Backpacking Tips

michael sproul hiking grand daddy lake utahOne of my great joys in life is to be out in nature. I will admit I don’t like sitting at a desk so any chance to be outside I will take it. Backpacking can be very enjoyable as long as you pack right. Here are some tips I follow when I backpack so I don’t feel like dying after only a few miles.

1. Choose the right backpack. This can be hard if you go into a store without any knowledge. First you need to figure out what type of backpacking you will be doing. If you think you are only going to go for a day or two don’t get a huge pack that is meant for a multiple day hike! Most good backpacks are measured by how much they hold and if you are male or female. Make sure the backpack feels comfortable for your body shape. Some will feel better than others. When I am testing out a backpack I always put some weight in. If you are at Walmart, start throwing camping items inside and see how it feels full. If you are at REI sometimes they have weights you can toss in, however if you just put weights in it won’t be as accurate since all the weight will be at the bottom. If you don’t feel confident in your decision read online reviews from others or go to a sporting goods store and have the salesperson help you decide based on your needs.

2. Loading your backpack. I always put all my gear I will need on my floor so I see what I have and if I am missing anything before I start putting it actually into the backpack. A few years ago people thought you should put all your heavy items on the bottom or the top; however recent studies have shown that you should actually center the items closest to your spine. This creates a normal center of gravity. The bottom of your pack should be items that you won’t need until you set up camp like your long underwear, your folded up sleeping pad, and other items like that. Then in the middle put your heaver items like your stove (closest to your spine). Then at the very top make sure you put things like your first aid kit or anything you might want on the trail. REI has a great video and page to help you even more. Check it out here.

3. Pack only what you need. Do you really need a 5 pound camp chair or 5 boxes of fruit snacks. You would be surprised at how quickly the weight adds up especially once you think about adding your tent and sleeping bag.

4. Pace yourself and have fun. Don’t over do it while you backpack. Take your time. Don’t be in such a rush to get to the destination you forget the journey. Look around you, enjoy the beautiful country landscape.

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