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Essential Backpack Tips for Summer Travel

Backpacking is one of the best ways to submerge yourself into the culture and get intimate with the environment of your destination.  Depending on where you go, summer backpacking is often the most advantageous because the weather is usually clear (again, depending on where you’re traveling) and the terrain is typically more manageable. 

It takes time and experience to master the art of backpacking. But the art of packing your bag is a skill that takes a lot of trial and error to master. Many travelers have learned the hard way about what not to do on a backpacking trip. These tips on how to prep for your backpack summer travel will help you avoid rookie mistakes so you can soak up the best of your trail-blazing season.

Pack Light: This may seem easier said than done, especially if you are living from your bag for weeks at a time. But hiking across the Himalayas with an overly heavy pack will surely suck all the fun from your travel experiences. Backpacking in the summer can be a sweaty proposition and sometimes exhausting. The last thing you need is getting burdened by what feels like a boulder on your back. Do your due diligence by researching lightweight backpacks. Be willing to spend more money on a lighter, higher-quality pack. You’ll thank yourself for taking the time to pick the right pack and spending the extra money.

Stay Connected: It doesn’t matter what type of summer backpack trip you’re planning, snafus can happen. Prevent getting caught in a tight spot by staying connected through your phone and/or GPS. Use a dry pack to store these items with your chargers, and also consider including a power bank. This is a small device that stores power; it’s like an external battery. These are handy when you are backpacking long-term without access to electric outlets for charging.

Keep Hydrated: Staying hydrated is crucial to enjoyable summer backpacking. It can also save your life on the trail or the road. Be prepared for high summer temperatures while hiking so you can avoid exposure or dehydration. Start by planning your backpack trip according to watering holes upon your route. In other words, carry enough water (plus some extra) to get you to your next refueling stop.

Hygiene Essentials: If you’re ‘roughing it’ that doesn’t mean your skin has to have a rough time while backpacking in the summertime. Pack a dependable sunscreen lotion (recommended SPF of 30 or higher) to protect from sunburns while hitting the trails. Hiking can get grimy and ground-in dirt can cause damage to your face and skin. Consider packing a face exfoliator to cleanse your pores and prevent the buildup of dirt and grime which will keep your skin clear of blemishes. For hair care, think about getting a solid shampoo. These are lightweight and don’t take much room in your pack. Alternatively, try a waterless shampoo product that does a decent job of cleaning hair without water. It’s also a good idea to pack a hand sanitizer so you can keep clean when water might be scarce.

Safety First: Backpacking is an adventure that means fun and exploration but it can also mean accidents.  No summer backpack trip should take place without a first aid kit tucked in your pack. Expect the best but prepare for minor hiccups by stocking your first aid kit with basic medical essentials. These include bandages, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic creams. Also, think about including headache and pain relief medicine as well as meds that help with bouts of diarrhea.  Another essential for your first aid pack is your preferred insect repellent. Also pack tea tree oil, because it’s great for treating insect bites and minor skin irritations. Of course, if you take prescription drugs, your first aid kit is a good place to keep these so you know exactly where they are.  Make sure your first aid kit is sturdy and waterproof to avoid ruining all the treatments you have taken the time to provide for yourself on your travels.

No matter where the trail takes you this summer, these essential tips for backpacking are the first steps to getting you on the path to an enjoyable travel experience. They say preparation is the key to success, and these pointers are sure to help you have a sublimely sensational backpacking season!

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