Backpacking

Have you ever wondered, what it might be like, to hike into the forests and mountains, drink water from streams, and to sleep out under the stars? Have you ever wanted to go spend a day or two in the back country, but never knew how to do it? Then come visit one of our backpacking seminars, where you will get to learn what to pack for a trip, how to purify water, how to leave a positive impact in the environment, and so much more!

Feel ready to take your new found skills to the test? Come join us on one of our backpacking trips, and experience the great outdoors with us!


Pro-Tips

Check out the tips and tricks used by the pros, in real outdoor adventures!


Weather

When backpacking, it is always a good idea to look up the weather forcast for that area, prior to leaving for your trip. Even rainy trips can be loads of fun, as long as you feel comfortable and confident doing so. 


How to pack:

 Our friends in the outdoor industry have come up with several great resources, showing the basics of how to pack a backpack, check them out below!


 

Gear

Ready to try out some backpacking gear? Then here’s what you need to know.

 

Gear Fitting

When trying to select the right gear for your trip, it can be somewhat overwhelming. There is a plethora of options available out there, and it can be a daunting task in choosing the one that’s right for you. When it comes to backpacks and footwear however, there is a simple solution. Find out where your local outfitter is, and drop by to talk about your trip with an outdoor representative there. Their staff are trained and knowledgeable on how a pack/shoes should properly fit, and it is their job to make sure you find the gear that is best fitted to your body. Not sure about investing into a backpacking pack yet, but you still want to try out the sport? Come and visit your local source for gear rentals, Center Activities! We will find the right pack for you to try from our selection, and recommend some of our favorite locations!

 

Boots-N-Shoes               

Curious about what sort of gear to put on your feet? Well then you’ve come to the right place. Many people will tell you that waterproof shoes are always the way to go, and others will tell you that waterproof doesn’t matter. Similarly, people will tell you that boots are better than shoes, and vise versa. How can we know who’s right? The answer is: they’re both right. You see, boots and shoes, are a lot like puzzle pieces. Every single person on earth has different shaped feet, and have different needs/activities. For Humboldt, here are the things you should be aware of while considering your next pair of hiking boots/shoes.

 

Boot or Shoe?

The choice between boots or hiking shoes can be long and confusing. Fortunately, you came to the right place! Everyone has a different reason for choosing their respective footwear, but here’s the main factors that tend to influence a buyer’s decision.

  1. What feels more comfortable, with or without ankle protection

  2. How long the hikes will be

  3. If crossing shallow or tall streams on the trail

  4. Weather

  5. Stability

  6. Weight

 

Here are the general Pros for both Boots and shoes, and why people choose one over the other.
 

Hiking Boots                         Hiking Shoes

  1.  More Waterproof                    1. Light Weight

  2. More Stability                         2. More Mobility

  3. More Durability                       3. Faster Break in time

  4. Higher Foot Protection           4. Can be Economically Reasonable 

     

   

Waterproof

 

When fitted and tied correctly, a waterproof boot will keep all the rain and mud out, and your feet dry. If the shoe is too loose, allowing water to drip in, the shoe will act more like a bucket, keeping in the excess moisture. This is also true in hot environments, when the hiker has profusely sweaty feet. However, using a breathable sneaker might also mean getting wet feet. Since not everyone wants to use a waterproof shoe, what is the best solution? Get the shoe that is the most comfortable. If you’re the most comfortable with dry feet, get a good-fitting waterproof shoe/boot. If you want to get something light and breathable, wear something that’s comfortable, and with enough grip to get through slippery terrain. In both scenarios, the #1 thing all outdoor enthusiasts will tell you, is to use a non-cotton sock. Both wool and synthetic materials will wick the moisture away from your foot, keeping you warmer, and dryer. When they get wet, they tend to not retain moisture, meaning they won’t stay soaking wet, and will continue to keep your feet warm.  




Multiple Use Items

Because weight is one of the number one concerns while backpacking (how heavy all your gear is in your pack), it is often regarded as a good idea, to bring items that can be used for more than one purpose. For example, instead of bringing multiple utensils, one could bring a spork! Or instead of bringing a Can Opener, you could bring a pocket knife that includes a can-opener tool.

 

Cheap VS Expensive

Let’s face it, outdoor gear can be kinda pricey. When looking for a specific gear item, sometimes we can find a similar piece of gear online, with prices that are incredibly hard to beat. Ordering gear (or anything) online can be a slippery slope, and when not crossed carefully, you may find your gear uncomfortable, or even falling apart. Always read the reviews when shopping online, and only purchase from reliable companies. When the price is too good to be true, it usually has very poor reviews. When the piece of gear you’re shopping for is an item you’ll be wearing, such as boots/shoes or a backpack, always try it on before purchasing. While some people may leave positive reviews for that item online, it may be the wrong shape/design for you. Another thing to consider, is what the company’s customer service policy is. Many well known outdoor gear brands have a phenomenal customer service department, and will often repair or replace your broken gear, free of charge! This means that some gear might be a single-purchase item, as long as it breaks under normal wear and tear. Common examples of this include the Nalgene Water bottle, in which they will replace an unintentionally broken bottle (you can check out their policy here), and Darn Tough Socks, in which they will replace any pair of socks, with holes from naturally occurring abrasion.

 

Want to check out some other resources? Go visit our neighbors below!

Leave no Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

The Center for Outdoor Ethics has some great resources on how to keep a lower impact in the places and spaces we love, to help preserve them for future trips and generations.                

American Hiking Society

The American Hiking Society has some great tips and tricks to use on your next adventure! They have everything from planning your hike, to outdoor skills.




*Don’t forget to check out our Backpacking Seminars offered each semester! Our outdoor staff cover the basics of equipment, clothing, food packs, and Leave No Trace principles. Everyone is invited to come and meet other hikers who are looking for local backpacking adventures.

 

  

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