Backpacking is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience a new country or city, but it’s also rather daunting for people that haven’t done it before. The idea of taking just a backpack full of stuff over to another country can be scary to some, and it does raise concerns about safety. Thankfully, there are a handful of ways to make backpacking a bit easier and more palatable, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.
Clothing essentials to make backpacking easier
When it comes to clothing, there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind that could help improve your experience a lot. Backpackers need to carefully plan out what kind of clothing they take so that their pack remains light, but they also need to account for a number of different situations. They should take into account how long they plan to go backpacking, but also the weather conditions that they might get into.
So to help out, here are a few basic tips to keep in mind:
- Try not to overpack. You should be focusing on a few core pieces that are versatile and durable. For instance, don’t take a large puffy coat that takes up a lot of space. Instead, get a thin windbreaker that can keep you warm but also be stuffed into your bag with little effort.
- Get yourself a mask such as a CHOOB. Safety bandanas are becoming fairly common due to the global health crisis and it’s versatile enough to be used for both hiking and walking around in city areas where there are lots of people.
- Focus on comfort and safety. Your clothes should be comfortable so that they support you throughout the entire backpacking trip. They should also offer safety, such as protecting you from the elements or offering high visibility should you be riding a bike or hiking at night with a group.
- All of your clothes should have the ability to mix and match. You should be able to interchange items as you go so that you can dress appropriately for the day’s weather conditions.
One of the biggest concerns new backpackers have is personal hygiene. It’s not uncommon to be a little smelly and grimy when backpacking because it’s physically demanding at times, and this can make it very uncomfortable to wear your clothes without taking care of your personal hygiene and also washing your clothes.
Most backpackers will only take duplicates of undergarments and socks because they’re the worst offenders. However, if you’re able to wash regularly with public showers or other methods, then it’s recommended as you’ll feel a bit more comfortable. Unfortunately, gathering grime on your clothes is a natural problem for backpackers that travel great distances, but there are plenty of ways to mitigate it once you get more experienced and are willing to carry a larger pack.
Items to take that will make you feel more secure
There are a couple of items that you absolutely must take with you if you’re planning to go camping. These items won’t be on every backpacker’s essential list, but there’s no doubt that they can come in handy and be extremely useful.
- A flashlight is extremely useful if you ever find yourself hiking around in the dark. Depending on the season and your speed, you might find yourself walking around at night when the sun is down. If you’re still some distance off your destination, then it may be smart to just take a break and set up camp before it gets too dark. With a flashlight, you can feel a little safer when the sun starts to set and it’ll be helpful when setting up your tent or finding your way around. A headlamp can also be a great alternative.
- First aid items are essential no matter how experienced you are at backpacking. You never want to be caught in the wilderness without pain killers, bandages, wraps, and disinfectant. There are plenty of items you could take in a basic first aid kit, and you should absolutely dedicate more space in your bag to it if possible.
- A multi-tool is also really important to help you feel a bit safer. It’s rather compact so it means you can avoid taking individual tools with you. It often includes a screwdriver, a knife, a file, or even a fire starter. Multi-tools are relatively cheap and will easily fit into your pocket, making them extremely versatile and great for helping you feel safer while backpacking.
- Navigation tools usually include things like a compass and a local map. A smartphone is fine if you can get a signal, but you can’t always rely on it when you’re backpacking in the middle of nowhere. Learn to use a compass and to read a map and you’ll feel much safer no matter where you go. You’ll need to try and keep track of where you’re going, but it can be much more reliable than your phone.
With these items in your backpack, you’ll feel a lot safer while backpacking. You can also bring other items if you choose to. Backpacking is a very personal experience and everyone approaches it in their own way. You don’t have to follow rules and you don’t need to listen to everything this article says. As long as you personally feel safe with your gear choices, you’ll be fine. Just prepare for potential issues and don’t be afraid to back a little extra if it helps you feel safer. Every backpacker has their own comfort items and tools.
Hopefully, this post has helped convince you to try backpacking and to overcome any potential fears or issues that you might have had.