2 years ago
happyrock
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Moving From Day Hiking to Backpacking
"What's the difference? Don't you always hike in the day time?"

Yes, someone actually asked me that. Look, I don't expect everyone to know the terminology, but the idea is basically that day hiking is completed in one day, backpacking is an overnight or multi-day trip that requires you to sleep on route rather than returning home and then picking up another hike the next day.

This card is not going to teach you everything you need to now to make that move! But, it will give you an idea of the things you'll be facing and what you should make sure you consider before trying an overnight :)

You Will Need More Stuff

Overnight backpacking does require extra gear, extra planning, and extra knowledge and skills! It's not just about adding a tent, but there is more gear you need to consider when adding meals, set up and break down of a camp site and more.

Don't just go out and buy everything right away--you might hate multi day hikes! When you're first starting out, you may want to rent or borrow gear before making such a significant gear investment. These won't be as comfortable as what you'd ultimately buy, but it will allow you to get an idea of what you want to use.

There Will Be Stuff You Don't Know

You might be a skilled day hiker and be reluctant to ask for any help when it comes to moving to overnighting. That's silly!

Before you move from day hikes to overnights, talk to friends who backpack! Ask them to schedule a one-night trip with you to show you how they usually do things. Read more about people who have done overnights! If you don't have hiking friends, join a club like the mountaineers that do guided overnights. You might not want to do this more than once, but it'll make your time alone over-nighting much better.

You Will (Probably) Need a Bigger Pack, and It Will Be Heavy

You might already have a backpack big enough, but chances are you're going to need a bigger pack. And that pack is probably going to weigh at least 35 pounds just bringing the essentials. Don't underestimate this!

Wear it around the house and walking in your neighborhood a few times before going on your first overnight. Even if you aren't going farther than you usually do, the pack weight will make a difference.

It Will Be Great!!!

If you already enjoy day hiking, you'll enjoy overnight hikes, too! Just get out there and give it a try. You'll get to see another side of the outdoors that you love, and maybe even have a new passion that will lead you to get to do week long treks you could never have imagined otherwise!

Ready to go? This guide is a great one to follow to actually start getting the things you need more specifically. Good luck!
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2 comments
Great card. How much day hiking experience do you recommend one has before diving into the world of overnight trips @happyrock ?
@allischaaff I don't think you need much! 2-3 successful day hikes (by successful I mean when you feel really comfortable on the trail) is probably enough. Just do a trail you've done before for your first over night, and plan to do less mileage each day