Backpacking Checklist

Camping and hiking trips can really be very exciting especially if they are undertaken with family and friends. After your first trip, you’ll be able to answer a lot of questions for next time: What gear worked or didn’t work; did you bring the right amount of food; was your pace fast enough to make the mileage, and more. Use this step-by-step guide to planning a successful trip as a beginner backpacker.

Backpacking is often the next adventure after successfully taking on longer hikes and car camping. Similarly, backpacking with kids is something parents are excited about and they look forward to making more memories. But going solo (not necessarily by yourself, but without tiny munchkins) and gaining some backpacking knowledge and experience under your belt is a great way to test the waters of backpacking life before you thrust your family into it head first.

The main goal of all these activities — hiking, trekking, and backpacking — is to get you out walking amongst nature. So there’s no reason for us to sweat the terminology and all the more reason for us to just get out walking (…or should I say hiking?).

I’ve tried MANY pairs of outdoor, quick-dry type underwear, and these REI Co-op Active Hipsters are my new favorite. While these underwear may not be the sexiest, they are moisture wicking and dry quickly, stay put, and panty lines don’t show. I like to bring a couple pairs for a multi-day backpacking trip.

This loop backpack has plentiful highlights that you earn with climbs and descents. Leave Slacks Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, crossing the Parkway to make White Rock Falls. Beyond the falls, cross the Parkway again, dropping to South Fork Back Creek. Ahead, Sherando Lake Recreation Area is centered with a pair of lakes and a series of nature trails that you can incorporate into your loop. The recreation area also has water spigots running during the warm season. From Sherando Lake, ascend Torry Ridge, passing view-laden Overlook Rock where Three Ridges Mountain rises in the distance. Work your way to the lowlands, eventually reach trouty Mills Creek. A steep climb earns now-wooded Bald Mountain. Still more views open of the Mills Creek Valley below while ridge running back to the Slacks Overlook.

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