I usually don’t consider myself a girly-girl but in the land of backpackers, I suppose I am. I love make up and don’t consider clothing from REI part of my everyday wardrobe. So, when my husband asked if I would be interested in doing a 2 day/20 mile hiking excursion, I happily agreed since I had nothing to compare it to. I am a “glamper”, or gourmet car camper, which, some consider roughing it. I now think of this style of camping as luxurious compared to hiking-in and setting-up a “lightweight” backpacker’s camp. I did it though, (which I am extremely proud of) and learned a lot along the way. Here are my 10 tips:
1) Get a pedicure or at least clip your nails a week before. This was the last thing on my mind before our trip and I regretted it about a mile into our hike. My toenails were too long and it ended up getting painful towards the end of the hike. I actually got bruised under my nails. I would of given up my astronaut ice cream dessert for a pair of toenail clippers that night!
2) Pack a clean pair of socks, underwear and a light t-shirt or tank top. Silk long undies are a great for nightwear. These items are light enough and pack small enough and make such a difference in how you feel the next day. Our hike was really dusty and our socks and shirts were saturated in sweat and dirt. It felt great to have something clean to put on.
3) Drink plenty of water and don’t hesitate to stop along the way to catch your breath while you hydrate. A Camelbak is a must and kept us hydrated. We also used a water filter to pump water from the streams we came upon. That way we didn’t have to carry heavy water bottles the whole way.
4) Pack as light as possible (you feel every ounce once you’ve hiked for several miles) and give all the heavy stuff to your husband/boyfriend. Haha! Wade was very considerate of my weight and kept my pack between 10 and 15lbs which was doable for me.
5) Dont be afraid of the ultra light, dehydrated boil in a bag meal. They were actually pretty good, and the astronaut ice cream was great for dessert.
6) Get a head lamp! As silly as they look they are super helpful at night, leaving your hands free.
7) Hiking poles…a must. We each had one and I can’t imagine having done it without it. We had to cross over logs in streams, hike up and downhill through rough terrains and the hiking pole really helped eleviate some of the weight and stabilize my footing.
8) Dont be afraid to pee in the woods. You are going to have to. Bring along a ziplock Baggie to put your used toilet paper in so you can properly dispose of it when you get to a trash can.
9) If you find yourself in a natural hot spring don’t submerge your head underwater because there is an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri that might crawl up your nose and eat your brain.
10) Starbucks coffee packets. They are lightweight and there is just something about waking up to a hot cup of Joe in the middle of nowhere that can make a girl feel right at home.
If you have any great backpacking tips of your own please share them. I’d love to hear about your adventures!