Backpacking is one of the most rewarding vacation you can get (and they’re cheap too). It brings you closer to nature; you get to experience its beauty, it makes you fit and more.
It involves “carrying your house on your back” as some might say. You need to carry your tent, stove, food, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothes and other gear around with you in other to sustain yourself.
The best advice for backpacking is probably to carry very little weight. Trust me; you’ll enjoy backpacking more with a light load on your back. Other tips you might want to consider:
Make sure you wear comfortable boots that won’t give you blisters.
If you carry a heavy load, you probably won’t be able to get away with wearing tennis shoes because your ankles would need support. I don’t wear heavy boots because it gives me blisters. Carrying a heavier backpack and wearing heavier boots does not make you look like an experienced hiker. Many through-hikers and adventure racers wear sneakers and carry small backpacks.
Carry lightweight alternatives to everything.
If you can find gear that has multiple functions, then use them. Many lightweight alternatives are available today.
Use a tarp and bivvy combination. There are two man tents today that are even lighter than a bivvy sack, but they also cost a lot of money. You can also use a tarp (alone or with a bivvy) as an alternative. Tarps save you a lot of weight as opposed to using conventional tents.
Don’t forget the camping mattress.
Some beginners then to leave the camping mattress out because they think it is not necessary but unless you sleep cold and can sleep on the hard ground it is an essential gear. A good night’s sleep is really important on a backpacking trip because you’ll need the energy for hiking the next day.
Prepare well for rain and cold.
The cold can kill you so remember to bring along your raingear and fleece. Consider a fleece cap and balaclava as well because they help you keep warm.
Change into clean, dry clothing just before going to sleep if possible. The oils from your body make insulation from your clothing and sleeping bag less effective. Clean clothing helps you keep warm at night.
Carry a lightweight backpacking stove.
I once survived on a backpacking trip without carrying a camp stove. You could probably survive without one too but not all hiking trails allow campfires and cooking with it is quite slow. I recommend propane stoves for short trips and liquid fuel stove for longer trips and at high elevation and extreme cold.