Backpacking Food Ideas, Planning your Backpacking Supplies

One of the biggest challenges when backpacking is actually trying to get everything you need packed into your backpack. It is so easy to over pack especially when it comes to your backpacking supplies. One way to avoid this is to have a few backpacking food ideas, just a simple plan of your expected food and supply needs for the length of your trip.

When planning your backpacking supplies there are three things to consider. First you will want to think about the weight of your food and the amount of room they will take up in your pack. Second you need to consider your energy requirements for each day of hiking. And third you need to know how many days you will be taking for your trip, and so how much food you will need overall.

In addition to these three main considerations there are a few other things to think of. For instance you will want to have at least one hot meal a day. The other meals will need to be easy to prepare and require little or no cooking. Foods that can be prepared in their own packaging are great for backpacking. They take up little room and as they are usually dehydrated, they tend to be light as well. And by buying single servings, you can eat only what you need.
While backpacking you are going to need to eat at least three meals per day, as well as snacks and trail food such as gorp ( good old raisins and peanuts). Staying well nourished is important as it keeps your energy levels up, allowing you to hike further and feel fitter in general. Taking vitamin supplements can also help as they are very light to carry and ensure that your body is getting everything that it needs. It is also important to eat at regular times, even if you do not feel that hungry.

Planning your backpacking supplies for any trip, no matter how long is very important, and having a few backpacking food ideas will start you on the right track. So always make sure that you have enough for your trip. Try experimenting with different types of food before you go, this way you will have a better idea of what to take. And don’t forget to take things like high energy bars for those times during the day when you need that extra boost.

Having the right backpacking supplies will make all the difference to your trip. If you are well fed you will feel better and have more energy, so ensuring that your trip will be one you ENJOY and not one that you ENDURE.

Breathtaking Backpacking Places to Visit

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced hiker, that unpredictability of life that backpacking commands makes you reluctant to return to a normal life in the city, to take your place in the rat race. Whether you look for spirituality, adventure, friendship, new cultures, or just beauty in nature, you know that a single backpacking adventure has the capacity to change you forever. There are some amazingly breathtaking places to go in the world, good places where you will find happiness at the cheapest prices, with just a backpack of 50 liters to carry your world in.

You learn so many things by interacting with people all over the world, without the artificiality and blindfolds that accompany a vacation with luxuries. There are so many opportunities to make friends everywhere you go, and to promise to one day return and visit them. When you’re out there, you know that this was how it was meant to be, that this was what humans were made for: living free.

Some Breathtaking Places Which Should be on Your Bucket List
The Everest Base Camp Trail, Nepal
Anything that has Everest in its name is bound to be difficult, but this one is moderate. It starts and ends at Lukla, at an altitude of 18,192 feet above sea level. About 116 km (70 miles), it takes you through scenic mountain routes on which you see some of the highest peaks in the world at close quarters, like the Everest, Makalu, Cho Oyu, and Lhotse, all at very low prices. There are sherpa villages to be stayed in, and harsh conditions to be acclimatized to, but it’s all worth it!
North Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa
A walk on the Drakensberg escarpment in South Africa, is about 65 km long. It is the ridge that borders the Lesotho plateau of the Drakensberg mountains at the border between Lesotho and South Africa. The view from the escarpment goes down 1800 m (the mountains themselves being about 3000 m high). If you plan accordingly, you can visit the San Rock Paintings, which are a world heritage site. The lushness of the area will surprise you, since it is one of the more forgotten parts of the world.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru
Peru is a beautiful country where you can plan budget travel and have an amazing time. There are several alternative routes to Machu Picchu from the surrounding terrain, so you may customize your experience as much as possible, (provided you carry permits). Three of the main ones are The Classic, The Mollepatta, and the One Day routes, ranging in difficulty and anywhere between one- to ten-day treks. You are guaranteed plenty of ruins, llamas, and mountains to last you a lifetime.
The Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Hike, United States of America
A popular site within the backpacking community is the strenuous rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon carved out over time by the Colorado river through Arizona, that people usually undertake from the North Kaibab Trail to the Bright Angel Trail in the south, covering a distance of 24 miles (including ascent and descent from the banks of the river). It is a grueling hike, but you have pit stops along the way where you can refuel. The view from the banks of the Colorado is the best part.
The Polar Route, Greenland
This route takes the backpacker to the frigid areas around the Arctic Circle, in a sparse and unexplored, but intensely beautiful country. Make your own paths across the 200km route from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut, with plenty of wild food you can catch yourself (though you shouldn’t). The area is good for summer, if you want to see the vestiges of Greenland in its former icy glory. A lot of tundra, falling glaciers along the coastline, fjords and human remains inhabit the land.
The Appalachian Trail, United States of America
This is the longest trail in the list, at 3,500 km of the Appalachians, from the Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, spanning 14 North American states. An adventure fest in its own right, it takes about five to seven months for a fit person to finish the trek. It offers breathtaking sights in the first few miles itself, like the 30-Mile-Wilderness, the Lower Wilson Falls, with the Blue Mountain, Anthony’s Nose, and Kittatinny Ridge coming in later.
The Kilimanjaro Trail, Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in all of Africa, and has the most amazing trekking routes, 7 in all, which take varying amounts of time, ranging from 6 to 12 days. If one opts for the Machame route, it will take you through the most scenic areas of forests and wildlife, with views of Kibo and Mount Meru, albeit at a price of high foot traffic and high difficulty levels.
Pays Dogon, Mali
A vivid world of mud huts, sunshine, warm people, art, and cliffs awaits you at this World Heritage Site which is located in Mali, West Africa. You can start at a bigger town and make your way across the landscape to smaller settlements, like the ones at Dourou, Songo, or Bandiagara. Tempting as it may seem to interact with the locals who have lived there for centuries, you need to respect them and their rites. It can prove a wonderful experience in a new land.
Petra, Jordan
A popular route is from Amman to Petra which allows the backpacker a great way to check out the multicolored and beautiful desert Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, Jerash, Dana Nature Reserve, and the archaeologically significant site at Petra, which means you will have to hitch hike a bit to get around in the absolute heat.
Egypt
There are several places in Egypt that you can explore like the ancient city of Alexandria, the Nile, the pyramids of Giza, Kom Ombo, and the Great Sand Sea because accommodation, food, travel and tourism is inexpensive. There are numerous things to see in Egypt besides the desert; the coastal area is often unexplored and has so much adventure to offer in the way of water sports and snorkeling at competitive rates. Hitchhike it all the way there with a few dollars in your pocket.
Turkey
Virtually the entire country is easy to backpack across, as people here are kind and friendly enough to help travelers. You can start out at the capital Ankara or at the multicultural, east-meets-west, all-important hub of Istanbul, with its beautiful mosques, bazaars optimized for haggling, and the amazing food. Make sure you visit the ruins at Anatolia and take a look at the Roman aqueducts that were constructed in the city. It is the haven of travel enthusiasts and backpackers.
India
India has lots to offer in terms of backpacking options for tourists. Plenty of religious and spiritual landmarks like Rishikesh, Varanasi, and the temples of the south are easily accessible, though excessively charged for travelers as compared to the Indian public. Take a ride from scenic Kashmir in Ladakh and Srinagar, to the beaches of Goa. There is immense diversity here every few miles, enough to satisfy the most curious traveler. Be wary of swindlers and gold-diggers, though.
Ethiopian Simiens, Ethiopia
The Simien Mountains National Park offers a very beautiful landscape for travelers wanting to hike across Ethiopia. The amount of flora and fauna one comes across here is breathtaking to say the least. The land gently flows over, at an altitude of 3,600 m above sea level. Trekking with guides is encouraged, though not necessary. It’s just that there aren’t many helpful facilities for the independent visitor. Taking a scout along won’t hurt, though.
The list here is just the tip of the iceberg. One can backpack across any and every terrain, starting from one’s own backyard to the neighboring city. Seasoned backpackers know this already, but always make sure to research about the locals and their habits, cultures and customs, economic situations and atmosphere of the country you want to go to, before you decide to go gallivanting across the hemisphere. Keep a few safety measures in place and your documents at all times and you’re good to go!

Essential Ultralight Backpacking Gear

A backpacking trek may sound super exciting to adventurous few. Be it a one day trip or a week-long adventure up the mountains, one needs to carefully plan their backpack inclusions. One key factor to be kept in mind is that one needs to be well equipped with things required for the whole journey as well as for emergency situations such as some unforeseen delay or a mishap on the way. The other factor is that you will never enjoy the trek if you have to carry loads of heavy gear on your back. So how should one look out for the perfect backpacking gear?

Essential + Ultralight = Best Gear

For a start, determine the kind of trek that you wish to make. Is it a long trek up the snow capped mountains or in the dense forests? Is it a short trip to some historical site in your county? Whichever the location, determine which gear is most essential for that particular trip. Some of the most essential ultralight backpacking gear should include all or some of the things mentioned in the list given below.

Expedition Tent
One of the most essential necessities of overnight or long backpacking journeys, tents serve as a protection against harsh climatic conditions and direct attack from insects or beasts. Go in for a tent that is all season in nature and that which has a capacity to house about 4 persons. A tent as big as this should weigh approximately 2 to 8 pounds depending upon the make and the brand that you may opt for. An expedition tent is usually priced around $200 to $1000. Look out for some key features such as ease in set up and packing up, minimum storage space, ventilation, sturdiness against storms and weight.

Sleeping Bag
Just a tent for a night stopover during your trek is not sufficient. What you need is a good quality, inflatable sleeping bag. One of the lightest and most popular sleeping bag brand is NeoAir. Expect the prices to range from $20 to $40 depending upon the size of sleeping bag that you opt for. They are easily inflatable and best solutions for constraints of space and weight.

Map
Never fail to carry the local map of the place that you are trekking through. If the place has sufficient network coverage, then using the GPRS facility on your cell phones is a brilliant option. Else, we suggest that you refer to the 7.5 minute USGS or 15 minute green trail maps for the best guidance. Before you actually set out on your backpacking expedition, care to learn the method of using these maps.

Flash Light
One needs to possess lightweight flash lights or headlights for making nocturnal backpacking journeys. At times you may be delayed on account of weather conditions and therefore the flash light and/or headlight should be weather proof. Use flashlights that have rubber linings, hidden spaces to store extra batteries and bulbs made out of halogen or krypton. Some of the best lightweight flash light brands include Mini Maglite AA, Photon Micro Light, Black Diamond ION, etc.

Compass
Remember, there is a difference in magnetic north featured by compass and true north featured by maps. Therefore, look out for compass with direction adjustment features, a liquid filled center, a good base plate and a fold-out mirror. Some of the best light weight brands of compasses include Silva Ranger (3 oz), Suunto A10 (1 oz), Suunto MC-2G Navigator (2.5 oz).

Clinometer
When climbing steep mountains, it is essential to judge the steepness of the mountains beforehand. This helps to place your location accurately on the map and avoid the danger of encountering avalanches.

Watch
You are quite likely to lose sense of time while you wander along unknown places during your backpacking trip. I suggest you to leave your costly and precious watches at home. Instead, you may opt for a special ultralight watches that are water resistant in nature.

Essential Clothing
Essential clothing for the backpacking trip will vary as per the location of the trek and the duration of the trek. When backpacking through dense forests, you need to pack clothing such as insect resistant jackets, hiking boots, hats, caps, scarves and raincoats. For treks in colder regions, care to carry good quality thermal wear sets that include disposable undergarments, insulated pants and t-shirts as well as thick socks and gloves. At other times, avoid carrying clothes made out of cotton as they tend to add to the overall weight of your backpack. Carry bright colored clothing in dark red, blue or yellow that may help your backpacking mates identify you from a distance if you get lost. Avoid wearing green clothing when backpacking in dense forests.

Trekking Poles
You may use lightweight trekking poles that help to ease your climb and walk. These poles can be easily detached, folded and packed away in one corner of your backpack. These poles can also be used as a safety precaution to shoo away wild beasts that cross your path during the trek.

Food
Backpacking can be physically stressful and hunger inducing. You may feel hungry at regular intervals. It is therefore suggested that you carry plentiful supply of lightweight and dry meals for snacks and some dehydrated ready to eat meals. Ideally, count portions based on the number of meals you are likely to eat. Make sure to carry extra food for unforeseen delays in your journey. Also carry paper napkins and disposable dishes, bowls and spoons. My personal suggestions about foods to be included in your backpacking trip include:

  • Coffee/ tea sachets
  • Sugar and salt sachets
  • Powdered milk
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Instant noodles and soups
  • Dried fruits
  • Chocolate and granola bars
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Cheese cubes
  • Frozen and dried dinners
  • Bagels and muffins
  • Onion and garlic powders
  • Dried fish and meat
  • Fries
  • Chewing gum

Cooking Stove
Ideally, use light weight trail stoves that make white gas. You may have to carry extra supply of butane or propane fuel if you wish to stay out longer and make use of the stove for melting snow for water supply.

First Aid Kit
Your first aid kit should include a large stock of bandages, band-aids, sterilized cotton wool, cold and cough medicine, paracetamol, pain killers, etc. We also suggest that you carry a good reference book on mountaineering or backpacking first aid procedures.

Sunglasses
You may or may not realize it, but your backpacking trip can have lasting effects on your eyes due to steady exposure to harmful solar UV radiations and lights reflecting from snow. There have been cases on snow blindness due to negligence of eye care. Some of the best light brands available in the market include Bolle’s UV resistant sunglasses (approximately $45), Nikon’s glacier glasses (approximately $100).

Waterproof Matches
Usage of waterproof and wind proof matches should be restricted only for emergency situations. Keep them away from your regular butane lighters for fear of combustion. Ideally store them in a cool and dry box. Popular brands include Colan, Cyclone and Hurricane.

Pocket Knife
It is an excellent idea in a multiple-use Swiss knife that has a knife, cutter, bottle opener, scissor, wire crimper, etc. Opting for a ‘Master Swiss army knife’ or a ‘ Victorinox Swiss champ’ is the best option. These tools weigh as little as 6 oz and ½ pound respectively.

Water Bottles and Filter
It is always possible to carry water bottles from home on short backpacking expeditions. However, if your trip happens to be lengthy, then you may have to refill water from local sources. Carry sufficient water bottles to suffice your water requirement. Similarly, it can be unhealthy to directly consume local water for fear of contamination. Personally, I suggest you to carry a light weight water filter as a precaution. Other options for water purification include boiling water before consumption or rolling a lump of alum in the water that helps remove impurities.

Insect Repellents
It is quite likely that the places that you visit are rampant with mosquitoes or leaches. Carry sufficient quantity of insect repellents in lotion and spray forms.

Sunscreen Lotions
When out under direct exposure to the sun, there is a high chance of getting skin problems and sun burns. It is best to keep a good amount of sunscreen lotions that give a good amount of protection against harmful UV rays of the sun.

Whistle
Whistles act as an ‘SOS’ when there is any kind of emergency during the trip. You cannot foresee when a whistle can come in handy. Opt for a good, shrill and light weight whistle that can help you communicate over long distances too. I recommend you to purchase a whistle of Fox40 brand which costs as little as $6.

Ropes
Ropes are quoted as the survival cords for a backpacking trek. They have multiple uses viz for tying up your luggage, for rock climbing, etc. It is one of the most important safety gears and needs to be ultralight with minimum space requirement. You may opt for a sturdy nylon rope which is approximately 80 ft to 100 ft in length. A good quality military use rope is priced at approximately $25.

No other journey tests your body limits as much as a backpacking trip on unfamiliar terrain. Be it a solitary journey or in a group, these ultralight backpacking gear will be the key to your survival and success of your trek. All it needs is an additional monetary investment to get hold of these possessions. I wish you all…Bon Voyage!

Ultralight Backpacking Tips

Traditional backpacking is no more the norm in the trekking world. As such, there is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes an ultralight backpacking. As a thumb rule, it is generally considered that ultralight backpack weighs between 5 – 10 pounds. You can lessen or increase couple of pounds as there is no rule book that states ultralight backpacking is strictly less than 10 pounds. Nevertheless, we will continue our discussion further by considering ultralight weight in the range five to ten pounds.

Ultralight Backpacking Tips and Tricks

It’s All in the Mind…
We’re accustomed to filling our bags with lots of unnecessary stuff. To become an ultralight backpacker, you have to get rid of the mentality of packing anything and everything you get! Yes, free your mind! Let it be free, lightweight. What do you experience if all thoughts are just washed away? Relaxation and calmness! Isn’t it? So, the same you have to do while backpacking. Challenge your traditional thinking. You just have to carry the necessary stuff, that is multipurpose and things that you absolutely cannot do without.

It’s All for the Body
Now when you carry light weight, it’s easy on your body too. You tire less, there is less injury to back, ankles or knees, and you can cover more distance. This is all good on the body. When you are carrying less weight, you feel less stressed and hence, you can actually enjoy the trip instead of feeling exhausted. If you are hiking with children, the less weight is an added advantage. You are free to handle children with ease.

What All to Carry
The best way for ultralight backpacking is to carry all the required things but in a light-weight form. This way you will have all that you need without having to worry about the weight. Another important tip is to remember that you have to carry the absolute essentials. Don’t carry stuffs like books, heavy hiking tools, camp shoes, etc., that you can do without. A good way to lessen your weight is to not carry things in duplicate. People tend to carry extra clothes, towels, etc., that really adds up to the total weight. Packing small tubes of sunscreen, toothpaste and other toiletries also helps in reducing the overall weight. Don’t forget to take into account these ultra backpacking tips.

– There are some essentials that you would need – your backpack, a sleep system and a shelter. Here you can carry the light weight yet durable versions.
– The light weight pack that can carry all your stuff is a preferable option. Go for such sleep systems that have lesser zips, ground pad weight and no hood.
– Carry a down vest along to keep you warm. In case of shelters as well, you can pick up the ones that are made of light fabric. Though these require more care while handling or pitching and may not give you bug protection yet are light on your back.
– You can also reduce weight by carrying lighter rain jacket or camping shoes. Other things like small LED light instead of a heavy flash light, smaller stoves or maybe stove and cook pots, water treatment tablets instead of water filters, are some of the other ways in which you can achieve your goal of ultralight backpacking.
– You can make a checklist as well, to make sure that you do not miss out any of the essentials in the name of packing light. As to what should be on this ultralight backpacking checklist will depend upon the place you are going and the duration of the trip. So, a weekend trip would naturally require lesser things to be carried.

In the end, I would like to tell you that carrying less weight doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your safety; that always comes first. Keeping that in mind, you can trade all the unnecessary stuffs for the bare essentials and enjoy your trip without stress. Happy journey.

What to Pack for Backpacking Trips

Packing on a Budget

If you are planning a long backpacking trip in Europe, South America, or elsewhere, you have probably started to think about what to pack. Usually, backpacking trips involve a lot of travel by bus, train, or even hitchhiking, and getting from one place to another can often mean getting as close as possible and then walking the rest of the way. The reason for this is that backpackers are traveling on a budget and usually don’t want to rent a car or hire a taxi to take them everywhere they need to go. Traveling on a budget means packing light, and when preparing for a backpacking trip this can be one of the most challenging tasks.

Half the Clothes, Twice the Money

A handy rule of thumb for all types of travel is to bring half as many clothes as you think you need and twice as much money as you think you need. Unless you have a natural talent for packing light and being thrifty, it is probably a good idea to follow this advice. For almost all backpackers, from beginners to seasoned veterans, money is the first thing that runs out and excess clothing ends up being a burden. You can wash clothes on the road, whether in laundry facilities, bathroom sinks, or a local (clean) creek, but it’s much more difficult to come by extra money in a pinch.

Empty Space

Once you’ve cut the clothes you plan to pack in half, you will probably notice that you have a little bit of extra room in your backpack. Although it might be tempting to fill your pack to the gills before you leave for your trip, consider leaving a little bit of empty space. There are two reasons that this is a good idea. First, as you travel, you are likely to pick up a few new things. Even if you are not the sort of person who collects souvenirs, you may be given gifts by fellow travelers, you may acquire new books to read on the road, and you may realize that you’ve forgotten to pack something crucial and choose to acquire it as you go. If you find that you already have enough space in your backpack for these new acquisitions, you will thank yourself.

Packing in a Hurry

The second reason to leave a little extra room in your pack is that, on the road, you often don’t have time or energy to keep unpacking and repacking in the most efficient possible way. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably tried several different packing configurations already, just out of excitement for your trip. Although it’s good to work packing strategies out in advance, there will surely be some days when you just want to throw everything in the pack haphazardly and hit the road. Having a little bit of extra space in your backpack will give you the flexibility to repack in a hurry if you need to.

Odds and Ends

Every seasoned traveler has a certain number of things they think are indispensable for backpacking trips. The only way to discover what your unique must-have items are is to travel yourself and find out what you keep needing or wanting over and over again. If you are new to backpacking, you will probably hear some packing suggestions that don’t make any sense at all to you. It’s okay if you don’t see why 30 rubber bands could come in handy on the road, but don’t shun all these suggestions automatically. Consider packing some things you wouldn’t have thought of on your own, and you may be surprised at what you end up using. If you don’t find a use for them, you can always get rid of them later.

In addition to lots of rubber bands (useful for everything!), here are some suggestions for useful, multi-purpose items that you can pack without wasting too much space: plastic bags of various sizes, a padlock (this is a must if you plan to stay in hostels), a deck of playing cards, a sewing kit, a knife, a travel towel, a small flashlight, and a small pad of notepaper. Other backpacking and travel websites can be consulted for more comprehensive lists of suggestions, but with these items in your pack, there is not much you won’t be able to handle!

Winter Backpacking Checklist

Winter truly is one of the most beautiful seasons for trekking. You don’t sweat much and nor is it very wet. There are, however, a few crucial things you need to remember. As it is going to be extremely cold, you need to carry the right type and amount of clothes. You will need one inner, thermal layer of clothing, through which you can get insulation. Above that, a lightweight layer of clothes will be required, which will regulate body temperature. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, which can further lead to drop in body temperature. So, drink lots of it. Make sure that your shoe laces or gloves are not too tight; they can constrict blood flow.

Checklist

  • Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants
  • Insulated parka
  • Wool clothing
  • Fleece clothing
  • Synthetic hiking pants
  • Base thermal layer
  • Warm coat (down or polyester filled)
  • Mittens or gloves (preferably wool)
  • Socks with extra set
  • Insulated waterproof hiking boots or gaiters (depending on type of backpacking)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Air pump
  • Pillow
  • 80-liter backpack
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Snow shovel
  • Balaclava
  • Water filter or iodine drops/tablets
  • First aid kit
  • Repair kit
  • Utility bags
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper
  • Camera
  • Lighter and waterproof matches
  • Tent (only after asking a professional; varies according to needs)
  • Bivy sack (alternative to a tent, specially if there isn’t much snow)
  • Trekking poles
  • Rope (for clothesline or bear bagging)
  • Whistle
  • Toiletries (razor, toothbrush, etc.)
  • Sunscreen (SPF 15+)
  • Spoon, bowl, mug
  • Cooking pots

Additional Tips

☑ Backpacking during winter means having shorter days to travel as much as you can. This means, you have to make the most out of sunlight time.

☑ The snow is just as unpredictable as the rain. Always inform a couple of people about your route. Don’t forget to carry extra energy bars.

☑ Cold temperatures are said to decrease battery life. Always keep your batteries inside warm clothes, when not in use.

☑ Carry foods that have proteins, fats, and carbohydrates; they all provide energy.

☑ Symptoms such as continuous shivering, a slurred speech, or lethargy might indicate hypothermia. Stay warm throughout your trip as a precautionary measure.

☑ If you’re traveling to great heights, make a camp base at mid-level, acclimatize to a height for sometime, and then climb higher.

☑ A frostbite can also affect your nose and face. Remember to keep these areas warm as well. Using a balaclava throughout the trip can help.

With this checklist and these tips, your winter backpacking trip will be smooth. Also, always remember to take a paper map; don’t rely on network while visiting secluded destinations.