5 Things I Learned About Backpacking


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I’ve lived in Colorado for 23 years and this summer was the first time I went backpacking (I feel like that is an oxymoron!) Always having enjoyed the outdoors, I was a little hesitant when I was invited to go backpacking with a group of co-workers – Would there be bears? Mountain lions? How far would we actually hike up? Is it an easy hike? How much do you put in the backpack? And, how heavy is the backpack?

So after traversing through the wild for my first time, here are five things to remember when planning a backpacking trip!

What to Pack?

Having no idea what to bring and no necessary equipment, I relied on friends to help me construct a list of the items to pack. Fortunately a friend was able to loan me all her gear – backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, raincoat, headlamp and comfy-thick socks. Then it was up to me to pack the rest, primarily the small things: layers of clothing, bug spray, personal hygiene items and wet wipes.

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Be prepared

Anything can happen and you want to be prepared for different situations. Have a reliable fire starter, I recommend this easy DIY project that involves cotton balls and Vaseline that ensures a fire every time. Have you ever thought about a bear rummaging through your tent? I know I have – so always have string to create a bear box or bear hang. This gives you peace of mind while sleeping. The mountains are also prone to thunderstorms and rain – if you get stuck in the tent, have something to pass that time that is easy to pack like card games or travel-size board games.

 Bug spray, Water Purifier and CLIF Bars

These three simple things can make or break your trip.

Bug Spray: No matter the season make sure you have bug spray and lots of it on hand. Even though we consistently reapplied bug spray we were still eaten alive.

Water Purifier: Who wants to carry a 24 pack of filtered water up a mountain? No takers? Invest in a water purifier such as a SteriPEN, it’s lightweight and easy to pack! Similar purifiers can be found at retailers such as REI.

CLIF Bars: After drinking all that water you want to stay energized! I highly recommend CLIF Bar’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. It is easy to store in any pocket, tastes delicious and is easy to snack on while climbing up or down the mountain.

 Take it Easy and Enjoy the View

 The group I went with was not in a rush to run up the mountain, and – although it was a tough workout – it was highly rewarding! Every 10 to 15 minutes of hiking we were surrounded by different gorgeous mountainous views. It was great to be able to take a minute and embrace nature’s beauty.

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Get an OtterBox Resurgence Case

With all the amazing views of the mountains, sunsets and sunrises, you are going to want to take lots of pictures! Luckily for us we had our OtterBox Resurgence cases and didn’t have to worry about our phones dying. With more than 2 times the battery power you won’t have to worry about missing the perfect shot.

My first backpacking trip was a huge success and I can’t wait to go again! Where are some of your favorite places to backpack?



About the author

Lara Betthauser

Lara Betthauser

Colorado-loving native. Bursting passion for world exploration. Enjoying my search for marvelous food and drink in my new city Fort Collins (which has yet to disappoint). When I’m not working you can find me spending time with my family, especially my niece and nephew.

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