Five Things I Learned From My First Backpacking Trip

 1. Make things work

If you don't have the ideal backpacking gear you can still make it work. Don't let the lack of "backpacking" gear stop you. External straps can help a lot. If you have a bigger tent (like me) or a large sleeping pad (like me) you can attach those to your external straps. It may make your pack a little bit heavier but you're saving money for your first go around. Also, you can never have enough carabiner clips as they are a huge help with attaching things to external straps and holding water bottles in.  

2.   Plan your campsite

Plan on how you're going to set up your tent and where you're going to place your gear.  I would recommend taking something to hang up your back pack with. We took rope and it seemed to work pretty good.  Rope also helped when I was trying to hang up my hammock and my straps where too short. If you're a person who doesn't enjoy sitting on the ground take a crazy creek and it will give you a back and give you a layer between you and the ground.  Check the trail rules and see where fires are allowed some trails only allow them in certain areas. Fires are well worth a longer hike.


3. Figure your gear out before

A trip on the fly is okay but make sure you know how to use your gear. You might get a little hungry if you get out there and don't know how to use your stove. Gear is also knowing your jackets and layers, When we went it started out hot and ended cold over night. I knew my gear and layers and they all worked, if I had not know my gear I could've been very cold at night and it would've made the trip horrible.

4. Take your time

Its easy to get caught up in the miles in a day, the pace you're setting, and the feet you've climbed. But the best part of our trip was when we stopped and took in our beautiful surroundings and took some pictures to remember the trip. Its about the experience.


5. Fix your problems with a smile 

If it is your first time then something will go wrong. When this happens just smile, fix it and move on. I would take some tape and rope as those would've fixed our problems very easily. Some problems will take some creative thinking, but you'll figure it out. Within the first mile my tent bag which was attached to external straps ripped and I had to put a rain cover over it to keep everything in. Its not an adventure until something goes wrong.   

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Ian Riley

I am a high school kid that loves to travel, ride bikes, and be outdoors.