Backpacking can be an inexpensive way to travel far and light. The key to successful backpacking is to be able to pack light and not buy too much along the way. One thing is for sure, backpacking definitely isn’t for everyone – over packers will NOT survive a backpacking trip, so it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. With that said, let’s get right into this list of tips for first-time backpackers…
Choosing the Right Backpack
This may seem trivial, but your trip could depend on how high (or low) quality your backpack is. We recommend getting a military-grade backpack. Military 1st is an excellent online store for first-rate military backpacks that are both durable and functional. The Wisport Whistler in Coyote Brown is a good option if you’re looking for a good amount of space. It also has wide and ergonomically shaped shoulder straps, together with padded waist belt help to distribute weight evenly and relief the pressure from the back. The straps and attachment points are perfect for attaching pouches, sweaters, bags etc.
Choose a Destination
Backpacking requires more planning than a regular trip because it involves walking. Your destination will depend on how much time you have, your fitness level, how long you’re comfortable walking each day, elevation (are you comfortable walking uphill a lot?) and the time of year you’re considering. If you don’t want to try stuffing winter gear into your backpack then I would suggest planning a trip during Fall or Spring when the weather is mildest. The Summer heat may be too intense for some.
Your budget will determine two main things – where you sleep and eat. Does your budget allow for hotels, hostels, or will you have to make do with camping? Hotels are obviously the priciest option. If you can handle sharing certain spaces with other guests, there are plenty of upscale hostels to choose from where guests each have their own private room. You’ll also want a game plan for where you’ll be eating. In Thailand, for instance, you may never have to dine at a restaurant because the street food options are endless (and cheap). But for somewhere like France, you will have to dine at restaurants so really consider the limitations of your budget when choosing where you’ll be going. A good tip is to research exchange rates of places you’re considering before booking any flights. Western Europe is typically the most expensive in terms of accommodations and meals.
So now that you have somewhat of an idea of where you’d like to go, here are some extra essentials you may want to bring along your backpacking adventure:
- Rainwear to stay dry
- Good quality footwear (boots for cold destination and lightweight walking sneakers for warmer ones)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Knife (like a Swiss Army Knife)
- Extra clothing
- Sleep clothes
- Phone protective cover like the the Aquapac Phone Case
- Water filtration system like the LifeStraw Go
- Portable battery charger for phone and other electronics