Backpacking has at its core this fundamental truth: The longer you stay Out There, the better. You see more, hear more, and feel more. Your body relaxes, rejuvenates, and finds a rhythm that frees your mind to wander, to escape the confines of everyday life. That’s why every hiker who’s ever put tread to trail dreams about staying out a few more days, or a week, or (dare we say it?) a month.
But what if you aren’t quite ready to jump to the next level? Sure, the desire is there, but maybe you lack the skills or confidence. No worries. If you’re a beginner, this primer will identify the gear, techniques, and smarts needed to conquer overnight outings. If you’re anxious to stretch weekends into weeklong adventures, we’ll help you get there. The same goes for those thinking about a thru-hike.
Granted, we can’t answer every question you’ll have; after all, some of the best lessons are learned by making mistakes. But with our ongoing Get Out More! campaign, we’ve helped you find more time for hiking (“You Can Teach Old Dogs New Tricks”), get fit for the trail (“Survival Of The Fittest”), and discover great wilderness just outside your door (visit our Wilderness section). So the ball’s in your court. Get ready to make the big jump.