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Sep '23

Where Can Beginners Get The Best Backpacking Advice?

Are you a beginner backpacker in search of the best advice to kickstart your adventure? Look no further! This article aims to guide you in finding the most valuable backpacking advice, catering specifically to beginners like yourself. From online forums to guidebooks, there are countless resources available to ensure that you embark on your backpacking journey well-prepared and equipped with the right knowledge. So, grab a pen and paper, get ready to take notes, and let’s dive into the world of backpacking tips and tricks! When it comes to embarking on your first backpacking adventure, it’s natural to have questions and seek advice. Luckily, there are various resources available to help you navigate the world of backpacking and ensure a successful and enjoyable trip. From online forums and blogs to guidebooks and experienced backpackers, you’ll find a wealth of information and support to assist you on your journey. So let’s explore some of the best places where beginners can find the backpacking advice they need!

Online Resources

Backpacking Forums

Online backpacking forums are a fantastic resource for beginners. These platforms provide a space for backpackers of all experience levels to ask questions, share advice, and connect with like-minded individuals. Whether you’re inquiring about gear recommendations, seeking tips on trail etiquette, or looking for destination suggestions, you’ll find a vibrant and welcoming community eager to assist you. Popular backpacking forums like “Backpacker Magazine Forums” and “Reddit’s r/Backpacking” are excellent places to start.

Online Communities

In addition to forums, there are numerous online communities dedicated to backpacking. Platforms like “Backpacking Light” and “Trail Journals” offer a wealth of articles, trip reports, and discussion boards that cater specifically to backpackers. These communities not only provide valuable advice but also foster a sense of camaraderie among backpacking enthusiasts. By joining these online communities, you can learn from the experiences of others and find inspiration for your own backpacking adventures.

Social Media Groups

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have become hubs for backpacking enthusiasts to connect and share their experiences. Joining backpacking groups on these platforms can expose you to a vast network of knowledgeable individuals who are eager to offer advice and insights. From gear recommendations to trail suggestions, these social media groups provide a platform for ongoing discussions and engagement within the backpacking community.

Blogs and Websites

The internet is teeming with backpacking blogs and websites that provide a wealth of information on various topics. Some popular blogs, like “The Trek” and “Section Hiker,” offer a plethora of articles and guides covering everything from essential backpacking gear to trip planning tips. Reading through these blogs can be incredibly informative, giving you a comprehensive understanding of what to expect and how to prepare for your first backpacking adventure.

Guidebooks and Travel Books

Popular Backpacking Guidebooks

Guidebooks are an invaluable resource for beginners, offering a curated collection of information, tips, and maps for specific backpacking destinations. Well-known guidebook series like “Lonely Planet,” “Moon Travel Guides,” and “Rough Guides” have dedicated editions focusing on backpacking adventures, providing detailed insights into various regions around the world. These guidebooks cover topics such as recommended itineraries, accommodation options, hiking routes, and cultural information, ensuring you have all the essential information at your fingertips.

Destination-Specific Guidebooks

If you have a particular destination in mind for your backpacking trip, it may be worth investing in a destination-specific guidebook. These guidebooks often provide more in-depth information about a specific country, region, or trail, including detailed maps, route descriptions, and recommendations for side trips. Some popular destination-specific guidebooks include “The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker’s Handbook” or “The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Official Guides.”

Travel Memoirs and Stories

Apart from guidebooks, travel memoirs and stories can provide valuable insights into the world of backpacking. These first-hand accounts of backpacking adventures not only offer guidance and advice but also serve to inspire and entertain readers. Books like “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson have become popular among backpacking enthusiasts for their engaging narratives and personal experiences. Reading these memoirs can enhance your understanding of the backpacking experience and ignite a sense of wanderlust.

Local Outdoor Retailers

Specialized Backpacking Stores

Local outdoor retailers that specialize in backpacking gear and equipment are excellent resources for beginners. These stores often employ knowledgeable staff who can offer personalized advice and recommendations based on your specific needs. Whether it’s selecting the right backpack, choosing appropriate footwear, or understanding the different types of sleeping bags, the staff at these specialized stores can guide you in making informed decisions.

Outdoor Equipment Rental Shops

If you’re hesitant about investing in expensive backpacking gear before your first trip, consider checking out outdoor equipment rental shops. These shops allow you to rent essential equipment like backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, and camping stoves for a fraction of the price of purchasing them. Along with renting the gear, the staff at these shops can provide valuable advice on how to use and maintain the equipment, ensuring you have a safe and comfortable backpacking experience.

Staff Recommendations

When visiting local outdoor retailers, don’t be afraid to ask the staff for their recommendations. These outdoor enthusiasts are typically passionate about backpacking and often have firsthand experience with the gear they sell. They can provide valuable insights into the advantages and disadvantages of different products, recommend the best gear for your needs and budget, and even share tips and tricks for successful backpacking trips. Utilize their knowledge and expertise to make informed decisions about your backpacking gear.

Outdoor Clubs and Organizations

University and College Clubs

If you’re a student or have access to a university or college, consider joining a campus outdoor club. These clubs often organize backpacking trips, hiking excursions, and other outdoor activities, making them an excellent resource for beginners. By joining a university or college outdoor club, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from experienced backpackers, gain hands-on experience in a supportive environment, and connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for the outdoors.

Hiking and Mountaineering Clubs

Hiking and mountaineering clubs cater to individuals of all experience levels, making them suitable for beginners seeking backpacking advice. These clubs organize regular hikes and outdoor events, providing opportunities to learn essential backpacking skills and connect with seasoned backpackers. By joining a hiking or mountaineering club, you’ll have access to a wider network of outdoor enthusiasts who can offer valuable insights and guidance as you embark on your backpacking adventures.

Volunteer-Based Outdoor Organizations

There are numerous volunteer-based outdoor organizations that focus on conservation and trail maintenance. These organizations, such as the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) or the Sierra Club, provide opportunities for volunteers to contribute to the maintenance and improvement of trails and wilderness areas. By volunteering with these organizations, you’ll not only give back to the outdoor community but also gain practical experience and connect with knowledgeable backpackers who can guide and advise you.

Backpacking Workshops and Courses

Local Outdoor Education Centers

If you prefer a more structured approach to learning about backpacking, consider enrolling in workshops or courses offered by local outdoor education centers. These centers typically offer a range of classes, covering topics such as backpacking essentials, navigation skills, wilderness first aid, and campsite setup. Attending these workshops allows you to learn from experienced instructors and gain hands-on experience in a controlled environment, building your confidence and knowledge as a beginner backpacker.

Adventure Travel Companies

Adventure travel companies often organize guided backpacking trips to various destinations around the world. While these trips are typically more costly than planning your own backpacking adventure, they offer the advantage of experienced guides who can teach you the ropes of backpacking. By joining an adventure travel company, you’ll receive extensive guidance and support throughout your trip, allowing you to learn the necessary skills and techniques while exploring stunning landscapes.

Wilderness Survival Schools

For those seeking a comprehensive understanding of backpacking and wilderness survival, wilderness survival schools offer immersive and intensive courses. These schools provide instruction on essential survival skills, such as building shelters, finding drinking water, and navigating without a compass. While these courses may not focus solely on backpacking, they provide a valuable foundation of knowledge that can greatly enhance your backpacking experience, especially in remote and challenging environments.

Backpacking Magazines

Popular Backpacking Magazines

Subscribing to popular backpacking magazines like “Backpacker” and “Outdoor Life” can provide a wealth of information and inspiration for beginners. These magazines often feature articles on gear reviews, trip reports, destination suggestions, and expert advice from seasoned backpackers. By regularly reading these magazines, you’ll stay updated on the latest trends, techniques, and innovations in the backpacking world, ensuring you have the knowledge and guidance you need for successful trips.

Outdoor and Adventure Magazines

In addition to backpacking-specific magazines, general outdoor and adventure magazines also offer valuable insights and tips for beginners. Magazines like “National Geographic Adventure” and “Outside Magazine” cover a wide range of outdoor activities including backpacking, hiking, camping, and more. These magazines feature captivating stories, breathtaking photography, and practical advice that can further fuel your passion for backpacking and outdoor exploration.

Online Magazine Subscriptions

If you prefer to access magazine content digitally, many backpacking and outdoor magazines offer online subscriptions. This allows you to read articles and access valuable resources directly from your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Online magazine subscriptions often come with additional benefits, such as exclusive content, interactive features, and the ability to search for specific topics or keywords within the magazine’s archives, making it easier to find the information you need.

Experienced Backpackers

Connecting with Seasoned Hikers

One of the best ways to get reliable and personalized backpacking advice is to connect with experienced backpackers. Whether through online forums, social media groups, or in-person encounters, reaching out to seasoned hikers allows you to tap into their knowledge and experience. Engaging in conversations with experienced backpackers can provide insights into specific destinations, gear recommendations, trail conditions, and other valuable tips to make your first backpacking trip a success.

Joining Meetup Groups

Meetup groups are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and join organized backpacking trips or events. These groups often include both beginners and experienced backpackers, creating a supportive and inclusive environment where you can learn from others. By participating in meetup group activities, you’ll have the opportunity to hike alongside experienced backpackers, observe their techniques, and absorb their knowledge. Additionally, joining meetup groups can lead to long-lasting friendships and ongoing support in your backpacking endeavors.

Attending Backpacking Events and Gatherings

Attending backpacking events and gatherings, such as backpacking conferences, festivals, or workshops, provides a tremendous opportunity to learn from experts and connect with the backpacking community. These events often feature presentations, panel discussions, and workshops on a wide range of topics, including gear selection, trip planning, navigation skills, and more. By immersing yourself in the backpacking environment at these events, you’ll gain valuable insights, make meaningful connections, and deepen your understanding of the backpacking world.

National Parks and Forests

Visitor Centers and Ranger Stations

National parks and forests have visitor centers and ranger stations that serve as valuable resources for backpackers. These centers provide maps, guidebooks, and other informational materials specific to the area, ensuring you have up-to-date information on trails, camping regulations, wildlife encounters, and safety considerations. The knowledgeable park rangers and staff at these centers can also offer personalized advice based on your skill level, interests, and time constraints, helping you plan a successful backpacking trip within the park or forest.

Park or Forest Websites

Park or forest websites are another essential resource for beginners planning a backpacking trip. These websites typically provide detailed information on camping options, permit requirements, trail conditions, and safety considerations within the park or forest. You can access trail maps, read trip reports, and gather important contact information through these websites. Additionally, many park or forest websites offer interactive features, allowing you to plan your itinerary, calculate distances, and estimate hiking times, ensuring you have the necessary information for a seamless backpacking adventure.

Park or Forest Annual Passes

If you plan on visiting multiple national parks or forests throughout the year, consider investing in an annual pass. Annual passes, such as the America the Beautiful Pass, allow access to a wide range of federal fee areas, including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other federal lands. By purchasing an annual pass, you’ll not only save money on entrance fees but also gain the flexibility to explore different landscapes and embark on multiple backpacking trips throughout the year.

Backpacking Apps and Podcasts

Outdoor Navigation Apps

Outdoor navigation apps have revolutionized the backpacking experience, providing valuable tools for route planning, real-time navigation, and tracking. Apps like Gaia GPS, AllTrails, and Komoot offer detailed maps, trail descriptions, elevation profiles, and GPS tracking features, allowing you to navigate with confidence. These apps can help you find popular trails, discover lesser-known routes, and ensure you stay on the right path during your backpacking trips.

Backpacking Planning Apps

In addition to navigation apps, there are also backpacking planning apps that assist with various aspects of trip preparation. Apps like Backpacker Checklist, Mappy Hour, and REI Co-op Guide offer features such as gear checklists, trip planning templates, meal planning tools, and even community forums to connect with other backpackers. Using backpacking planning apps can streamline your trip preparation process, ensuring you don’t overlook any essential items and enabling you to stay organized throughout your adventure.

Educational Podcasts

Podcasts have gained popularity as a convenient and accessible medium for learning, and backpacking is no exception. Educational podcasts focused on backpacking offer a wealth of information, engaging stories, and expert advice that you can listen to at your convenience. Podcasts like “The First 40 Miles” and “The Outdoorsy Diva” cover topics ranging from gear reviews and trip planning to personal backpacking experiences, allowing you to immerse yourself in the world of backpacking while on the go.

Online Travel Agencies

Booking Websites

Online travel agencies, such as Expedia,, and Kayak, are popular platforms for booking accommodation, flights, and transportation for your backpacking trips. These websites often offer competitive prices, user-friendly interfaces, and a wide range of options to suit various budgets and preferences. By using booking websites, you can easily compare prices, read reviews, and make informed decisions when planning your backpacking adventure.

Tour Operators

If you prefer a more structured and guided backpacking experience, tour operators specializing in backpacking trips can be an excellent option. These operators design itineraries, handle logistics, and provide experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the destinations you’ll be exploring. Joining a backpacking tour offered by a reputable tour operator can give you peace of mind, as the logistics and safety aspects are taken care of, allowing you to focus on enjoying the experience and learning from the expertise of your guides.

Travel Agents

For those who prefer personalized assistance and advice throughout the entire planning process, consulting a travel agent can be a valuable option. Travel agents are experienced professionals who can help you navigate the complexities of planning a backpacking trip. They can provide personalized recommendations, arrange flights, accommodations, and transportation, and ensure that all essential details are taken care of. Travel agents can offer valuable insights and guidance, especially for beginners who may feel overwhelmed by the intricacies of planning a backpacking adventure.

In conclusion, as a beginner backpacker, you have a multitude of resources at your fingertips to help you navigate the world of backpacking. From online communities and guidebooks to experienced backpackers and national parks, there is a wealth of advice and support available to ensure you have a successful and enjoyable adventure. By utilizing these resources, you’ll gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to embark on your first backpacking trip with excitement and peace of mind. So go ahead, seek out the best backpacking advice that resonates with you, and get ready to embrace the wonders of the great outdoors!



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