5 Backpacking Tips for Non-Backpackers

Follow these five tips that cover how to have a great first backpacking experience.

If you’re looking for a way to immerse yourself in nature, backpacking is an obvious choice. However, going in unprepared can make nature seem more foe than friend. Here are a few backpacking tips to consider before heading out into the wilderness.

Cotopaxi's Backpacking Tips for Non-Backpackers

Change Your Mindset

Remember, camping is not the same as living in a house–it is different on purpose. Try not to compare your sleeping bag to your bed at home, your pop-up tent to your shingled roof, or a hole in the ground to your porcelain throne. Focus instead on the things you can experience in the wild that you can’t at home, like the sounds of nature as your alarm clock in the morning or the endless stars as your nightlight at night.

Pack Smarter

Your backpack fitting comfortably on your body is essential. Make sure your pack is the right size, fitted properly for your body, packed the proper way, and full of only what you need. If you’re looking for a pack, our Taboche pack is a great choice for beginners. Here is a more detailed guide on packing a backpack.

Get to Know the Area

How cold does it get at night? Are rainstorms common? Where are trailheads located? Do plenty of research beforehand from the convenience of your home so you pack the right things, are in the right place, and have the right mindset for adventuring and exploring.

Bring Something to do

Fishing gear, a pair of binoculars, a deck of cards, some knitting, a harmonica, a book, a journal—anything you can enjoy in the great outdoors (or inside your tent, if necessary). Hiking to your location is only half the fun, and while setting up your tent and roasting s’mores take up some time, It’s surprising how many hours are in a day when you aren’t whittling them away on social media.

Eat Right

Backpacking food needs to be lightweight, nutritious, easy to prepare, and non-perishable. Some typical foods that fit this unique combination are trail mix, beef jerky, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, and freeze dried meals. Fancier meals are possible, but they require more planning and packing expertise. For ideas, check out some of our camp eats.