Among all the different travel options available, I find backpacking to be the most freeing. The reason why I say this is simple. You're not tied down by suitcases full of belongings. Everything that you need to carry with you as a backpacker fits inside a bag worn on your back. This means greater freedom as a nomad to go wherever you want to go without restriction.
Living a life as a nomad is extremely liberating. With no set address, you're welcome to stay in one area for as long as you want. If it's only a few days, no problem. If it's a few years, that's great, too.
Planning Your Backpacking Trip
For me, planning a backpacking trip is easy. I'm a beginner who hasn't spent much time backpacking alone. That's why I found REI advice on how to plan a backpacking trip helps me a lot.
First, you must determine how much time you have to travel. If it's the very first time you've backpacked, you may only want to leave for a day or two. You also need to know how fit you are because that will determine the distance you're able to travel and the duration of time it will take you to do so.
The time of year, the weather conditions, and the elevation and the logistics make a difference, too. If you're new to backpacking, stick to marked trails and areas that you can get to by driving and then walking. You never know when you'll grow tired and have to turn back around.
I try to pace myself considering I'm a complete beginner. I try not to go too far without stopping to take a break. I like to map out my path to make sure I'm not stranded in a place that I can't get out of easily.
The Benefits of Creating a Backpacking Checklist
Creating a backpacking checklist is one of the easiest ways to prepare for your trip. You'll find many customizable ones online. You can check off the backpacking essentials as you go so you don't forget anything. Realizing last minute that you forget your backpacking tent or clean socks makes for a very long trip because of the discomfort being unprepared brings.
Print out a copy that you can keep with you in your backpack as you travel. Laminate it to make sure it's waterproof. It takes a few minutes longer to prepare but it will keep you from forgetting your gear when you pack up to go to your next campsite or home, wherever you're planning on traveling to next.
Checking Your Gear to Make Sure That It's in Good Shape and Necessary
I am a person who prepares for travel months in advance so I'm never without what I need. I take the time to go through my backpacking checklist to make sure that I have everything I plan on using with me. I make sure that my backpacking packs are in good condition, too, so they don't rip or have a zipper break while I'm mid-trip.
Just the Backpacking Essentials: How to Keep Your Backpack Light
One trick that helps you keep your backpack light is to find dual purposes for the things you pack. For example, a pillowcase can be used to hold dirty laundry. Once washed, it can be put on your pillow because it's always best to have a spare pillowcase with you. A bandana can be used to filter water, protect your face from the sun, and even use as a napkin while picnicking.
Here are some more "travel hacks" that help you get more use out of the things you've packed in your backpack:
- Smartphone. It can provide you with GPS, a way to listen to music, a camera, a mirror, and a flashlight. You can store essential guides on it, too, to refer to later. If you're backpacking in the National Parks, having information about the climate, terrain, and animal population are very helpful.
- Duct Tape. You can use it to fix your tent or even as moleskin. If you need to make a quick repair while backpacking, duct tape does the job. It keeps things from falling apart until you've had the chance to repair or replace them properly.
- Baking Soda. This all-purpose product can be used as toothpaste, an antacid when your stomach hurts, a treatment for bee stings and insect bites, foot deodorizer, and a pot scrubber. Creating a paste is easy with water. You can use it to help remove splinters, too, if you get any from the wood you carry to your campsite.
- Dental Floss. It's great for your teeth and to use as thread when needing to sew something back together. Best of all, it's lightweight and durable. You can wind it around your water bottle or another item that you bring with you to keep it from getting tangled up. You can even tie a needle to the end of it and tuck it into the wound portion of the floss to prevent it from getting lost or poking you.
- A Poncho. It can be used as a makeshift shelter, a cover for your backpack, and even a sheet for the ground.
When you find more than one purpose for the items that you choose to bring with you while backpacking, they become much more valuable. Rather than take up space in your pack, the items serve as valuable tools that make your trip more comfortable. They're handy in a pinch and can be the reason why you're able to stay backpacking even after something goes wrong.
Preparation is Key for Nomadic Backpackers
A little preparation goes a long way when backpacking. Having an intended destination and duration for your travels in mind helps you pack for your journey. You know what types of climate and terrain to expect as a backpacker so you're not without the backpacking essentials you need to make your trip more comfortable. You're prepared for anything unexpected that comes your way like a professional traveling nomad.