Go Ahead Spend the Night in the Wilderness: I Dare You

by Amanda Foster, The Hike Shack 

With so many people having cabin fever these days the thought of heading outside on the trail for more than just the day is intriguing. If you are thinking of spending a night or more on the trail, I have some suggestions for you.

First, if you are planning to take your kids, try a night in your back yard. This can be fun and teach you a lot in one night. 

When I look at backpacking from a beginning standpoint, it can be an overwhelming experience. Beyond your regular hiking gear and common leave-no-trace practices, there are a few things you need to consider.

No matter where or when you go, there are things you will need: shelter, sleeping gear, food — and things you need to prepare and consume it — water, and something to carry it in and back out. 

There are a few things to remember when it comes to the essentials list, like how far do I want to carry it, and how much does it all weigh?

Pack — Size is volume and packs need to be properly fitted to your torso so you can carry weight comfortably. 

Tent — Make it light, durable, packable and weather resistant. Practice setting it up beforehand.

Sleeping bags, pads — Weight, packability, fill and anticipated weather are important.

Food — Keep it simple; think lots of calories. Stove, cookware and dehydrated meals or just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and protein bars work. Whatever you decide, take a little more than you think you need.

Water — Take more than you think you need; you may have to share, and your source may be dry when you arrive. Make sure you treat all outdoor water; you never know who or what is up stream. Every trip varies when it comes to water requirements. 

Clothing —Remember we are all weather sensitive, but you can wear those pants for more than one day; extra pair of socks and bandana always.