Whether you're an avid hiker or just someone who's curious about hitting the trails, backpacking is a great way to get fresh air and experience nature on foot. There's nothing like carrying everything you need to be self-sufficient on your back while absorbing picturesque views and immersing yourself in a completely foreign place. That's the thing about backpacking, it can be as strenuous or as leisurely as you make it.
Backpacking is not only a healthy, full-body activity, but it's a way to create memories you'll cherish for a lifetime. Here are our top reasons why everyone should give backpacking a shot.
Don't get us wrong—hitting the hiking trails in your backyard is great. Backpacking allows you to reach locations not many travelers have access to, and you'll get to experience the unique natural flora and fauna of the area. There's nothing like experiencing a night under the stars or a morning sunrise without another person around for miles.
As we mentioned previously, a backpacking trip can be as strenuous or mellow as you'd like. No matter if you're in the best shape of your life or finding your way to fitness, a backpacking trip is a great way to test yourself. Set mileage goals each day, climb new hills and let yourself get dirty. Get comfortable being uncomfortable—you'll be surprised what you're capable of when you can't give up.
Relatively speaking, a backpacking trip is an inexpensive vacation alternative. With no premiums for flights or hotel rooms, you can easily stay within budget and have the experience of a lifetime. Backcountry permits are cheap, you can rent backpacking gear from a local outfitter and traveling to your trailhead of choice will likely only cost a few tanks of gas. For the price of one resort-style vacation, you can squeeze in several backpacking trips.
- Have the adventure of a lifetime.
If you find yourself daydreaming about far-flung adventures, backpacking is your perfect activity of choice. There's nothing more exciting than seeing a well-planned trip come to fruition. The combination of endless scenic views, experiencing foreign areas and pushing yourself to accomplish something extraordinary makes for memories that will leave an impression on your entire outlook on life.
After hiking alone for miles on end, it's nice to run into fellow hikers from time to time. Not only do they already have similar interests as you, but they'll likely know local trail conditions if they're heading the opposite way. Sit down, take a load off and share your sandwich or beef jerky—you might just make a backpacking buddy for life.
Backpacking rewards those who are persistent and resourceful, not just those who are adventurous and in shape. Even if you've never tackled a multiday trip through unfamiliar terrain does't mean you shouldn't try. Do your research, plan thoroughly and execute. Experiencing success in the backcountry can translate to more confidence in other aspects of your life.
Not surprisingly, you will probably lose cell service. With bright screens and constant noise permeating all aspects of civilized life, it's nice to shut off everything and truly experience nature without your smartphone or laptop. This may take some getting used to, but don't worry, your work emails and Instagram feed will be around when you emerge from your epic trip.
The totality of a backpacking experience is one that can't be overemphasized. With no distractions and plenty of space to think, you just may have a moment of clarity as you're hiking alone or relaxing in your sleeping bag. Without the demands of everyday life, you'll have the time to internalize and process things that have been pushed to the back of your mind. From fixable weaknesses to unexpected strengths, you may be surprised what you learn about yourself!