How to prepare for your first solo backpacking trip – Backpacker Magazine | Gmx Pharm

“], “filter”: { “nextExceptions”: “img, blockquote, div”, “nextContainsExceptions”: “img, blockquote”} }”>

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online learning center with in-depth fitness, nutrition and adventure courses and 2,000+ instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ >”,”name”:”in-content-cta”,” type “:”link”}}”>Sign up for Outside+ today.

Brush up on your backpacking basics with tips, tricks and advice from backpacker experts in Hiking 101.

Many of the most influential moments in my life have come when I have decided to let go and embark on a journey of my own. Riding a bike without my father’s hands on my shoulders for the first time. Tricking the car keys into driving onto the open road without anyone riding in the back seat. I wave goodbye to my parents after moving into my college dorm. Being alone with a backpack for the first time was also one of those moments. It was scary, emotional, invigorating, empowering and rewarding. If you’re not sure you’re ready, follow these tips and take the leap into the unknown.

Do not exaggerate

It’s tempting to plan an epic journey for your first solo backpacking trip. Maybe you have a new path in mind or want to get off the beaten track to a unique place. Instead, prepare yourself for success by going somewhere familiar, simple, and safe. No need to complicate things when walking alone is a challenge in itself. Set realistic expectations, find potential rescue points, and don’t overdo it by planning too many miles, exercising, or hiking treacherous terrain. Focus on your strengths and minimize exposure to circumstances that scare you. For example, if you’re particularly nervous about the dark hours of the night, go in the height of summer, when the days are long and you don’t have much time to camp.

Get out of your head

Probably the most challenging aspect of solo backpacking is the mental side. While a healthy level of caution is advised, most fears about what might happen in the backcountry live in our minds. So when you first start out on your own, it’s a good idea to have strategies on how to deal with scary thoughts and feelings that arise. Bringing a personal locating signal, e.g. A SPOT satellite communicator, for example, is a great way to have peace of mind knowing you’ll get help when you need it. Downloading music or podcasts also adds a sense of familiarity and comfort when night falls. Make sure you have a bright headlamp, extra batteries, and even a camp light to lighten the mood.

Always share your travel plan with someone at home, especially if you are traveling alone. (Photo: Thomas Barwick via Getty Images)

take care

Safety is the top priority when backpacking, but especially when you are traveling alone. Proper caution in bear country, knowing how to treat injuries and a willingness to face the elements are equally important when one cannot rely on hiking partners for help. If you’re an Outside+ member, you’ll have access to courses that expand your backcountry knowledge through Outside Learn.

Feeling safe is especially important when backpacking alone. Start by going to a place where there is a lot of traffic. A popular trail can help you feel safe by making the trail less lonely and more like a party. Better yet, you can start by hiking to a shelter like the one on the Appalachian Trail. You will definitely meet other hikers eating or sleeping there, and even if you pitch your tent somewhere else, you can have a shared experience. There are many backpacker destinations that have cell phone coverage. So if you need to call a loved one while tucked in your sleeping bag, that’s fine! There are no rules in solo backpacking.

Be self-reliant

The beauty of solo backpacking is that the journey is entirely up to you. You determine the destination, the route, when to take breaks, where to camp, what to eat, when to sleep and when to get up. Because you don’t have to worry about what other people think, you can bring more of the things that make you happy. chocolate for dinner? Why not! Disco ball in the tent? Yes, please! Do you usually feel silly when you bring your teddy bear? Not this time! But with freedom comes responsibility. Since you are alone, you must be self-sufficient; You no longer have to rely on others to share pack weight or storage responsibilities. Give yourself extra time to plan by making sure you have the right first aid supplies, appropriate clothing, a bomber sleep system, enough food, and access to water sources. Make sure you have a backup of the route you take. If you prefer to be lightweight, a one-person tent can save weight, but the gear doesn’t have to change much if you’re traveling alone or in a group.

attitude is everything

When backpacking solo, it all comes down to the right attitude. If you’re really scared, follow your instincts. Perhaps you need to gain more confidence for group outings. When you’re ready, don’t bite off more than you can chew, don’t be hard on yourself, take it easy and slow, and most importantly, have fun! When you backpack alone with a sense of wonder and awe – concentrating on the beauty of the planet and noticing the small details – you gain a superpower that no one can ever take away from you.

Leave a Comment