A journey in the wild can be extremely exciting, but also scary if you’re a beginner. That’s why you need to gather all the info you possibly can so that you’re better prepared and to make the whole experience a lot better. Don’t worry, every experienced backpacker and hiker was once planning their very first trip. So to make things easier, in this article we’ll walk you through all the essential gear you must have and share some tips on how to pack and execute for your first journey
Preparing for your first journey
No matter if it’s a solo journey or a family-friendly camping trip, you need to be well-prepared gear-wise. The essential gear will keep you safe so it is of utmost importance to make the right choices. Taking into consideration the weather and environmental conditions of the destination, you should choose from backpacking tents that are sturdy, lightweight, and the right size for you or your group. Additionally, you need warm sleeping bags and solid sleeping pads. Once you have all these prepared, choose a spacious but light and comfy backpack to make sure the journey is also pleasant, not only the destination.
How to pack for an outdoor journey
Let’s first clear out the hard part, and that is the packing. A mistake that many campers make is over-packing, which results in a heavy backpack and really bad back pain. Often, you’d over-pack and forget some pretty important things, but carry around 5 lighters and 4 blouses for one-night camping.
For successful packing, you can make a list of all the things you’d need, depending on how long you plan on staying. Next, you can lay out all the necessary things on the floor and start neatly putting them in the backpack. If your backpack is a regular, camping one, it won’t be a problem fitting all the things inside.
Things you need to take
Here are some things that you mustn’t forget to take. You need to pack the things you will need later on the bottom and the things that are smaller on the top. On the bottom, first, we have the tent. If you cannot fit the plastic or metal parts, you can always put them on the side. We are talking about the fabric. Neatly fold it and put it on the very bottom of the backpack. If you can fold your sleeping bag and fit it inside it, do that as well. If not, you can always roll it and secure it over the backpack. Dry clothes, rolled so that they take up less space.
On top of all the big stuff, goes the smaller. You need to bring a flashlight, lighter, compass, basic first aid kit, food, and water if there isn’t any on your final location. A pocket knife can be a lifesaver sometimes. Having multiple compartments on your backpack will make things a lot easier. That way, you’ll achieve a greater level of organization, and you’ll know where your things are at all times.
Read a lot about camping
And we do mean a lot. You need to gather a lot of info for camping, and it would be best if you read some personal experiences of professional campers and hikers. If you already have a destination set in your mind, then try finding some experiences related to it.
There are lots of online videos and stories of campers and their first experiences, the things that they would do differently, and the things that they learned along the way. They are sharing this experience so that you can avoid making some beginner mistakes. Small mistakes won’t necessarily do harm, they would be a great experience for you, because there is no better way to learn than from mistakes.
Look up the destination online
You should start by going on a simple hike, or one-night camping. Either way, do it small the first time. This will give you an idea of what you’d do differently if you were to stay for a couple of days. During a hike, you’d be able to investigate the grounds, look for a perfect camping spot and places to avoid.
For a first time camping, you might want to choose a more popular, visited campsite, so that there are people nearby in case you need anything. Make sure that the place has drinkable water and cabins if possible. This is important in colder seasons, and you don’t want to remember your first camping trip as a boring one, right?
Invest in high-quality equipment
When camping, you want to get closer to nature, but you also need to be comfortable and safe. That is why you need to get high-quality gear. It might be more on the expensive side, but it will last you for at least several years, if not more.
It is incredibly important to have a backpack that will not have any pressure points. That way, your back won’t hurt after hiking for longer periods of time. You need a tent of a size that will fit you or multiple people at once. Having great hiking boots is important as well since you’ll be hiking no matter what. A sleeping bag, preferably a down-filled one, should fit you and make you comfortable in those cold nights under the sky.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.