If you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you know that I finished my first backpacking trip! I thrilled to have one big hike under my belt before taking on the trip I am working up to at the end of September, Havasupai. I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime last year I decided that I wanted to experience one major, potentially life-changing hike every year. 2019 is the year of Havasupai.
After scouring the internet and learning about the permit process, I was successful in snagging one. I will be sharing more about the permit process, resources, and my own trip later in the year. In the meantime, I want to share more about my first backpacking trip including what I packed, what I wish I didn’t pack, how to cheaply get good gear, and just a few little life lessons.
What I packed:
Here’s the list! Please note: I hiked in with my boyfriend and we split the weight of the tent and food. My backpack weighed about 31 pounds.
- Water bladder
- Food for lunch, dinner, and breakfast
- Luna Bars
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Inflatable pillow
- Backpacking chair
- Hammock Straps
- Bug Spray
- Water filter
- First Aid Kit
- Inflatable Lantern
- Hiking Boots
- External Battery
- Jet Boil
- Book (or Kindle)
- Garbage Bags
- Dry Bag
I am not sharing my clothing list quite yet, because I used what I already had in order to figure out what I am going to need. I didn’t have any fancy hiking clothes. I will recommend that you get good athletic underwear like these from Lululemon.
What I Wish I Didn’t Pack:
This trip was a trial run for me to figure out what I need and don’t need when backpacking and if I can carry it all. There are only a few items that I didn’t need on this trip, but I may need them on other ones.
Chacos: I ended up not needing these because it was so cold.
Extra clothing: I thought I would need one extra outfit more than I did.
Extra food: read your packets, many of the dry food options are two servings.
Tips for Inexpensively Getting Good Gear:
Almost all my gear was bought heavily discounted except for my hiking boots and Chacos. If you are close to an REI, I recommend attending the Garage Sale they have. Each REI functions a little different, but if you are a member, then you will know when a Garage Sale is coming. At these sales, they have used and damaged gear available at deeply discounted prices. I got my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and backpacking chair at these sales. I also attended a similar event at Cotopaxi where I got my backpack. Items that could have been well over a few hundred dollars were marked down to below $100.
The second recommendation I have is to make a list and shop online. Shopping online allows you to do your research and find the best price, Backcountry.com is currently offering 20% off one item.
Whatever you can’t afford, borrow. You’ll be surprised by what you can gather just by asking friends and family.
Until this trip, I truly believed that backpacking was just something I couldn’t do. For whatever reason, I had gotten it in my head that backpacking was only for the super athletic, one with nature, die-hard hikers. I’m not sure where this idea came from, but after reaching my campsite (5 miles later) I realized that I was so wrong! After having the whole day to literally do nothing but read, write, and think, I realized that there is a huge list of items that I had previously decided weren’t in my wheelhouse that now is a part of my everyday life.
I believed that I couldn’t work for myself.
I believed that I couldn’t own a dog.
I believed that I couldn’t travel the world.
…and these are just a couple of beliefs that turned out to be lies. In realizing this, I’ll be challenging my self-limiting beliefs moving forward. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.
So this lesson for me comes with a challenge for you. What beliefs do you have about yourself that just aren’t true?
I hope this list was helpful and if backpacking is something you have been wanting to try, just do it!
Photos by Camber Weiss.