How to plan your first backpacking trip and everything you need to bring with you
- With proper planning and the right gear, going on your first backpacking trip doesn't have to be intimidating.
- We've put together a guide full of tips on how to plan your first backpacking trip.
- We've also rounded up all the supplies you need to have on your backpacking checklist, so you're not stuck in the wilderness without the right gear.
Backpacking can seem intimidating, especially if you didn't grow up with it. Heading out into the unknown with nothing more than you can carry is a pretty scary prospect, but it needn't be.
By following simple guidelines, making proper preparations, and reassuring yourself that your planning will help you encounter whatever unexpected adversity the trail throws at you, you can get your first trip under your belt.
Once you've got out on the trail, you'll soon discover the simple freedom of carrying everything you need on your back and enjoying undistracted time in nature.
For the purposes of this piece, I am going to assume you've already started day hiking. If you haven't, start there. Day hiking might not be as epic as backpacking but it is a great way to train for longer adventures and it is much cheaper and less time-consuming.
Your major concerns when planning your first trip should be route, gear, and safety. If you cover all of these, then you know you've ticked all the boxes for your adventure and can head into the woods without worries.
Of course, it's always better to learn from someone with experience in your area. If you don't have any friends who already backpack, you can use social media or events at local outdoors shops to meet fellow adventurers. Don't feel bad about not knowing things, most outdoors people love sharing their knowledge and welcoming new people into the backcountry.
In this guide, we go over the basics of how to plan your first backpacking trip and we give you a backpacking checklist with our recommendations for the gear you need.
- Backpacking tent: MSR Hubba Tour 2 Tent ($649.95)
- Inflatable sleeping pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad ($139.95)
- Quilt: Therm-a-Rest Vesper Down Quilt ($319.95)
- Flat sleeping pad: Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Pad ($34.95)
- Sleeping bag: Nemo Forte 20 Sleeping Bag ($189.95)
- Pillow: Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow ($39.95)
Backpacks and apparel
- Backpack for men: Gregory Optic 48 Pack ($189.95)
- Backpack for women: Osprey Aura AG 50 Pack ($240)
- Hiking boots: Vasque Saga GTX Hiking Boots ($174.93)
- Hiking Shoes: Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes ($149.95)
- Jacket: Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket ($280)
- Hiking pants: 686 Men's Anything Multi Cargo Pant ($109.95)
- T-shirt: Black Diamond Rhythm T-Shirt ($51.93)
- Underwear: SmartWool Men's Merino 150 Boxer ($50)
Cooking gear and food
- Camping stove: MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove ($44.95)
- Firestarter: Überleben Zünden Bushcraft Ferro Rod Fire Starter ($16 to $32)
- Backpacking food: Good 2 Go meals ($6.50)
- Dinnerware: Sea to Summit silicone cups and plates ($7.95)
- Water filter: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter ($17.47)
Safety gear and extras
- Headlamp: BioLite Headlamp 330 ($49.95)
- Trekking poles: Black Diamond Distance Z Trekking Poles ($99.95)
- Satellite communicator: Spot Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger ($149.95)
- First-Aid kit: HART Health Day Hike First Aid Kit ($13.50)
- Sunscreen: Thinksport's SPF 50+ Sunscreen ($23)
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How to plan your route
Backpacking safety tips
Bring a good tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag
Bring a good hiking backpack
Wear the right hiking boots or shoes
Bring the right clothing for the weather
Bring lightweight cookware and food
You may want to bring a few luxuries
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