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Backpacking

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Getting Started Backpacking

Backpacking
This is some information about Getting Started Backpacking for people who are curious about backpacking and perhaps aren't quite sure how to get started.

I started backpacking completely by accident. The idea of backpacking had never crossed my mind until one day I was in REI returning a present I had recieved two of, when I saw a flyer there about a backpacking trip. Backpacking sounded like a fun new thing to try so I did, and I loved it! I've put some information on this page for others who might be interested in giving it a try. Let me also tell you, I'm not a particularily athletic person and I'm only in average physical condition - I don't have a regular excercise routine and I spend all day sitting at a desk in a cubicle. I'm telling you this so you can see that you don't have to be in top notch condition or even an athletic person to give backpacking a try.

Where to go on your first backpacking outing

I recommend you research your local area and find a campground that's about 2 miles from the parking lot, and on a easy to moderate trail. If you've never tried hiking with 30-40 pounds on your back, I don't recommend trying it on a long or strenous trail your first time. I chose to go on my first backpacking trip on a trail that led to a camp that was only 2 miles from my car; I figured, if I hated it or if I forgot something essential or just wanted to go home and not camp out, I could always just go back the 2 miles to my car. If you live near regional or state parks, you can often find a website for them with a trail map on it. Look at the trail map for "trail camp", "primitive campground", or "backpacking campground". If you find one that looks a reasonable distance from the parking lot, give the park rangers a call to verify that it's not a very steep trail.

Basic Backpacking Equipment Needed

This is not a list of all possible backpacking equipment you might want, it's a list of some essentials you should think about bringing on your first outing. You should also think about your own personal situation because there may be things I have not listed that are essential to your own safety or comfort.

Backpack

This is important! If your backpack is not comfortable, you will be miserable. If you have a friend who has offered to lend you a backpack, try it on, get the straps adjusted, then put some heavy stuff (about 25 pounds) in it and walk around with it on for a few minutes. It will feel heavy but it should not feel painful. There are typically adjustments you can make to the backpack To shift the weight balance between your hips and your shoulders. Try changing those a bit and see if you can get a comfortable balance. If it still remains painful, it might not be a good backpack fo