Pull your backpack out of storage and notice it’s not as fresh as it used to be? Or perhaps it’s your first season wanting to go backpacking and you want to buy your first backpacking bag. In this blog post, we have three tips for you to prepare your backpack for summer backpacking.
#1 Finding The Right Pack
It’s always best if you can go into an REI or local Gregory dealer to try on your first backpacking bag. That way, you can get fitted for your pack. That’s right, they come in different sizes. If they don’t have the design and color in stock, you can order directly through Gregory to get the color and size that you want! At the store, they can even fill the pack with items so you know how it will sit on your body when hiking.
Depending on how many days you may be out on the trail, that will determine how many liters you want. Generally, a 55L or 65L is standard for folks wanting to hike for at least two days in the backcountry. Going up in size is great for beginners as small, compact lightweight backpacking gear is expensive. Most likely at first it will take a while for you to figure out how to carry less and keep things lightweight for your pack.
#2 Wash Your Old Pack
At Gregory, your bags are meant to last a lifetime. That means that ideally, you should be cleaning your pack at the end of every season. But we know how it goes after a long, sweaty day on the trail. It’s the last thing that you think about.
We suggest using a damp sponge with mild soap and wiping out the outside and inside of the bag. If it needs a deep cleaning, fill your tub with water and a teaspoon of Dr. Bronners is a great way to get a good rinse of your pack. Be sure to use cool, clean water. Rinse and hang to dry in your shower-not the sun! For especially dirty bags, use a bristle brush to get the harder-to-clean spots on your pack.
Pro-tip: Do not use a dryer or put your pack into a washing machine or dryer
#3 Filling Your Pack
Now you have your backpack ready to go for summer backpacking. Most likely if you went last year some items need to be replenished for the coming season. Is your first aid kit stocked with everything you need for an emergency? Are you a first-timer and need to buy, borrow, or rent the rest of the equipment for a backpacking trip? Test your Jet Boil and be stocked on fuel so you’re ready to go. Rather than waiting until a week before your first backpacking trip, this will ease the pre-trip anxiety that naturally comes with a backpacking trip. It also helps spread out the purchasing of items as backpacking gear can add up, especially if you’re buying for the first time.
Now that you have these tips, you can start shopping now and preparing for the summer backpacking season! Happy Trails!