What to Consider Before Your First Backpacking Trip

Backpacking is a fabulous way to explore the great outdoors, but if you’ve never gone on a backpacking trip before, there’s a lot you need to know before you set out. 

There are plenty of apps and budget tips that can help you get started, but here are some extra tips you can use before hitting the trails. 


How to find the right backpacking gear

You’ll need a backpack to carry your food and gear, of course, but that’s not the only equipment necessary for a successful backpacking trip. You’ll also need:

  • Hiking boots or trail shoes
  • A tent and sleeping bag
  • Clothing
  • Emergency supplies
  • Food
  • A way to carry and filter water
  • A first-aid kit
  • A map and compass

Your own list of must-haves could be different, depending on where you’re backpacking and how long you’ll be away. 

Do your research ahead of time to find the right equipment and learn how to use it properly. The gear you choose could make the difference between an epic backpacking trip and a mediocre (or downright crummy) one. 

Seasonality and weather conditions will also impact your gear. The hiking boots you’ll use in the summer aren’t necessarily the same as the ones you’d need for a winter backpacking trip, for example.


Choosing the best food for your backpacking trip

Backpacking takes a lot of energy, and that means you’ll need to refuel regularly on the trail. For starters, dehydrated food is lightweight and easy to pack. While you’re out in the wilderness, remember that there are also plenty of gourmet freeze-dried meals available from companies like Backpacker’s Pantry. These meals make it easy to get enough calories without sacrificing taste. 


Where to go for your first backpacking trip

It’s a big world out there, and there are thousands of backpacking trails to choose from. 

Websites like AllTrails and Komoot can help narrow down the areas you want to explore. Since each trail has regulations on where you can camp, whether fires or allowed and more, you need to do plenty of research about each option before you take off. 


What to avoid on your first backpacking trip

No one is perfect, but you can avoid some common backpacking mistakes by doing your research before the start of your first adventure. With the right foundation of knowledge, you can help prevent and avoid mistakes that could ruin your backpacking trip. For example:

  • To make sure you’re physically ready, start with small hikes until your body gets used to hiking and carrying a backpack. 
  • Staying organized is another way to stress less (organization will keep you from overpacking as well.) 
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles every time you recreate outside.
  • Most importantly, have fun! 


Backpacker's Pantry provides ready-to-eat, lightweight camping food for short hikes, extreme adventures and everything in between. Browse our nutritious, gourmet food for the trail.