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Title: How to Plan Your First Backpacking Trip (Explore Magazine, David Webb, 14/04/16)
Created by Dariia Dziuba

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Ankle/arch support, are all key features. Mud-hikers should look for deep tread; rock scramblers should aim for sticky rubber. Leather construction is toughest; synthetic is lightest. Modern backpacking boots usually won’t require those long break-in periods of boots of yore, but ensure you put a few miles in them before you head out. Mid-hike is not the place to find out they painfully pinch your pinky toes. Pro tip: pack flip-flops or backcountry slippers for post-hike comfort.

Sleeping Bag
Research (Environment Canada’s Canadian Climate Normals Website is a good resource) and choose a sleeping bag that can handle that, with room to spare. Remember that down insulation is lighter and more packable than synthetic, but also more expensive, requires greater care and is not hypoallergenic. Synthetic fill, or hydrophobic-treated down, is best for wet climates. For most mid-summer backpacking trips in lower elevations, a five- to 10-degree Celsius-rated bag should be fine. Couples who value comfort should opt for the roomy Therm-a-Rest Ventana Duo, a synthetic-fill one- or two-person bag that utilizes a mattress coupler to open up and accommodate campsite cuddling. Its two-kilogram weight is manageable when you consider you’ll only need one per couple. Three-season or high-mountain backpackers should opt for a minus three to -10 rated bag. Stuffed with hydrophobic down, Therm-a-Rest’s Antares HD keeps cozy in sub-zero temps and weighs just 890 grams. Pro tip: a compression sack is useful for squeezing your sleeping bag while on the trail—but never store it compressed long-term.

with simple pole setups (colour-coded or one-piece). About one-square-metre of vestibule space per person is important for gear storage. If it’s setup in-store, , noting the wall angle (key for determining usable space) and whether or not you’ll have to scramble over your partner to get out (not always ideal). Venting is vital; and consider an aftermarket seam-sealer or a wash-in treatment for added weather protection. On long trips, you may be able to tolerate a little extra weight of a larger tent if it means oh-so-valuable elbowroom.

Start with a wicking base layer (we like wool or wool-synthetic blends) and similar socks (never cotton), an insulating mid-layer (tight-knit fleece is a good bet) and finish with a waterproof-breathable layer. Visualize your days afield. How many pairs of socks and underwear will you require? Throw in at least one extra pair of each. Will it be cold enough for a toque and gloves? Will a swimsuit come in handy?

We’re fans of compact stoves that burn isobutane. However, stick stoves are also raising some eyebrows. Often the smallest and lightest units available (some are less than 100 grams), stick stoves burn forest debris and, with practice, .

At least this gets lighter day-by-day. is surprisingly tasty; buy a couple of samples ahead of time to taste-test. like nuts and jerky. Instant oatmeal with dried fruit is a great breakfast; premium instant coffee tastes better than you think. Campfire biscuits from are a nice addition to any dinner. Bring some chocolate and candy—you’ll easily burn the calories.

If your route hits established campsites with potable water, pack an emergency filter and/or treatment tablets and . Otherwise, a gravity- or pump-filter should be used to fill water bottles. —aim to consume three litres of water per person per hiking day.

A. climb inside
B. a just-add-water mix
C. Today’s dried camp food
D. Hydration is key to success
E. We recommend lightweight, freestanding, double-wall tents
F. fill your bottles at every stop
G. waterproofness (quick drying) and light weight
H. Add high-protein snacks
I. boil water very efficiently
J. the average low temperature at your destination