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3 must haves for a woman’s backpacking trip
January 2, 2023

It’s pretty common. I get this question literally all the time. What do I need to get started? I feel like I have no idea what that would entail or where to go buy gear or where to even begin. So let’s start with the basics and move forward from there. It’s really very simple. And once you get these basics down, you can explore other ways to get what you need. Always check back here for more tips on this as well!

In the backpacking world, there is this thing called the “the big three”. And that term is referring to the the three things that are the heaviest when you go out on trail. Those three things are your BACKPACK, YOUR SLEEP SYSTEM and your TENT. Because these tend to be the heaviest items that are somewhat nonnegotiable, there is a reason they will keep popping up in all the information you read about regarding light weight backpacking or ultra-light weight backpacking. The lighter you can buy or create these three items in your pack, the lighter the weight will be and the more your back and body will thank you later. So let’s begin.

1. BACKPACK

Your pack is the most obvious thing you need when going out on trail. That is because it is the thing that will hold all your clothes, gear and food.  There are what appear to be a million brands on the market for backpacks. Finding one that not only fits you right but also is a good light weight is essential to making your trip a success. If you have the option, renting a pack may be a good solution for a beginner. This way, you can decide if you even like to go backpacking before you make a large purchase and also it allows you to try out different brands to see which one fits you best. Some people love to have lots of pockets to organize their supplies. Some people like to bring packs that are one big pocket. The more pockets you have, the more zippers and the more fabric which adds to the weight of the bag in general. This is absolutely personal preference and should be considered before deciding on a final pack. 

2. SLEEP SYSTEM

Your sleep system is everything you will be using to sleep with. This includes some type of sleeping bag or bevy sac (or even a blanket) that you will cover up with at night and a sleeping pad (inflatable or otherwise) to sleep on. Depending on the time of year and the weather where you will be going, will depend a ton on what kind of gear you will bring for this. I myself love to be warm and will make sure I have plenty of opportunities for that even in the summer. Our mountains in Idaho are still cold at night so I make sure I am prepared with extra warmth if need be. 

3. TENT

Your tent is the final item on your big three. Some people prefer to bring a tarp to sleep under. Other people like to sleep under the stars when they can. Not bringing a tent is a choice that sometimes can be a good one if you are in a warm weather area. With tents, the lighter the weight, the more expensive the material usually is and therefore the more expensive the tent. Figuring out what is best not only for your budget, but also for your back can be a balance, but there are tons of ways to shed weight in your pack if you have to buy a little heavier tent. 

Bottom line is that every ounce counts. So when doing your research for these three times, please consider how often you will be using them and make good decisions. Talk with the sales rep at the store you are purchasing. If they don’t know about the brands they are selling, you need to be shopping elsewhere. I don’t recommend buying a backpack online before trying them on first to see which ones work for you. Learning your size is important so you are the most comfortable you can be while out on trail. 

 

 

Bottom line is that every ounce counts. So when doing your research for these three times, please consider how often you will be using them and make good decisions. Talk with the sales rep at the store you are purchasing. If they don’t know about the brands they are selling, you need to be shopping elsewhere. I don’t recommend buying a backpack online before trying them on first to see which ones work for you. Learning your size is important so you are the most comfortable you can be while out on trail. 

Hope that helps! 
Heather

 

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