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Backpacking 101: An Introductory Guide For New Packers

Are you interested in breaking into backcountry travel, but not sure you have the physical fitness?  Want to walk into the wilderness but worried about wildlife and safety?  How about going to the bathroom and take care of simple hygiene in the woods? Wondering what gear to purchase and who you should buy it from?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then my next series of articles is for you!

Red Creek, Dolly Sods, WV
Safely Crossing Red Creek, Dolly Sods, WV

 Over the last two years I have introduced my daughters to backpacking, and reintroduced my husband, who hadn’t been in 20 years.  My newest victim, um, wilderness camping partner, is my Sister-in-law, Carmen.  Carmen is a fun-loving, high energy, willing-to-try-everything-at-least-once kind of girl. She likes to paddle board and ski, and right now she is learning how to play polo, although I am not sure she had ever really ridden a horse until now.  You get the picture…
Carmen Learning to Ride a Horse
Carmen’s hiking experience is limited, but I have no doubt she is able to load up a pack, charge into the wilderness, and be successful, a la Cheryl Strayed in Wild.  Unlike Cheryl, I want Carmen to have fun from the get-go, as well as assuage any chances of getting hurt.  I am helping Carmen channel her inner trail diva by sharing my gear and experience.  

My Sister-in-Law, and Newest Backpacking Buddy

Like Carmen, I am approached by people, especially women, who want to learn how to travel the backcountry but have no idea where to start.  This new series of articles, aptly named “Backpacking 101,” is a “quick start” guide assuming the reader is starting from scratch, and is by no means comprehensive.  
Some of the topics I cover in the “Backpacking 101” series includes:
  • Getting in Shape
  • Gear
  • Sleeping Systems (tent or hammock)
  • Clothes
  • Tips to Reduce Weight
  • Rain gear
  • Stoves and Camp Kitchen
  • Navigation
  • Water Treatment
  • Basic First Aid
  • Safety
  • Feminine Hygiene 
  • Respecting Wildlife
  • Personal Safety and Responsibility

And I will probably come up with a few others.  Oy!  Might as well write a book 😊

I will be adding a lot of posts in the coming weeks and months, and also check in on Carmen's progress, as well as ask her to write some comments, so be sure to sign up for my email notifications for new posts as I add them!

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