Put a girl in the mountains and you'll change her day. Give her a backpack and throw her into the backcountry for a few nights, and you can change her life.
1. Ditch the soap at home - the last thing on your mind in the beautiful backcountry is what you look like. Jump in the lakes, run in the dirt, and leave the showering for when you get back home!
2. Pack lightly and efficiently - you'll want to make sure your heavier items are towards the bottom of the pack and evenly distributed. Don't pack more than the essentials! Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, food, outer layers...what more do you need?! I promise you won't miss that book you wanted to bring along.
3. Get fitted for your pack BEFORE going out and buying on impulse - this will make or break you (literally, it'll kill your back). The folks at REI do a spectacular job of fitting you to the correct size you'll need. You'll be thankful you did it 😊
4. Make sure you have a bear canister or the sites you are staying at have bear lockers! I know a guy who had his backpack ripped into pieces by a racoon because he left a protein bar wrapper in his pack overnight. Trust me, it's worth the investment.
5. Break in your hiking boots before your trip! The last thing you'll want is blisters after day one with a long trail ahead of you.
6. Prepare yourself by taking a weighted backpack on day hikes! Short hikes with a high incline are great. 20-30 pounds is ideal to get your body used to it.
7. Bring enough food for 3 SOLID meals per day! You probably won't have time to eat much on the trail, but your body will be ready to eat a full load when you arrive at camp. I always bring along 2 packs of oatmeal, trail mix, 2 protein bars, dried fruit, and a freeze dried meal per day - minimum. You'll be burning so many calories you'll want the extra intake!
8. DO NOT say no to a trip because you're the only girl! My second backpacking trip was 4 days in Yosemite with a group of 10 guys I had never met. I was the only girl and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. Be a badass backpacking babe! *that's my life motto*
9. Sharing is caring! You can save extra weight if you share items. Tents, portable stoves, etc. are wonderful to share if you don't have these items on your own. Just trade off carrying them for the day and you're golden!
10. HAVE FUN! At the end of the day lets be honest for a second: your first backpacking trip is going to be a learning experience. It's going to be hard, tiring, dirty, and uncomfortable...but even better it will be beautiful, thought provoking, strengthening, BEAUTIFUL and so much fun! Go into it with a positive mindset and I promise you will never look back.
Xx - Morgan
Morgan is Girls Who Hike's Social Media Manager and is out exploring the Washington mountains when she's not busy completing nursing school. Click here to check out a list of our local chapters across the United States!