It may be easy to recognise which backpacking products are high-quality and which aren’t, but it can be just as easy to buy too many things and overpack for your first hiking experience. Backpacking isn’t like any other type of travelling, so overpacking will not only make your backpack uncomfortable for carrying, but it may also negatively affect your entire trip. So, the goal when you are getting ready is to have everything you may need and be prepared for any situation, while still be able to carry your backpack while hiking for hours.

Unlike packing for long overseas travels, a family trip with a stocked camping fridge or a caravan, etc, when hiking in the wilderness, you need to stick to the essentials. Basically, since there won’t be a hotel room, what you are trying to do is create one for yourself, since there won’t be any hotel-size soap bars, you’ll have to think about your hygiene since there won’t be any restaurants, you’ll have to be able to cook for yourself since there won’t be a pharmacy or doctors nearby, you’ll need the right tools to take care of yourself, and so on.

backpacking
Source: laurenonlocation.com

There are many outdoor camping stores out there where you can find an endless number of useful accessories, which can make things quite hard for people who are just starting their backpacking adventures. The good news is that if you find a reliable outdoor store you can get everything, from your backpack to anything you’ll need to pack in it, in one place. 

The Backpack

What’s the first thing you need to buy to go backpacking? It’s right there in the name. This is probably one of the things that need the most attention when you are preparing. Your backpack is your number one friend out there in nature. It will not only hold all the other items you need and keep them safe from the elements, but it will also help you carry them easily. This is why the most important things to consider when choosing a backpack are fit, size and, of course, quality.

Appalachia-Hikers
Source: wildlandtrekking.com

Choosing the right fit is vital to comfort. If your backpack fits well, it will distribute the weight, or, in other words, it shouldn’t feel like you are carrying weight. A well-fit essentially means that instead of feeling all the weight on your shoulders, more than half of it will be on your hips, making it incomparably easier to walk with it.  The size requirement, on the other hand, may vary from trip to trip, but for most 50-60 litre backpacks are ideal.

The Tent, The Sleeping Mats and Bags

Another important thing to look at in the outdoor store is tents. While out there in the wilderness, a good tent can save you a lot of troubles. Tents come in an incredible variety in sizes, functionality, designs, styles, quality, and so on. When it comes to choosing the most suitable one for your trip, there are a few factors you need to think about: how many people will sleep in it, what are the weather conditions, how much does it weight, how easy it is to set up, how much room there is, how easy it is to access, and so on.

Tent and Sleeping Mats
Source: rei.com

While you may do without it, sleeping mats can make a huge difference on your hiking trip. Not only will they make your sleeping far more comfortable, allowing you to rest better and have more strength for the challenges of the next day, but they will also provide you with more insulation, keeping you dry and warm. There are different types of sleeping mats, and they can provide different types of warmth. When choosing the right one, of course, don’t forget to take weight into consideration, and try to get the most comfort for the least weight.

When it comes to the sleeping bag, there are also many choices – in sizes, comfort, temperature rate, as well as in weight. What you’ll need to consider most when choosing one, are the weather conditions where you are going backpacking. Nevertheless, always expect the unexpected when it comes to low temperatures, and choose a backpack that’s rated a little bit lower than the temperature you expect on your trips. Next, consider the insulation, the mat compatibility, the adjustment features, etc. Finally, once again, don’t forget about the weight –sleeping bags can compress to incredibly small units, and they can be very light.

First Aid, Survival and Repair Kits

Regardless of how experienced, a hiker is, it’s always smart to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, like getting lost or being injured. While using a map and a compass can be a great way to hike, having any kind of GPS and signalling device can save you a lot of troubles, and potentially even your life. Nowadays these types of devices come in many different forms, and they won’t take up any of the space in your backpack.

New-Forest-School-Advanced-Kit
Source: outdoorlearningresources.co.uk

Your survival and your repair should also include at least one knife, a fire starter, a rope, a flashlight or a headtorch, and batteries etc. Your first aid kit, on the other hand, can protect you in case of an injury or a health issue that can be caused by many different dangers out there, such as the weather and the elements, poisonous plants, hungry animals, rough terrains etc. Your first aid kit should include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhoea, pain medicine, antibiotic and antiseptic creams and ointments, epi-pens, gauze, pads, alcohol, bandages, etc, as well as any medicine you might have for a chronic condition.