Back in 2010 I was preparing for my first serious backpacking trip with my friends.
Our plan was to go through one of the biggest forest in Lithuania in 4 days. Back then it look quite serious and challenging. We all started planning this backpacking trip around month till the trip we thought what we are going to need, and what we have to take with our self’s.
Truth is that when the trip started we all had 20+ kg. backpacks and we were super excited. The four days pasted super-fast and we were going home. In the train we talked about our equipment and all those exciting moments from the trip.
I remember that we only used about 50 percent what we had in our backpacks and all other gear was never used, also we made a lot of mistakes but in the end it was fun.
So if you are new to the backpacking?
You don’t know what to do and how to do it? And you are planning your first backpacking trip, no problem look at my list of 10 tips for new adventurous backpacker and I think that you could learn a bit.
1. Pack as light as possible
So you are planning one of your first backpacking trips and looking what to take with yourself. It looks like you planned everything and then comes the moment you have to fit half of your home in your tiny backpack. I been there and I know what to do.
Sort all your gear to the things that you definitely will use, the things that you probably use and the things that you may use.
So let’s look for down up, the things that you may use, seriously? You don’t need them and get rid of them.
Second stage the things that you will probably use look at them closely and get rid of as much as you can, remember you don’t need ten t-shirts or twenty socks on your backpacking trip.
Backpacking light will let you experience more and give you more freedom in your trip. Light backpack lets you always take it with yourself and because of that you will always have the most important gear with you.
Remember that backpacking with light pack is more fun that going with heavy one.
2. Don’t buy gear you do not need
You are planning your trip and looking in the internet what you need and all other stuff about backpacking and you see a lot of these cool guys and girls with this expensive equipment and all these cool photos and etc.
Do you get it? It is marketing and basically you can live without those things. I don’t say that there are not in handy, but at the beginning you don’t really need them.
When you are planning the trip you have to know that the most important thing in my opinion is shoes. Good hiking shoes will let you hike full day. So as I said before I think that shoes is number one piece of your backpacking equipment.
Second peace is backpack, believe me you do not want to go with the cheap low quality backpack. Low quality backpacks will fit badly and would rip of easily under pressure so invest in backpack.
And third think that you are going to need is good sleeping system, what do I mean saying system? It is floor mat and sleeping bag.
Good camping mat will help you sleep well and will give you a lot of comfort. Sleeping bag isn’t that important if you are backpacking in summer time, but if you are going to backpack in spring or autumn or even winter you have to look for quality sleeping bag.
So that is three most important pieces of gear. All other bits and pieces are not so important of course they are really helpful, and if you have enough money you can buy them, but in my opinion in the first trip you do not need them and later when you know what you need, you could buy them.
3. Travel by train
You packed your backpack and decided where you want to go, but you do not know what transport to use.
To go with bus or car, or plain?
My advice is go by train. Traveling with train is really exciting, you are meeting new people, you can chat with friends and etc.
If I have the opportunity to travel by train I always do so because I love it. And also I talked with a lot of experienced backpackers and they all also recommend traveling with train.
4. Don‘t plan anything
Planning a backpacking trip is really challenging you have to think
about everything, but my advice don’t plan anything. Planning backpacking trip is impossible and even if you plan everything you will be bored to do everything to the plan.
Plan only essential things like I will be traveling for one week and I am going to Alps. And that’s it. In your backpacking trip try to live and do something that you will remember for the rest of your life.
But, if you decide to plan something don’t overplan. Try planing only essential things for your trip.
I wrote an article about how traveling like a nomad is more adventurous and fun. You can read it here.
5. Do something crazy
Backpacking is about the freedom, you are not planning anything and you can do anything you want.
My advice to be like a kid and do what you what even if it is completely crazy.
Doing crazy things at your trip can be really fun and most definitely lead you to some sort of adventure.
My advice be crazy, do crazy things but still be careful and don’t get busted or something… 😉
6. Eat with locals
You are at your backpacking trip in another country and you searching for the place to eat. You know that in the train station or in the bus station you could find relatively cheap food, but you want to experience more form your lunch.
Every city has its own places where the locals are gathering. Trying to find these places sometimes is hard but it is worth it.
Eating with locals will let you to experience more. You most definitely will get the facts about the city that any guide book will give you and maybe you even get new friends.
So be adventurous search for these places and try to get in touch with locals you would not regret this.
7. Live in the moment
You heard it before?
Yes, many people are saying live in the moment, but is it possible to truly live in the moment in today’s environment? You have to go to your job and you have tons of other responsibilities that you have to think about.
But when you are backpacking you could do that.
Backpacking is letting you to be free, to be of the hock. To do whatever you like. Don’t plan don’t think just live.
8. Don‘t go to the tourist crowded places
Traveling with backpack is different, you do things what other people don’t do, you experience things that others don’t. So if you want to experience even more don’t go to the places there every tourist goes.
Remember you are not tourist you are backpacker. Sounds cool?
Instead of visiting places that you already saw on TV or in the picture go were any tourist would never go.
Go outside of city centre, go in the park, go in the forest ant etc. This will most definitely lead you to the adventure and after the trip you would have what to tell to your friends.
9. Take extra money
Traveling isn’t the cheapest way to spend your time, but you could save a lot of money if you know how. Even if you are traveling on the low budget take extra money with you. You never know what is going to happen, especially when you backpacking.
10. Try hitchhiking
In 2014 summer I with my friend went to 5 day backpacking trip. On the third day we thought that it would be cool to go about 50 km from current location so we decided to hitch hike. After about 20 minutes some old Mercedes pulled over, we there so happy but… We entered the car and there was 2 Gypsies and they there asking some really weird questions and they looked like gangsters I was so afraid that I can’t even describe it. After about 20 minutes in the car they let us out I and my friend there so afraid, my hands shaken for another few hours.
It is one of the craziest stories from my hitchhiking experience and every time I am saying it to my friends they are looking at me and saying are you crazy and I just smiling back. 🙂
So if you want to go one extra step further, try hitchhiking.
It isn’t safest way to travel and you don’t know with who you are going to drive but it is definitely adventurous.
Backpacking is really fun and adventurous way of traveling. First few times you may don’t know what you are doing, but remember everything comes from experience. I wish you to go to adventurous backpacking trip and feel it your self.
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