Anytime you plan to go backpacking it is important that you plan your trip not only from a where are we going aspect to knowing what gear to bring. This is particularly true if you plan on spending an extended period of time in the wilderness. By creating a gear plan you can double check to make sure that you have everything you need before you strap on your boots.

There are five main things you need to think about when planning your backpacking trip

1. Where are you going and the environment you will be camping in. This is important because you need to let others know where you will be, when you are going and when you plan to return. It will also shape how you answer the next three points.

2. The length of time you will be out in the woods will determine what you take and how much you take. The longer the trip the more food and clothing you’ll need to take. If going with a group how will you divide up the hauling responsibilities. If going alone how much can you comfortably carry while still meeting your daily needs.

3. What time of the year are you going? For summer backpacking trips you’ll generally only need lightweight clothing while the cooler months and winter camping will require heavier clothing. No matter what time of the year be sure to take good rain gear because nothing will ruin a trip quite like getting soaking wet.

4. What kind of shelter do you need? Are you camping in the open which will require a tent or are you doing a hut or wilderness cabin trip. This can make a difference because carrying a tent takes up space in someone’s backpack, often at the expense of other items.

5. Food and water are of course two of the most important items on any trip. Planning your meals and snacks for each day will ensure that you bring enough to last the journey. Dehydrated meals that can be found at any outdoor store are a good choice because they are lightweight but highly nutritious. You will also need to have a plan in place for drinking water because dehydration is not something you want to experience during any backpacking trip. A water filter is definitely on the list of things you must take. How much you carry will depend on where you are going and the available sources along your route.

Planning ahead will ensure that your backpacking trip comes off successfully because the last thing you want to have happen are those unforeseen surprises that ruin what should otherwise be a fun and rewarding experience.

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