First time backpacking? No problem!

So, I will be headed out on a backpacking trip this weekend with the South Bend Adventure Club to the Manistee River Trail and the North Country Trail. This is a beautiful scenic area, perfect for any beginner. However, as we approach the trip, I’ve been getting a ton of questions about preparation. Backpacking is kind of a weird thing. Unlike car camping, where you can bring just about anything you could ever want, when backpacking we have to be a lot more conservative about how much stuff is with us. And yeah, you might add one thing here and one thing there, but eventually it adds up. When you end up carrying an overloaded pack, you are setting yourself up for ankle and knee injuries, since those joints are not used to taking on such a heavy load.

Since many people who read our blog do like camping and want to dabble in backpacking, I figured I’d include a list of the things I put in my backpack. Now, everyone is different, so you might want things (and need things) that I don’t bring and vice versa. It’s important to personalize it for you and make sure that you are comfortable, both with the weight and with the stuff you are bringing.

My backpacking list (summer backpacking):
– One change of clothes to sleep in
– Poncho
– Long sleeved shirt or sweater for cold nights
– Extra socks (in case I get wet)
– Plastic bags in case my shoes get wet to put my feet into (weird…but it works)
– Sunscreen
– Sleeping bag (can be light in the summer)
– Sleeping pad
– Tent (I have a pretty light two person and I usually split it with someone)
– First aid (for me, that includes ankle brace and ibuprofen)
– Enough water bottles to carry 3 liters of water (this is very dependent on the trail you are on. If there is not a lot of water, you need more)
– Iodine tablets for water purification
– Granola and Energy bars for munching on while walking
– Rice packets for dinners (dried instant rice with some seasoning – very light)
– Bagels and cheese for lunch
– Backpacking Stove and fuel
– Headlamp
– Map of the trail you are on
– Camera
– Cell phone (sometimes this is not necessary, if there is no service)

This is what I bring, and that may be more or less than what you bring. My pack usually ends up weighing about 25 pounds. That is hard to carry and can slow you down. So when you want to do your first trip, be conservative about what you bring so you can give those ankles a break. But most of all, have fun! ☺


3 thoughts on “First time backpacking? No problem!

  1. This is awesome – I have just gotten into hiking and have only been doing one day excursions… I want to branch up to camping so I can do some longer over night ones but the gear and everything keeps overwhelming me. This made things feel a lot simpler! Thanks


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