Backpacking is actually a lot scarier than it sounds. You’re out by yourself in the wilderness, usually without mobile phone signal, and you’ve got to somehow get yourself from A to B before the sun goes down. It’s tough enough if you’re just walking along a flat path by a lake. But it’s really hard if you’re clambering your way over mountains and along rocky ravines.
To do backpacking right, you need a lot of high-quality equipment. When you’re miles from civilization, you rely on your stuff to be durable and to work when you need it to. The last thing you need is your boot breaking half way up a climb or your tent letting in water as it rains outside.
Why Go Backpacking?
Going backpacking might not seem like a good idea. It’s dangerous, and it’s hard work. After all, you’ve got to lug a massive backpack around all day. Why go to so much effort when you could spend your free time chilling out on a beach somewhere with a waiter bringing you cocktail refills?
Simply put, it’s about the adventure and the thrill. Backpacking always brings new experiences and new beauty, no matter where you go.
If you’re just getting started, you might want to limit yourself to around 10 miles per day. It takes a little while for your body to get used to the demands that you put on it. Walking further than 10 miles can leave you feeling exhausted with sore muscles and blisters on your feet. Remember, if you go backpacking, you’ll be carrying a weight of around 25 pounds on your back, which makes walking uphill a lot more difficult. As you get more experienced, you should be able to increase the mileage above 15 miles per day, and perhaps even 20.
What Do You Need?
Every backpacker needs the essentials. For starters, you need a good pair of boots. Sites like http://workbootcritic.com/mens-timberland-earthkeepers-review offer all the latest reviews on footwear. Choose boots which are proven to last under severe conditions and that provide plenty of grip for when you’re clambering over slippery rocks.
Sites like http://gizmodo.com also recommend that backpackers take a hefty backpack that is strong enough to withstand the elements. The best backpacking backpacks are those that have a frame. Frames help to take the strain off your shoulders and onto your hips, a much more natural load-bearing joint. According to Gizmodo, it’s possible to get a backpack with a frame for less than $100.
You’ll also need a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags with man-made fillers - rather than duck down - tend to be much lighter and easier to pack away than regular down sleeping bags. If you want enough space for the rest of your stuff in your backpack, choose a synthetic sleeping bag and always add an extra 10 degrees to the rating, just so that you can stay comfortable at night, should the temperature dip below freezing.
Finally, you’ll need a tent. One-man tents are the best, since they’re small and easily fold away.