The perfect summer backpacking trip

Planning the perfect summer backpacking trip revolves around one key component… planning in the first place!

Make sure you’re informed of the route you plan to take, the weather you may encounter, the campsites you intend to use, and the water sources you can pump from… and pack accordingly.

We’ll break it all down below, along with a few gear items for your summer backpacking checklist!

  • Planning ahead:why it matters

Summer weather may not be as unpredictable as the weather you’ll find when camping in winter or camping in spring, but planning ahead is still essential. In addition to checking the weather and packing accordingly, you’ll also need to be aware of the route you’re using, the conditions you can expect, and the campsites you plan to use.

  • Know the Conditions

Weather conditions can still change rapidly in the summer months, depending on where you’re backpacking. Check the weather beforehand, and pack accordingly. Always bring at least a basic set of rain gear, even if clear skies are on the forecast, and be sure your shelter system incorporates some form of rain protection, whether you’re sleeping in a hammock, a tent, or a bivvy sack. Sleeping under the stars might work when you’re close to the trailhead or your car, but if you’re heading out backpacking, you need to ensure you’re ready if rain rolls in.

  • Know Your Route and Campsite

In addition to knowing the trails you need to take, the junctions where you need to make turns, the elevation gain, and other features you may encounter as you travel, make sure you plot out your campsites in advance. You should be aware of where you intend to stop each night, the total tent spaces available at each campsite, and the mileage between the sites.

Also, check for water sources where you can pump or otherwise purify water during your trip (and if verifiable water sources aren’t available, be sure to pack in enough water to last for the duration of your trip).

  • Know the Regulations

Rules and regulations often change throughout the year. Summer camping regulations may differ from off-season ones, even in the same park or reserve. Be aware of local restrictions regarding camping with pets, firebuilding, usage of gas or propane stoves, waste disposal, and where you can and cannot set up your tent or shelter. Some wilderness areas allow camping in unmarked, unestablished sites, while others do not. Be sure you acquire the proper permits and licenses to camp and travel before you head out.