Three Ways to Make Backpacking More Fun

Backpacking by itself is a terrific activity, but there are a few things you can do to make it even more enjoyable.

Hunter trekking through woods with a backpack.
A backpacking trip can be as much fun or work as you want it to be, just remember there’s no good substitute for safety.Surviveware

Backpacking is a fairly gear-intensive sport, and many of the things needed for a successful backpacking trip are quite specialized in nature. That said, it’s not really an expensive sport, and the health advantages it provides—both physical from hiking and mental from enjoying nature—are hard to understate. It’s important to have certain pieces of equipment to hit the trails safely, and checklists are available on the internet. Aside from those basics, consider the following items to add another element of “fun” on your next outing.

Filter Fun

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Weighing only two ounces, this water purifier can filter up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals.Life

Cutting pack weight leads to a more comfortable hike, which leads to more fun on a backpacking trip. If you’ve ever lost five pounds of body fat before and remember how it made you feel lighter and better, then you know how important knocking five pounds off your load can be. Replacing heavier equipment with lighter equipment, from packs to tents to stoves to everything in between, allows you to cut pounds quickly and lighten your carrying weight as a result. Even lightweight clothing can make a slight difference, and small cuts in weight quickly add up. One way to cut a substantial amount of weight with ease is to get a lightweight water filtration system that will allow you to backpack without carrying water, which is quite heavy. Go ahead and lose five pounds of body weight, too, and you’ll really be flying up the trail.

Footwear Fun

Timberland Men's White Ledge Mid Waterproof Ankle Boot
These leather hiking boots are made for comfort and performance on the trail.Timberland

If your boots are more than about a year old, replacing them will make hiking more comfortable, thus more fun. Understanding the parts of a hiking boot can help you make a good decision on which is best for you. From the bottom, the outsole is nearly always made of rubber. The main feature of the outsole is the lugs, designed to give the wearer traction in less than optimum walking conditions. The internal support of a hiking boot is also important. Shanks are placed between the outsole and insole for load-bearing stiffness and support. The midsole is what provides cushioning and makes a boot comfortable to wear on long hikes or backpacking trips. Many midsoles are made of ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) of varying densities. Lastly, a hiking boot’s upper is where you’ll see the most difference. These range from synthetics like polyester and nylon, to nubuck leather, to split- and full-grain leather, along with combinations of those materials.

First Aid Fun

Surviveware Small First Aid Kit
Weighing only one pound, this first aid kit comes with 100 essential life-saving items.Surviveware

Being prepared makes backpacking more fun because fun on the trail can end very quickly if you run across an unforeseen circumstance that you’re not prepared for. Having a rain fly to cover your pack is one such preparation, as is a good, ultralight rain suit to wear in case the weather really turns bad. Making sure you have the means to easily start a fire with wet wood is also important, even if you’re planning to only be out a few hours. The same goes for life-sustaining snacks, which are usually just a luxury but can be extremely important in a survival situation. One other thing that will help you be prepared and not add much weight to your pack is a lightweight first aid kit. The first time you have problems on the trail, you’ll be glad you included one with your gear.

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