Backpacking alone can be intimidating but it can also be one of the best ways to get away, clear your mind and connect with nature in a way you never have before. With a few safety precautions and some basic camping knowledge, you can explore parts of the world you never could have imagined.
As you develop your skills and practice as a solo backpacker, consider these five tips to improve your experience:
Level-up your gear
If you’re looking for ways to improve your solo backpacking experience, try starting with your gear. You’ve likely already collected the essentials for your first trip, but there are plenty of ways to enhance your gear. Look into a sleeping pad with extra comfort features, an advanced GPS system to track your route, or a high-quality one person backpacking tent that’s lightweight and waterproof. You can even buy or rent durable, hands-free cameras to document your journey in perfect detail.
Investing in one or two non-essential gear accessories can make your next backpacking trip more comfortable, efficient and memorable.
Invest in good footwear and weatherproof clothing
If you’re starting to invest more time in your backpacking trips, it may be worth investing in some high-quality hiking shoes and clothing options that can protect you from all types of weather conditions. If you’re trekking in cold or wet conditions, waterproof boots are worth the extra spend. However, if you plan to hike when it’s warm and humid, waterproof footwear might not be the right choice, as it traps warm air and moisture around your feet and can cause blisters.
When it comes to clothing, pack in layers that can provide warmth, dryness or protection from the sun. You may need to invest in a few different lightweight options so you can add or remove layers throughout your journey without carrying too much extra weight in your pack.
Map out your route
It’s easy to jump in and start hiking without much direction when you’re just starting out as a backpacker. In fact, getting lost on purpose can be helpful in building your solo backpacking skills. But if you really want to improve your experience, take some time to map out your route beforehand and mark one or two sites you’d like to visit along the way. This will not only offer a bit more variety in your experience, but will also provide places to stop and rest.
It’s also important not to overestimate how many miles you can comfortably cover in a single day. Start slow with a short overnight trip, rather than a weeklong camping excursion.
Change up your menu
The more you hike, the more you’ll discover which snacks keep you energized on the trail and which meals are just not worth the hassle. If you get enough practice, you can start incorporating new food and cooking tools into your backpacking routine. There are camping stoves and portable utensils on the market that allow you to prepare a hot meal right at your campsite!
Having plenty of protein-rich food and water is essential to a successful backpacking trip. Do some research and find a few recipes that can make your solo adventure a little more special.
Refresh your wilderness skills
The more you hike, the more you’ll learn about the great outdoors and wilderness survival hacks. However, it never hurts to refresh your memory on how to stay safe and leaving your campsite exactly as you found it. Knowing how to tie a good knot, spot poison oak and start a fire can make a world of difference in your camping experience.
Before you head out, make sure you’ve brushed up on the basics of backpacking so you’re prepared for any situation.
Every trip can improve your backpacking experience, no matter your skill level. Next time you make your way out to the woods or into the mountains, try incorporating one or two new elements into your journey and see where the wilderness takes you.