Congrats! So did we, which is why we have spent a small fortune in order to do so, because backpacking can be expensive!
I can still remember sitting around a fire at a campground we used to frequent with our oversized 6-person tent nearby, when suddenly a giant RV pulled up after midnight, the dead lights beaming out of the behemoth’s massive front end. It was around this time that I had a burning desire to abandon our oppressive neighbors and set my sights on what some call dispersed camping.
As soon as we wrapped up our trip, my mind began to spin as I took to reddit and other social platforms to explore the possibility of venturing outside of the car-camping norm and stumbled upon this crazy little thing called backpacking. We started out small, taking quick day-hiking trips to the local trails. Hocking Hills was a staple that I still highly recommend if you’ve never been.
It didn’t take long for Bailey (my adoringly serial-hobbyist accepting wife) to fall in love with the hiking scene. She loved the physical aspect of pushing our bodies all day and then collapsing in agony when we finished. This is where I must be honest about the agony part, as I rolled both ankles in the span of a few months. Her laughter in the face of my injury prone hikes could have been worse than the pain. But I digress…
We started following along with thru-hikers on YouTube. We’d watch the journeys of interesting backpackers with even more interesting trail names (these are often nicknames given to or self-proclaimed by fellow hikers) such as Dixie, Darwinonthetrail, The Blackalachian, and even a parenting team with 5 kids which everyone just knows as The Family. Talk about a struggle!
Eventually, we were enticed to watch gear review videos for equipment such as proper footwear, backpacks, sleeping bags, etc. One little secret backpackers might not let you in on these days when first starting out is the current lightweight/ultra lightweight craze. Due to this craze of saving weight, you’re also looking at pretty big dollar signs, depending on what you choose to accompany you on your travels. Want a backpack that won’t make your knees feel like jello when hiking? That’ll be 200-300 bones. A one or two person tent (we actually decided we wanted a 3-person!) that you can actually carry without committing hari kari? Better get your credit cards ready!
Why am I telling you all this? I’m glad you asked. Because if you’re anything like me, the thrill will be too great to only collect a single piece of gear here or there. You don’t want to backpack now that you’re hooked, you need to backpack. You crave it! It’s an unstoppable rebel force that will never be silenced until you swing that fully-loaded pack over your shoulders and trek deep in to Mother Nature’s godforsaken, mosquito-ridden, blood-sucking-tick-filled bosom!
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you, future hiker trash.