(rawclayphoto.com / @trainsandplanes)
We invite you to read through these helpful tips created for beginner backpackers who want to take a backpacking and camping adventure in Patagonia, Chile or any other gorgeous outdoor destination that your heart desires. If you have the right buddies, the heart to explore, the attitude to do your best to overcome every challenge, and the beginner list below checked.... you're set and ready to embark on a beautiful journey you won't regret. If you haven't already, have a look at part one of Michelle's adventure to Patagonia. If you don't have the urge to adventure now, you will once you've read part 1.
For your gear check, start with this essentials guide from REI Co-op: http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html
Think simple and essential for clothes and food. If you’re hiking for extended hours, I guarantee you will feel every ounce of weight on your back. DON’T over pack outfits—just have one or two max of each layer.
When purchasing a backpack, do your research! You can even go to an outdoor store to have one expertly fitted to your body and see what it feels like with full weight, not just when empty. Especially on a longer, more intensive expedition, you and your backpack will become one. Really get to know all its features and become besties with it.
Carefully plan your meals and bring a gravity-fed water filtration system if you can’t trust the tap water in your campsite. To my surprise, I fell in love with freeze-dried food. We had Mountain House (the number one brand for camp food) and after 10 hours of hiking, it tastes like heaven. Each meal is super lightweight, easy-to-prep, virtually no clean up, and is packed with the sodium and protein.
Pack a big bag of GORP (Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts), with m&m’s duh, to munch on during your hike. http://www.mountainhouse.com/
Bring extra zip lock baggies to bag your trash (apple cores, banana peels, wrappers, tissues, etc.) because whatever you bring into a national park, you’re responsible for bringing it out. Patagonia has a strict Leave No Trace (LNT) policy, and there is absolutely no tolerance for littering.
Make sure your sleeping bag is the right degree category for the environment you’re camping in and has a compact stuff sack. I made the mistake of knowingly buying one 10 degrees off thinking it wasn’t a big deal, and I was frozen stiff the first night.
Go to sleep with only a base layer on in your sleeping bag and some clothes stuffed at the bottom of your feet. Your sleeping bag is made to trap your natural body heat and having thick clothing on can inhibit the bag from working.
To avoid extra weight don’t bring a camp pillow, just stuff some clothes into your sleeping bag stuff sack and voila! However, a roll up sleeping pad is a must so invest in something that has good foam support or is self-inflating.
Keep your headlamp within reach as soon as it approaches dark, it will be incredibly handy to you at night. You don’t need to buy an expensive high-tech headlamp, just order a simple one off amazon and make sure to pack extra batteries.
This camp soap is the BEST! Small in size and one drop goes a long way. I could use it for everything: face, clothes, dishes, etc. It can be your one-stop shop for cleanliness. http://www.amazon.com/Campsuds-8oz/dp/B00194BOJW/ref=lp_5691211011_1_1_a_it?srs=5691211011&ie=UTF8&qid=1456774411&sr=8-1
If flying to your expedition, wrap, duck tape, and tag your backpack so that you can protect the integrity of your bag when it’s checked in at the airport and is going through baggage claim.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Respect the place your traveling to and the people you travel with. Know the rules and fire regulations of your campsite. Always help & encourage your travel buddies--they are your team, and intensive camping is made astronomically more enjoyable when people are willing to share responsibilities, be humble and generous, and serve each other on the trail.
You can see a few more traveling tips here: http://blog.rei.com/hike/resolve-to-do-more-than-just-get-outside-this-year/
For the dreamer - For the adventurer