Backpacking is a form of travel that has been popular for some time, but it is taking on a whole new level of interest now with the slower economy. People are trying to get creative with trips so that they can still see exotic locations, but not have to spend a lot of money on travel and accommodations. Learning about backpacking can you have right there with everyone else in no time at all.
While there are lots of things that need to go into your pack, some things are a little more important than others. The first of these are a map and compass. Make sure you get your hands on a map that is easy to read and provides great detail of the terrain you are going to cover. You will also need a compass for directional guidance. Dont skimp on the compass either because if you get turned in the wrong direction, it is the only thing that will get you home.
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 also something that you want to have. It will come in handy in case of an unexpected mess, at night for extra warmth and if the weather turns bad. If you are struggling for space, they sell bags and pumps that will remove the air and compact the clothing. You can keep the small pump with you and redo the bag if you have to take something out.
The sun can do some serious damage when you are constantly exposed to it so make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen. The higher the SPF, the better off you will be. You may literally be exposed to the sun for 12 or more hours a day, make sure you are protected.
Food and water will obviously be packed, but when you think you have enough, put a little more in there. You can also put some energy bars and quick snacks that you can get a hold of quick when you start to run low on energy. If you really want to play it safe, get a water hydration system that you can wear so you always have water at the ready.
When you settle down for the night, you will need something to start a fire so you can heat up water, cook your food and stay warm at night. You can get firestarter that will allow you to start a fire quickly. Outdoor stores will sell this, but you can also make it yourself from things like candle wicks and dryer lint. You should also pack waterproof matches. Keep both items in a sealed waterproof container to make sure they stay dry. If you have a foodsaver, you may want to pack them up individually so you will still have sealed items if you need to use some.
As you can see, there is a lot more to learn about backpacking than just throwing a pack on your shoulders and hitting the trails. While the above things would be considered necessities, you can also benefit if you can squeeze things like a flashlight, insect repellant and something to make noise with (i.e. a whistle or horn) in case you get injured and need to draw attention to yourself. Follow these tips and your next backpacking trip should be a good one.