It’s winter why are we talking about backpacking already! For most, backpacking is done predominantly in the summer months, but for those lucky enough to start in spring or travel in the off-season, it is good to be prepared so you don’t feel overwhelmed when that next backpacking trip approaches.
In this blog post, we will break down some simple planning tips that will help ease the stress and anxiety of backpacking.
- Backpack: Do you own a backpacking bag? Is this your first time going? Does your bag need to be cleaned from last year? Ask yourself these questions. Maybe it’s your first time and you want to borrow a bag, which I suggest doing on your first couple of trips before investing. Does your bag need repairs?
- Strength Training: Whether you’re planning to hike the PCT, thru-hike the JMT, or go multiple miles, getting your body used to the strenuous activity is always a great idea. It helps avoid injury, something we don’t want on trails. Wearing your pack on walks or hikes will let you warm up to the feeling of having it on your back and help you understand how much weight you want to have.
- Permits: It’s never too soon to get permits for that bucket list destination. Whether you need to enter a lottery system, sign up at a certain time, or try to get your permit in person-the more popular trails most likely limit the number of people visiting, which is important to abide by as a hiker.
- Gear Check: Are you an experienced backpacker with a bin full of gear that hasn’t been touched since last season? Check your gear. Is there a need for replacing gear? Does everything still work-go through that list again and make sure you give yourself ample time to replace and order gear before your trip.
- First Aid Kit: Having a first aid kit in your backpacking bag is one of the 10 Essentials. Does it have everything you need it in? Are items expired? Do you remember that one stomach aches and used all your Pepto Bismol (PROTIP: always pack PEPTO).
- Camera Cleaning: As a photographer, I always kick myself for forgetting to have my camera professionally cleaned after every summer. Winter is a great time to send in your digital camera for a good cleaning so it’s ready for another dirtbag summer.
- Tread Check: Check the tread on your hiking boots from last season-do they need to be replaced before the next busy hiking season. Nobody wants to slip while out on the trail. This also gives you ample time to test your boots before the new season.