Things I wish I had Known Before my First Backpacking Trip
Updated: Jun 24, 2022
It is an ongoing joke in my family that I am not the biggest fan of backpacking. We started going on trips when I was pretty young, and we didn’t go on short trips, we went for 2-3 days with a hike of 8 or more miles per day. At the age we started doing this, all my friends were going shopping with their moms and getting manicures with friends. I was doing the complete opposite, I was sweating all day walking up a mountain with dirt under my nails. Safe to say, I absolutely hated it. It has been a while since I have gone on a backpacking trip with my family, but slowly after time the activity started to grow on me and I noticed certain things made it more enjoyable.
1. Go with a Friend
As much as I adore my family, when your sweaty, sore, and tired, they are the easiest target to place all your frustration. I noticed on the few trips that I brought a friend along, my mood was controllable and I had someone my age to talk to and it helps pass the time.
2. Bring a book to read
This is key, especially for me, I am not the type that can sit staring at a landscape for ten minutes and be entertained, I get restless and bored, although I will admit the sights we saw on backpacking trips are very memorable. I would bring a light book and try to finish it throughout the trip. It’s also a good escape from the nerves that a bear might show up at your tent in the middle of the night (which never happened, although a moose did once).
3. Bring your skincare products
If you’re like me you have a strict regimen every night including multiple products. If I don’t do this routine my ski feels horrible and I get moody about it. I started bringing my products along and even if it is just face wash, getting the dirt and sweat off your skin is such a relief at the end of the day.
4. Don’t eat the backpacking food
Listen, if you are a fan of the dried blocks of food that become mush in boiling water, be my guest. However my family is spoiled, my mother is an amazing cook at home so the backpacking food did not pass the test. We brought uncooked pasta and rice and seasoning, it’s light in your bag and filling in your tummy, highly recommended by the Stanton family.
5. Have candy at the ready
At every mile mark popping a gummy worm in your mouth is the most rewarding feeling I think I have ever experienced. Sounds sad, but when you are trekking up a hill endlessly it helps to have something to look forward to.
6. Go somewhere where the destination is a lake or river
This one is serious, the first backpacking trip my parents took me and my brother on was legitimately in a desert. There was no water anywhere, barely any shade, and it was difficult. After that we only went on hikes with a lake or river nearby, this is important because filling water whenever you can so you stay hydrated is key.
7. Bring ear plugs
Usually used for sleeping around a snorer. I used these religiously to shut out the wilderness sounds. I could not handle it. Every gust of wind sounded like a growl and every frog croak made me… have to use the restroom to put it nicely. At night all the sounds scared me even though most of the time it was water rushing or wind blowing, ear plugs allowed me to sleep a full night.
For now this is all I came up with but there will be a part two so stay tuned for that, I could talk about backpacking when I was young, all day. Jokes aside, backpacking is an experience I think everyone should try at least once, it is incredible to see places hidden in the middle of nowhere, and being away from society for a bit is a great reminder to be grateful for everything we are blessed with.