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Learn what to look for when searching for a backpacking route for first timers. These are 8 tips you should know in order to find the best route for your first backpacking trip. 

 

1. PICK A TRAIL CLOSE TO HOME

It’s always nice to spend more time on the trail and less time in the car.

Also, it’s great to have as many daylight hours as possible to make it to camp before dark.

 

2. PLAN A SHORT TRIP

Plan to hike fewer miles than your typical day hike. 

When you’re carrying a heavy pack, the hiking is more difficult and you can’t move as quickly.

 

3. CHOOSE A ROUTE WITH MINIMAL ELEVATION GAIN

Look for a trail with just a few hundred feet of elevation gain. If you’ve done any hiking at all, you know that hiking uphill is much harder than hiking on flat ground!

 

4. CHOOSE A POPULAR ROUTE

Pick a well-traveled trail in an established camp. It’s nice to have fellow hikers and backcountry campers nearby in case you run into difficulties.

 

5. PICK A TRAIL WITH RELIABLE WATER RESOURCES

For your first time backpacking, it’s great to camp near a water source so you can filter water for cooking and drinking.

Lakes and rivers are reliable water sources, but creeks and streams can dry up, so it’s good to check with land managers before heading out.

 

6. CONSIDER GOING WITHOUT YOUR DOGS OR KIDS

Kids and dogs can be a lot of fun, but they can also complicate the logistics of your trip and add undue stress. 

 

7. PLAN YOUR TRIP IN SUMMERTIME

Seek out prime summer weather conditions except in cases of extreme heat or fire danger. It’s always good to have as many daylight hours as possible and comfortable conditions even at nighttime for your first overnight hike.

Always check weather conditions ahead of time and don’t hesitate to cancel/postpone your trip or turn around in case of bad weather.

 

8. CONSIDER WALK-IN CAMPGROUNDS

Many state and national parks have walk-in campgrounds that are within a mile or so of parking. Staying in one of them is a perfect way to transition into backpacking.

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