Intro to Backpacking - Part 3

November 12, 2021
Posted by: Thomas

Hi there! This is part 3 in a five part series welcoming new hikers to backpacking. Don't forget to check out part 1 and part 2 if you haven't already.

Does Uber Eats Deliver Here?

Probably not. You’re probably not going to want to rely on a campfire to do the cooking either. A quick burst of rain will extinguish the fire and send you to bed hungry if not hungry and wet. You’ll want to invest in a backpacking stove and cook kit if you don’t have one to borrow. This could be as simple as an Esbit cube folding stove or an isobutane canister with a screw on burner with arms to support a small pot. Regardless of what you choose, you’ll need to effectively boil water. If you can boil water, you can cook camp food! Luckily, there are no limits to the types of camp food available at specialty stores like REI and Cabella's, let alone at your local dollar store or grocery market. Prepackaged backpacking meals have come a long way in terms of quality but often carry a hefty price tag compared to a packet of ramen noodles or powdered mashed potatoes. A package of couscous and some dehydrated veggies somehow hits differently in the middle of the woods and all it takes is less than 2 cups of boiling water.

High protein and high calorie snacks like Cliff Bars, Stinger Waffles, and even basic granola nut bars provide sufficient energy to keep you moving on your way to and from camp but don’t forget to bring some morale boosting treats like a Snickers, Skittles, or my favorite, Jelly Bellys. Breakfasts can be as simple as a Pop-Tart or instant oatmeal but be sure to bring some of your favorite instant coffee or hot chocolate to help you start the day. Individual drink mix packets that provide a combination of flavor, electrolytes, and caffeine are a great way to stay hydrated as well as provide the boost you need to get over that next ridge.

Speaking of water, your research should have told you where to find water on your adventure but it may not have told you how to make it drinkable. I remember using Iodine tablets as a kid at summer camp excursions that left the water discolored and somewhat smelly. There are now taste neutralizing tablets that clear the treated water up and take the edge off of the smell. In addition to that more traditional way of treating water making advancements, so have water filter pumps as well as filters like the Sawyer Squeeze and the Be-free from Katadyn BeFree. Those style filters will remove sediment and micro organisms without chemical treatment.

Things to consider: What kind of stove and pot system do you want to use at the end of a long hike? How will you replace the calories you’ve burned while eating food that you regularly enjoy? Where will you store your food overnight so as not to attract mice or bears? Do you have enough fuel for cooking all of your meals or are you packing in fresh fruit and cold quesadillas? Did you bring a bag to pack out all of your packaging and food waste?

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Outdoor Fun Network is a collective of outdoor enthusiasts who would like to pass our love of outdoor adventures on to others. Here you will find bike rides, bikepacking, backpacking, hikes, runs, snowboarding, skiing and generally anything else outdoors. All are welcome to become part our Outdoor Fun Network!