More and more people are hitting the trails these days and seeing things the old fashioned way, backpacking. If you are new to the sport/hobby, there are some things that you will want to know about backpacking before you start up the trail. It all starts with making sure that you have your pack loaded up with all the essentials.
Making sure that your pack is filled with the right things is half the battle. There are necessities and then there are necessities. At the top of that list is a map of the area that you are traveling in and a compass. You can end up going the wrong way at any time. These two items will make sure that you get back to where you need to be.
Head to the drugstore and get yourself a small first aid kit. Since you are going to have to lug this thing around, you will not be able to carry too much, but there are plenty of kits that are ready made that are perfect and will come in very handy for basic first aid needs.
Extra clothing is something else to put in your pack. You are going to need this for three different purposes. If weather turns bad, you will need the extra layers. You will also be able to use it at night to create some extra warmth while you are sleeping. Finally, you never know what is going to happen on the trail and if you get covered in mud or something worse, you can at least get out of the wet clothing and put something fresh on while you clean and allow the other set to dry.
Remember, you are going to be outside and that big yellow thing in the sky can do some serious damage if you are not careful. Make sure you buy a nice pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes and bring plenty of sunscreen as well regardless of the time of the year that you are backpacking.
Extra food and water is another necessity. You are going to need plenty of energy and you have to keep hydrated. If you have never been on one of these trips, you will be surprised at how much it can take out of you physically. The last thing you want to do is be halfway up a trail and end up running out of gas.
If you are traveling in an area that will have frigid nights or plan on eating cooked food, you are going to need a way to start a fire. Waterproof matches and firestarter will need to find its way into your backpack. If you dont want to purchase firestarter, you can just as easily make your own. Keep them in containers so that they do not get wet and ensure that when you need those flames, you can produce them.
Learning about backpacking is more than just putting a pack on your shoulders and hitting the trails. There is as much to learn about what to take as there is on how to handle yourself on the trails. Take the time to really learn about backpacking and make sure that you trip is both enjoyable and safe.