Backpacking: 10 Things We’ve Learned So Far!

It seems like everytime we go backpacking, we get more efficient and learn something new! Here are a few things we have learned that might help you out before your next backpacking trip!

1. Download a music playlist before you go.

If you are like us, you probably want to listen to some music at your campsite or even on the way! A quick one-minute download over wifi could take hours with 1 bar of 3G, if you are lucky enough to even find signal!

2. Print a hardcopy map! Don't rely on your phone!

On our last trip to Daniel Boone National Forest, we made the mistake of thinking the app we use for trail navigation would suffice on our phone. We had previously downloaded the map, so we thought we would be okay without service and we had plenty of external battery to charge the phone. It turns out, the map somehow got deleted and we were forced to travel “blindly” most of the trip. There’s nothing worse than not knowing where you are in the woods, or if you are on the right trail. Print a map of your trail beforehand and bring a trusty compass!

3. ALWAYS stop and refill your water when you find a water source!

Don’t be lazy like us and think the quarter-filled water bottle you have left is going to last you the remaining two miles of the trail! You will more than likely suffer because it will be all uphill! Always take the time to fill your water supply when you can. Running out of water sucks, and is dangerous!

4. Have a backpacking permit and park your car in a permitted area

You don’t want to come back to a parking ticket after a refreshing few days in the forest. It really kills the vibes. Trust us.

5. Make sure your trail is a good option for pets, if you are brining one.

  • Permitted? (Dogs were not permitted on the Yosemite Point trail we hiked)
  • Map out the water stops (on a printed map)
  • Know the signs of exhaustion
  • Stop often

6. Trail mix sounds conducive to backpacking right?

Well yeah, if your trail mix doesn’t have chocolate in it or it’s cold out! Just as we were getting excited about taking a midday break for some snacks, we opened the trail mix to find a melted chocolate mess. Not something you wanna be eating with sweaty, dirty hands!

7. Opinion: Less water is better when it comes to Mountain House meals

We’ve started adding less water to the dehydrated meals than they recommend, because we prefer it to be less “soupy.”

8. Sandals for the campsite

After a long day of hiking in sweaty hiking boots, you are going to want to take them off! It’s so nice to have a pair of sandals to walk around in and let your feet air out!

9. Bear canister

Know when they are required and which brands are permitted. Some parks are very strict when it comes to this.

10. Wet wipes

Good for:

  • cleaning yourself after a long day
  • washing your hands before eating
  • cleaning up a mid-forest bathroom break that didn’t go according to plan!