Temperatures are warming and summer is just around the corner. If you've always wanted to try backpacking now's the time to get ready for a summer outdoors. Backpacking is a lot of fun, especially with a few friends, and doesn't have to come with all the struggle and discomfort that are usually associated with it. Zenbivy was created to help people be just as comfy at camp as they are getting there, so we know a thing or two about it. Here is how to get out there in comfort:
The gear you bring with you can make or break a trip, but don't worry, we'll go through all of it here. You can pack a comfortable pack that is filled with all the goods to keep you comfortable at camp. For most people, there's no need to go "ultralight", as a reasonably fit person can comfortably carry about 20-25lbs relatively easily all day long.
Here's how you can dial in your gear and pack as much comfort as you can:
Where to find gear
Look for local outdoor stores that sell used gear. You can usually find good equipment with a little bit of wear for a great price. If you're not quite ready to buy, many stores offer gear rentals for cheap, so you can get out with good gear without needing storage for it at home or spending a lot. To save on a quality sleep system, sign up to Zenbivy's Friends Program for 10% off your first purchase and exclusive access to Friends-only sales.
Your body burns through calories much faster when you're moving, especially when carrying a pack, so it's essential to keep yourself energized throughout the day while you're backpacking. It seems like an odd way to measure food, but most people need 1.5 lbs to 2lbs of food a day while active. You can pack power bars and dehydrated meals, but those can get expensive quickly. We prefer to chef it up and make our own delicious and nutritious meals in the backcountry.
Here are some food ideas to take your trip to the next level:
Where to go
Oftentimes when we think of getting outside, we have grand ideas of what that looks like - hiking with Yosemite Falls spraying in the background or deep in the backcountry of the Washington wilderness. While trips like that are great, there are so many options closer to home that are easier to access. Explore the state parks in your area and look for backpacking trails that are more popular while you get started. Use apps like AllTrails to find options near you.
AllTrails – This is an app you can download for your phone that shows hikes in your area. Find your location and it will show you trails within a certain radius of where you are. It also gives you great trail stats, reviews from fellow hikers, and photos so you know what you’re getting into with each one.
If you're reading this, chances are you've dabbled in hiking and have gone on a few day trips outdoors. If you're planning an overnight, you probably already have an excellent base to start, but you may want to hike more frequently to keep your legs up to the task. A few neighborhood walks with an overloaded backpack will do wonders getting your body used to carrying the weight.
Learn to Leave No Trace
As outdoors folk, we want to take the best care of our outdoor spaces as possible. It's a responsible habit that ensures our pristine public lands are clean and beautiful for our next visit and gives other outdoors enthusiasts an opportunity for good, clean fun too. Visit LNT.org to make sure you're doing your part this summer:
Practice packing. Learn how to pack your pack before you go, so you know it will all fit and you know just where everything goes.
Practice setting up your gear. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to camp and realizing how complicated it is to set up your tent. Take a dry run in your backyard so it all goes smoothly in the backcountry.
Go with a friend. Everything is easier (and more fun!) with a friend. It can also be much safer in the outdoors to have someone with you.
Always tell someone where you're going and when you expect to be back.
To compress or not to compress? That’s the question. Compression caps (and compression in general…) are hotly debated within the backpacking community. Even the Zenbivy Team has opposing opinions on the use of compression caps.
Deciding what to eat in the outdoors stumps even seasoned backpackers, but having a delicious meal when you get to camp can take your trip to the next level. There are many good options for calorie-dense freeze-dried meals, just head to your local outdoor store and pick your menu.
Backpacking evokes images of overstuffed packs with gear strapped all over the outside - an uncomfortable monstrosity you're supposed to strap to your back and carry for miles. It doesn't have to be that way - even as a beginner backpacker, you can carry a sleek, lightweight pack by focusing on the essentials and leaving the rest.