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Backpacking For Beginners - Choosing The Right Backpack
Backpacking is a great way of getting fit, while enjoying what nature has to offer in the Great Outdoors. It is becoming an increasingly more popular leisure pastime. But Backpacking for Beginners can be a little bit daunting when it comes to choosing the right type of gear, and even uncomfortable if you do not buy the right backpack for you.
My first tip would be to buy the best backpack that you can afford, (probably an obvious tip, but worth keeping in mind), and try to buy it from a store that specialises in outdoor activities. Ask the advice of the shop staff, especially if they are hikers or backpackers themselves. Some stores will actually pack a backpack for you, so you can get a feel for it and see how comfortable (or not) it is.
There are so many types of backpacks available on the market these days, anything from daypacks that will allow you to carry just enough gear, food, and water, for a days hiking. Right up to huge expedition size packs that will carry all you need for weeks and weeks of travel.
Make sure your backpack has a padded hip belt, as this makes the pack far more comfortable to carry on longer trips. And also makes the whole load more stable and stops it from bouncing around on your back, especially when walking on rougher ground, there is nothing worse than a backpack that feels so uncomfortable that it makes your trip feel like a struggle.
Buy a pack with a decent amount of external pockets, for all the items that you will need to hand during the day. (This will stop you from having to empty out the main pack to find things that are at the bottom.) I like to keep things like my cooker, food, and water in side pockets so it is easy to get at when I want to stop for a hot drink or a snack.
Backpacks with a separate lower compartment are great for keeping your sleeping bag, and kip mat etc, again just for the ease of locating them, this way you know exactly where everything is at any time.Do not forget to keep everything dry, either with a waterproof liner or in individual plastic bags.
Lastly when you are happy with your pack, do not try to do too much on your first hike. Start off with small day hikes and build up to long weekenders, before you attempt any major expeditions. Most importantly ENJOY IT after all it should be FUN not a chore.
These are just a few backpacking basics on backpacking for beginners. If you are serious about taking up backpacking, then I would recommend buying a good book or guide that covers all the different areas of backpacking. This way you will have a good starting knowledge, of backpacking for beginners and it will help you avoid making all the usual mistakes.
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