and keep you dry if it rains, but it doesn't take up a lot of space in your pack either.

2. Bring Food You'll Enjoy and Plan On Cooking

A lot of first-time backpackers make the mistake of assuming they're going to live on granola bars alone while on their trip, which is definitely doable. Yet, you will look forward to food on the trail more so than what you realize until you've been hiking strong all day and you're ready to set up camp for the night. Make room in your backpack for a camping stove like the Fire Maple X3 Outdoor Cooking System and some decent foods you will enjoy.

3. Try Out Your Gear Before Heading Out

That new camp stove, the multi-tool you plan to eat with, and even your tent—try this stuff out before you actually get out in the wilderness. If you've already used something once, it will be far less time-consuming to use it on your trip. Plus, you can work out any kinks with your gear so it's ready to go when you get ready to use it.

4. Opt for a Waterproof Backpack

There is nothing worse than hauling around a load of wet gear; it will make your load heavier and the excursion must less enjoyable. Grab something like the ThirtyFiveLines Ultimate Waterproof Backpack has a built-in umbrella to keep your gear, as well as your head, nice and dry.

5. Don't Forget Hand Sanitizer

Ideally, fresh streams will abound no matter where you are hiking, but this isn't reality. More often than not, you're going to be reaching for the hand sanitizer. From outdoor bathroom trips (yes, there will be) to swatting bugs with your bare hands, your hands are going to feel and get dirty. Not to mention, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good fire-starting solution.

6. Padded Bedding Is More Important Than You Think

It's easy to assume you can rustle us some soft leaves, pine needles, or dirt to make your ground-situated sleeping spot more comfortable. But you'll be amazed at just how much time and energy it can take to create a soft spot to pop up your tent, and you will be amazed at just how exhausting it is to be on a hike and not be getting good sleep. Something like an Ultralight Inflatable Waffle Mattresscan make all the difference in just how enjoyable your backpacking adventure turns out to be.

7. First-Timers Should Go with an Experienced Friend

Backpacking in the wilderness alone sounds like a rite of passage, but as a first-timer, this adventure is far harder than you may realize. The solitude alone can be intimidating, especially when the sun falls and creatures of the wild start roaming. Take along an experienced friend the first few times out; you'll be glad you did.

With the best gear and a little guidance, your first-time experience backpacking will be something you will never forget. Check out all the outdoor essentials and backpacking gear on ThirtyFiveLines.