ABEGINNER’SGUIDE TOBACKPACKING H ow to G et S tarted
FROM THE DESK OF
June was a busy month for our family! We navigated our way through the end of the school year with a kid each in High School, Junior High, and Elementary. Talk about different schedules! And I have now christened the months of May/June as “Banquet Season.” I didn’t realize that it was possible to have so many banquets to commemorate various activities, sports, and clubs that the kids have participated in during the past school year. I may be a few pounds heavier as a result, but at least it was fun to celebrate their achievements! I hope that as your summer is gathering steam and you are enjoying our beautiful Southern California weather, you have an opportunity to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s founding. We are fortunate and blessed to live in a place with so many opportunities and freedoms, and amidst all the fireworks and hot dogs and apple pies, this is a great time to take a moment and be thankful for our US of A!
That feeling of carrying nothing but your necessities on your back, walking in the wilderness as trees brush against you, and listening to wildlife call out to one another are just a few of the reasons why people fall in love with backpacking. It challenges your resourcefulness and determination and rewards you with a huge sense of accomplishment. Not to mention backpacking is a great workout. For avid hikers, the added challenge of carrying 65 pounds on your back tests core strength and stamina while utilizing leg muscles. If you’ve been hitting the trails or the gym lately, you might already be in good shape for a backpacking trip. Here are a few more suggestions for your first trip to make it a safe and enjoyable experience. When you’re just starting out, ask friends and family or visit your local outdoor store to see if they have gear you can rent or borrow. This can help you find out what works for you and what doesn’t before committing to a pack or tent. Consider borrowing or renting a tent, sleeping bag, and cooking equipment. A well-fitted pack makes all the difference, so while you may try out a pack from a friend who’s a similar size to you, this could be an area you want to invest in for long-term use. Many outdoor stores offer custom measuring services and will help you pick the right pack. Take it out on a few test runs with at least 30 pounds of weight to ensure it’s a good fit. It’s no fun T est and borrow gear .
Happy Independence Day!
- Mark Nowlin
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